Do you remember when you first watched Robot Wars and every time the announcer called the contestants ‘Roboteers’ you couldn’t help but picture robots with giant ears sticking out of their face? What do you mean, “What’s Robot Wars?” How old are you? Do your parents know you’re using the Internet?
For anyone who does remember, you may have a similar experience with Machineers [official site], a new episodic adventure game that wants to teach you to think like a programmer.
From the looks of the trailer, Machineers plays like a cross between Lumino City (excellent) and The Incredible Machine (brilliant). Which feels like a no brainer now that we think of it. As a wannabe Machineer you’ll need to help out the people of Tivoli Town by solving mechanical puzzles and fixing strange machines. And maybe learn a thing or two about thinking like a programmer in the process.
Machineers started life as a Masters project at the IT University Copenhagen by Danish developer Lohika, the purpose of which was to develop an educational game that could teach programming theory without using any code. You may be interested to read their full Masters thesis for some insight into how they went about using “stealth learning” to teach without you even noticing.
A demo’s on the Machineers website. Two of the five planned episodes are available right away for Windows, Mac, and Linux on Steam at £3.59 apiece, which seems like a fair punt to me. Machineers is also available on iPad and Android tablets, I guess. If you’re into that.