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Boot Up: TIS-100 Dev's SHENZEN I/O Hits Early Access

My head hurts

The creator of SpaceChem, TIS-100, and Infinifactory is back with another making-things-work puzzle game. Zachtronics last night launched SHENZHEN I/O [official site] onto Steam Early Access, letting people have a crack at building circuits from electronic components then program them by writing in an assembly language. Easy peasy! Zachtronics say Shenzhen I/O is already "highly polished and would be perfectly acceptable to release in a traditional fashion" but they're again turning to early access for feedback to make it even better - maybe from you?

So! There you are, starting a new job at Shenzhen Longteng Electronics Co., Ltd. in China's electronics heart, having to build circuits - with components from logic gates to LCD screens - and write code to power them. No problem. That can't be difficult. Especially when you can refer to your thirty-page manual full of helpful diagrams and... wait, is that page in Chinese? Ah. And as there pleasingly often are in Zachlikes, there's a story running through it, this time with e-mails and whatnot from your co-workers.

As well as a story campaign, it has a sandbox mode to tinker in.

If this is your bag, do also check out programmer Matt Sayer's thoughts on program-o-games.

Zachtronics have previously taken Infinifactory and TIS-100 through early access, so they do know what they're doing here. Like those two, they say SHENZEN I/O is basically done as it hits early access, with everything they'd planned intact, but they're hoping player feedback can mega-polish it. They suggest they might add new puzzles, new parts, new tools, maybe even Steam Workshop support - it depends on what people think it needs.

If you want in now, it's £9.89/13,49€/$13.49 through Steam Early Access for Windows, Mac, and Linux. If you'd rather wait, Zachtronics say the full release will likely come in a month or two.

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Alice O'Connor

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