I’m here to talk about a programming game called Human Resource Machine. It was recommended on Coding Horror, so when I found it in the latest Humble Bundle, I grabbed it immediately.
There’s no minimum price to get it, so even if you’re kinda broke you can still grab it.
And dude. It is _so fun._ It’s difficult enough to be kinda confusing and difficult but still doable–the game uses really, really simple commands and the closest thing to recursion/looping are conditional GOTOs. You only get a couple options for the conditions, too. It seems like the best algorithms are either beautiful or mind-bendingly crazy. Readability? Who cares about that stuff? Just stick some masking tape on it. If you’re used to sane code that’s written for humans to read and only incidentally for compilers to execute, prepare to rearrange your priorities in the most fun mad-scientist way possible, pushing the system and making it your plaything.
I’m on level 18 or something after about two hours (according to Steam), and so far I’ve gotten at least one of the optimization challenges on each level that has them. You often can’t get both the speed and size challenges done at once, so they need different approaches, and it’s really difficult to figure out how to change tactics when one solution comes naturally. I seem to get into a mental groove of optimizing for one or the other at a time.
It also has a sense of humor. Instructions from management can get pretty silly. Um, but not sillier than real life–does that still count?
Anyway. Grab the game, support charity, maybe get a game about metro stations along with it (I did, haven’t tried it yet though).
I claim no responsibility for your lost productivity. You have been warned.