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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.

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video games

Zachtronics’ EXAPUNKS Announced For August

The Zachtronics behind the other programmatical puzzlers like TIS-100 and Shenzhen I/O have announced a new one of those, EXAPUNKS.

I can’t explain how much I love these games, both for their niche and the wonderful aesthetic each game embodies so well. 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.

EXAPUNKS will be out in Early Access on Steam for $20 on the 21st of August for Windows, macOS, and Linux. There’s a limited edition pre-order for $35 on the Zachtronics website for the game that includes the feelies you’d normally need to print-out to get your instructions for the game. This time it’s a few issues of Trash World News, 3D glasses, and an envelope with secret contents. I’m normally against any kind of pre-ordering for games, but I can’t think of a time when a Zachtronics game was disappointing.

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video games

Opus Magnum

Opus Magnum, the new game from Zachtronics. One look at the trailer and I can tell that this machine designer is probably not for me, even though I very much enjoyed my time with TIS-100 and Shenzhen I/O.

Maybe Opus Magnum is for you. It’s out now on Steam for Windows, macOS, and Linux at $20.