Last Call BBS: Zachtronics' new game

So beloved game dev continues developing games.

AKA, not news.

But no news is good news, especially in this case!

Game is now out!

Only played a few minutes, but very nostalgic for me. I can’t imagine I’m in a big peer group of people who frequented single-line BBS’s, traded ‘warez’, ran my own BBS, etc. For me though, this is nostalgia heaven. This was my teen years.

And on GamePass

Maybe thematically, but nothing looked like this on a BBS!


That Starfleet 2: Krellan Commander thing is more like what BBS stuff actually looked like.

Those are supposed to be downloadable games you run on the PC :)

Interesting… I might know that if I played early access games! ;)

I am excited for this one! They’re saying “1-2 months” for early access, which translates to 6-12 months minimum for a first-time dev, but since this is Zachtronics I wonder if maybe we can believe them…

Zachtronics early access periods are very short, and usually only result in minor changes (generally tuning the difficulty of puzzles).

I wonder if Zach had previous teaching experience? It sounds like the transition didn’t work out the way he expected. My guess is that he taught introductory level courses at a college or high school, that’s the fastest way to burn through your enthusiasm :P

Can somebody who has played it explain what the game (not just the concept) actually is? Is this really 8 different programming games, or one “main” programming game and seven irrelevant minigames. (Like the solitaire minigames in previous Zachtronics games, except more of them.)

How dare you

I know there are people who love them, but the minigames just aren’t the draw for me.

I can’t say for certain, but in my time with it there’s been one card game, one logic puzzle game, and one Zachlike / histogram game. (All games are not available at the start, but it looks to be only gated by time.) From reading reviews it looks like there’s one more programming / histogram-results type game to unlock, and four more mini-games.

There appears to be some meta-story coming out as I do well in some of these mini games (new PDA entries that are starting to mention people).

As a Picross expert/addict, the Dungeon Diagrams game hurts my head because I can’t apply my standard solving logic.

Agreed, but it’s a nice clever little game. It’s a fun challenge to figure out what the new patterns are, given the unique rules.

On the other hand, I can’t even figure out how to do the first level of 20th Century Food Court! My problem is spawning additional trays. I know how to spawn food items, but there’s no… whatever those wiring units are on the left… to trigger more trays. What am I missing? The instructions for this mode are miserable.

Land of Devastation had a downloadable client that provided somewhat comparable SVGA graphics

I remember you could build bases and attack other people’s bases. Sadly on my BBS it was not very popular

I was enjoying the game on Game Pass, but the second time it failed to save my progress after clicking Shutdown, I had to uninstall it.

They’re deliberately miserable to encourage trail-and-error. A new tray will spawn when you deliver the previous tray correctly. You typically only need to produce one of each kind of thing, not handle multiple iterations in a loop. The difficulty with Food Court isn’t optimizing a programming solution, it’s figuring out how it works in the first place and then fitting your construction within the space allowed.

It appears to be 8 different mini-games. (Not all of them are games.) Part of the fun is discovering what the hell, so I won’t go into huge detail. All of the games are unique and interesting, most of them Zack-like twists on existing formulas, e.g. the first one you’ll encounter is an interesting Klondike variant. The meta-game stuff is also interesting and effective and not something I’ve seen done before.

The model-building mode has taken up most of my time. I’m bad at engaging with the customization elements of most games, but for some reason when it requires a certain kind of strategy and precision it gets way more interesting for me. I put the first model together and then tried to paint it, and almost gave up on it. Then I realized you need to paint the parts before assembling them entirely… (Like real model-builders do, I assume.) And then it just clicked. Really fun, even if it has me with my face two inches from the screen, trying to tape off two specific pixels…