- Release Date: 1992
- Platform: MS-DOS, 3DO, Macintosh
- Developer: Dynamix
- Genre: Puzzle
Emergent game play and physics-based interactivity may seem like fresh concepts, but it was The Incredible Machine that really introduced these major game components almost twenty years ago.
Without a doubt inspired by the ridiculously elaborate contraptions imagined by cartoonist Heath Robinson and Rube Goldberg, The Incredible Machine tasks players with inventing their own devices to carry out a series of simple actions. On each level an objective is give, ranging from popping a series of balloons to launching rockets to re-housing goldfish. A range of "useful" components is provided in limited quantities, which can be dragged and dropped onto the game space to construct the relevent machine. Basketballs, flashlights, and pulleys all figure -- as do mice, cats, and monkeys on bicycles -- and all can be variously combined to complete the tasks.
The beuty of the game is its accurate simulation of gravity, inertia, and other vital physical processes. Just as important, there is no one way to complete each level, and emergent approach that encourages endless exploration. The game also comes with a sandbox mode in which users are free to construct their own machines from scratch.
The game was a huge success on the PC (later appearing on the Mac and 3DO console), and creators Kevin Ryan and Jeff Tunnell would carry on to oversee two sequels, as well as a range of spin-offs, before their company, Dynamix, was dissolved in 2001. The series would surface again in 2007 as a mobile adaptation, courtesy of Vivendi. Two years later, Tunnell brought back the rights and further titles were planned. After a decade-long hiatus, the machine is finally being switched back on.
|Incredible Machine can get wild sometimes.|