Edit: I've had quite a few people telling me that the Left brain / Right brain is a myth, I'm just here to share some cool games and it was a nice catch phrase but feel free to do some research on the subject if you want, it's really instructive. 🤯
Are you a bored? Don't want to (learn how to) code but want to improve your logical thinking? I have made a little selection of games for programers (or wannabes, or anyone, really) to make your brain work even when you're not at work! (is this a bad thing?)
The Witness is undoubtedly one of the best game I ever played (and I played a lot of games). Made by Jonathan Blow (Braid), The Witness is a puzzle game with a Myst vibe, but every puzzle in the game is based on a simple "maze" mechanic with an infinity of variations. Simple yet challenging, empty yet very deep, minimalist yet a piece of art. This game has a lot of “OH MY GOD, IS THIS REAL?” moments.
Made by Thekla, Inc. in 2016 — Available on : PC, PS4, Xbox One, iOS and Android
Do you know how to write the code of the fibonacci sequence? Impresive! Do you know how to do it with only :
substraction? 🤔 That's basically the pitch of The Human Resource Machine, by the creator of World of Goo and Little Inferno.
The game puts you in charge of one tiny office worker to do basic tasks with boxes (taking them from the left, doing stuff and putting them to the right), you can "code" a little algorithm but with a very limited set of commands. It offers a lot of various challenges (with optional optimization challenges for time and maximum number of commands), it's especially refreshing for seasonned coders because it forces you to go back to the basics without the nice tools you are used to (functions? what are these for anyway?).
Made by Tommorow Corporation in 2015 — Available on : PC, Linux, Mac OS, Nintendo Switch, iOS and Android.
7 Billion Humans is a sequel to The Human Resource Machine. It has the same UI, game mechanics and dark humor. The difference is that instead of giving your orders to one single human, you have a whole team that executes your orders at the same time. The algorithm is also a bit more advanced : you can step in any direction, use
if statements, remember a spot with
memory and operate various equipments (printers, shredders etc.).
“Did everyone survive our first day with SHREDDERS? Yes, surviving is technically not a strict requirement. As long as you get the work done.” — Your Manager
Made by Tommorow Corporation in 2018 — Available on : PC, Linux, Mac OS, Nintendo Switch and iOS.
Baba is you is for understanding that naming conventions matters. The whole point of the game is to use named things out of their purpose (you can be a wall, a wall can be water, water can burn etc.). It's a real brain work out and I think it can feel a bit like debugging legacy spaghetti code.
Made by Hempuli Oy in 2019 — Available on : PC, Linux, Mac Os and Nintendo Switch.
Opus Magnum puts you in the shoes of an alchemist in a victorian universe, where different houses are competing for power with the help of their own alchemists. The storyline is really great and sets the mood, but the core of the game is a puzzle mechanic where you have to produce various materials with raw resources, using a chain of mechanisms to make the components travel, transform, weld, split etc. I found it a really relaxing experience and you can spend quite some time optimizing your alchemy or just making your transmutation engine prettier.
Made by Zachtonics in 2017 — Available on : PC, Linux and Mac Os
Gladiabots (by Sebastien Dubois) is a unique arena game where you have to code your robot squad's Artificial Intelligence to crush other robots or catch the flag, using a simple UI to make a decision tree. You can test your AI on 200 solo missions or just show everyone you're the best by competiting with other player's AI online.
Made by Sebastien Dubois in 2019 — Available on : PC, Linux, Mac Os, Android
Made by Screeps in 2016 — Available on : PC, Linux, Mac Os
Like in Keep talking and nobody explodes (awesome game, go buy it and play it with your friends) you have to Read The F🙊 Manual before playing Exapunks. You play as a hacker/junky and have to solve various challenge writing pseudo code (using the given manual), I have not tried it yet but it's definitaly in my todo list.
Made by Zachtonics in 2018 — Available on : PC, Linux and Mac Os
It's the third game in this selection made by Zachtonics… 🤔 I'm starting to see a pattern here. Shenzhen I/O is based on the same concept as the other games by this game studio, but this time you have to build circuit boards using microcontrollers and other integrated circuits.
Made by Zachtonics in 2016 — Available on : PC, Linux and Mac Os
🤖 YeT ANotHeR gAmE BY zAcHtRoNic 🤖
“It’s the assembly language programming game you never asked for!” — Zachtronics
(Honestly I did not try TIS-100, I'm too scared.)
Made by Zachtonics in 2015 — Available on : PC, Linux and Mac Os, iPhone/iPad
If you just want to write code, but in a playful way, you can try CodinGame. It's not really a game per se, but you can code in the programming language of your choice to solve various problems. It's worth noticing that you can participate in "sponsored" competitions where real companies can recruit you based on your results (is it good or bad? I'll let you think about it).
You have a lot of other "Coding challenges" website, some to learn a specific concept or more general challenges, here is a small non-exhaustive list : Regex Crossword, VIM Adventures, Cyber Dojo, Elevator Saga, Flexbox Froggy, Robocode, Empire of code, Advent of code, Code combat, Untrusted, and the list goes on…
If you scrolled this far, that means you enjoyed this post.