H is for Human Resource Machine

From the developers that brought you World of Goo and Little Inferno comes a dystopian alternate reality where people are merely cogs in a massive machine, performing simple commands constantly while managers look on and judge every action meticulously (which is totally just a made up scenario for this video game and not something resembling real life at all).

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Human Resource Machine is essentially a computer programming simulator. You are given a task, and with the simple steps you are given, you have to come up with a sequence that will satisfy the requirements. Early levels introduce commands like picking an item up from the inbox, copying to a cell on the floor, addition, subtraction, and eventually placing the resulting item into the outbox.

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For all my programmer friends out there who are thinking that this seems too simple, fret not! Both the commands and the problems ramp up in complexity. In addition, there is a set of challenges for each level dealing with optimizing your code. One challenge limits the number of instructions you can have in your program, and the other limits the number of steps that are executed (on average) for each run of your program. The challenges on the first few levels were relatively easy, but on later levels, even when I was able to brute-force my way to a successful solution, I struggled to optimize for the challenges.

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I loved this game. It’s probably top two or three that I’ve played for this project so far. Admittedly, some of that may be because I’m a software engineer and am already familiar with the basics of programming. That said, I do think that non-professional programmers will also be able to dive right in and have a lot of fun with Human Resource Machine, especially if you enjoyed the aesthetics of World of Goo or the dark humor of Little Inferno, as it shares a lot of the DNA of those two games. Until next time, I’m going to take a break with these lovely coworkers of mine.

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