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I've played both TIS-100, and their earlier game, Space Chem. Like Space Chem, which doesn't have a whole lot to do with real chemistry, TIS-100 doesn't have a whole lot to do with programming. They use chemistry and programming as window dressing for what are otherwise pretty uninspiring puzzle games.

To my knowledge, the game that gets closest to real assembly language programming is Core Wars.[1][2]

Also, it's not assembly language, but Screeps[3] uses real Javascript programming, or any language that compiles to Javascript.[4]

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corewar

[2] - http://www.corewars.org/

[3] - https://screeps.com/

[4] - https://github.com/jashkenas/coffeescript/wiki/list-of-langu...




I am not sure how you can say these games "don't have a whole lot to do with programming". They are programming.

Maybe you didn't ever have the experience of programming on an 8-bit CPU and don't get the joke? The machines in these games are comically limited, "this is like the cruftiness of an 8-bit CPU but even worse". The funny thing about TIS-100 is that it's a speculative fiction game, postulating an alternate reality -- what if we had gone down the path of multicore CPUs back when they were still super-primitive?


Wait I just realized maybe a lot of kids these days don't know what assembly language is and that's why one might say this "doesn't have a lot to do with programming"???


It seems to me that all programming is, in some sense, about solving puzzles. I used TIS to as a platform to introduce my wife to programming, just to expose her to it and see if it interested her.

She's very much into puzzle solving, so it seemed a natural presentation for her. We shared screens (mac) and played together discussing how we would solve the problem and then work together to implement it.

It was pretty fun. Honestly I wish there were more games that were cooperative and not about shooting things. The only other game we play together, and have for years now, is minecraft.

BTW, braid is still one of my favorites.


I think pmoriarty's point is that, while they are programming games, the programming is abstracted and obfuscated into puzzles in a way that puts it a good distance from how practical programming is done these days. You have to admit that the type of accumulator-based CPU architecture used in these games is archaic and only found in the smallest microcontrollers today. And the multi-core structure and other constraints bears only a passing resemblance to how real systems work.

None of this detracts in the slightest from their being great games but they're no more related to actual programming than Starcraft is related to leading actual troops into battle.


That's nonsense. You are tasked with breaking down the solutions to complicated problems, and getting them to work within the constraints of a limited toolset. Sure, the constraints are a bit whimsical, but if breaking down complex problems (complexity is relative to the capabilities you have) and getting them to to fit your abstraction isn't programming, I don't know what is.


First of all, Zachtronics puzzle games are beyond amazing. I put Infinifactory in my top 3 games of any genre of all time, and I don't know anybody who doesn't love Space Chem. Second, TIS-100 and Shenzhen I/O are assembly language programming, full stop. Surely you realize that x86 is not the only assembly language? There are myriad machines with myriad assembly languages. Just because the machines in TIS-100 and Shenzhen I/O are imaginary doesn't mean they aren't assembly languages.


It may not acurately represent asm, but it does accurately represent programming. The kind of problem solving that Zachtronics games use is the same sort of problem solving that programmers do.




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