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video games

The Zachtronics Solitaire Collection Coming Sep. 6th

When Last Call BBS was on the way, Zachtronics said it was their last game in addition to a collection of solitaire games. That collection is now listed on Steam , and now we know it has new 4K graphics and one brand new tarot-themed solitaire game called Fortune’s Foundation in addition to seven other variations plucked from the rest of the Zachtronics library. I’m honestly not really interested in anything involving tarot but I’m curious how this collection will turn out, these twists on solitaire are always fun, and it could be perfect for someone who was interested in the solitaire games Zachtronics builds without also getting into the rest of the Zachtronics programming world.

The Zachtronics Solitaire Collection comes out on September 6th for Windows, macOS, and Linux, no price is listed yet.

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video games

Last Call BBS Finishes Early Access Program with More Puzzles

The final game from Zachtronics, Last Call BBS, has exited Steam’s Early Access program onto Steam for Windows, macOS, and Linux for $20 along with Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription service for Windows. DRM-free versions on Zachtronics’ itch.io and gog are promised in the next few weeks.

This is the time I’ve been waiting for to give Last Call BBS a shot and inevitably be proven incredibly stupid but I cannot describe with words how much this particular game speaks to me. I spent years as a child dialing into bulletin board systems through a copy of Procomm Plus, playing door games like Tradewars and others that were entirely incomprehensible, and I hope Last Call BBS lives up to those expectations even though Zachtronics’ Zach Barth says he’s a little too young to have experienced those first-hand.

Zachtronics says that Last Call BBS now has additional puzzles, fixes, and features, and users have been making their own BBS door games in Javascript for the BBS like this version of Tradewars.

I just got my copy of Last Call BBS’ deluxe edition “Feelies” (whatever you say, grandpa) in the mail, but unfortunately they sold out quickly again after the final few were put up for sale. However, you can still download the 3D printing files and make your own Z5 Powerlance personal computer, download the soundtrack from Bandcamp, or just get a badge for your beige box.

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video games

Last Call BBS, The Final Game from Zachtronics out in Early Access July 5th

Last week Zachtronics announced a new game, Last Call BBS, and according to the game’s description and a live stream that included Zach Barth himself: Last Call BBS will be the final game from Zachtronics. The simulated computer in Last Call BBS is a Z5 Powerlance that comes preloaded with eight games, some of which look a little bit similar to older games that Zachtronics has made and others are completely new. I’m not seeing much that looks like the programming side of things from other games that Zachtronics has released,  but who knows what’s hidden in there.

Last Call BBS is coming to Steam for Windows, macOS, and Linux and Microsoft’s PC Game Pass service on July 5th. It’ll be an unfinished Early Access game at first. Unfortunately the deluxe edition of Last Call BBS that includes the stickers and other goodies has already sold out, although Zachtronics has released a free model of the computer to 3D print off of thingiverse and some stickers to print out and slap on it.

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video games

EXAPUNKS Out of Early Access

Developer hacker training simulator, EXAPUNKS, has exited Steam’s Early Access program for games that aren’t ready for the spotlight yet.

Typical development courses are about learning “big data” and rust and other modern baloney, Zachtronics’ EXAPUNKS is about pulling off hacking heists to earn a cure for the phage that you were accidentally infected with. Oops!

In the early access process much has changed, Zachtronics added an animated gif recorder to save short clips of your solutions to EXAPUNKS’ programmular puzzles. They’ve also added a bonus 9-level campaign, and released a free TEC Redshift player program on Steam that lets you experience community-made homebrew games on the in-game fantasy console without owning the full EXAPUNKS game. Interestingly enough, the homebrew games are embedded in image files distributed online. It’s not quite clear how to get them, so I’ll explain here that you download the image to your computer and then drag and drop the image file into the TEC Redshift Player. Here’s an example image I found online that plays the original Gameboy Tetris music in the TEC Redshift Player.

There were many more updates in that process, and EXAPUNKS is reviewing well. Jody Macgregor enjoyed the challenge in his review for Windows Gamer.

Every time I write about EXAPUNKS, or any other Zachtronics game, I want to mention that I think they’re something special, they each inhabit a little world of their own perfectly and I love that about them even if I’m not always up to their challenge.

EXAPUNKS is $20 on Steam or through the Humble store for Windows, macOS, and Linux. There’s a temporary sale, bringing the game down to $16. The feelies that were available for pre-orders may be available directly from the developer, otherwise you’ll probably get a PDF or something with the game to read Trash World News, the in-universe zine.

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video games

Zachtronics’ EXAPUNKS in Early Access

The latest programmo-puzzler from Zachtronics, EXAPUNKS, is available in Steam’s Early Access home for wayward and incomplete games. This is another game in the style of TIS-100 and Shenzhen I/O, with this one focusing more on explicitly hacking the system, man.

There’s something wonderful about Zachtronics’ programming games. Each one has a special theme, and unique puzzles to solve.

In this adventure you’re an ex-hacker with a bad case of the phage who made a deal to hack for the cure. You’ll be programming your EXAs, which are the viruses that you’ll use to attack different institutions.

Just like Shenzhen’s take on Solitaire, there are other games buried inside EXAPUNKS, like HACK*MATCH.

EXAPUNKS is $20 on Steam or through the Humble store for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Unfortunately the feelies I mentioned back in July are no-longer available, so you’ll probably get a PDF or something with the game to read Trash World News.