TIS-100 Review
Comments
  • Nicole1

    March 21, 2019

    plz review Hackmud. It's incredible in my opinion.

    Reply
  • AI2

    March 21, 2019

    He makes some fantastic games. He's also a communist so I think it's okay to pirate them.

    Reply
  • Andrew Kaser3

    March 21, 2019

    I am thoroughly convinced that zach just wants to make everyone who plays his games into programmers. I feel more and more justified in this with every game he releases.

    Reply
  • Nameless Assyrian4

    March 21, 2019

    This is autism

    Reply
  • Cole Delong5

    March 21, 2019

    But is there a Brainfuck interpreter? If so, we need to write the bf interpreter in the TIS interpreter in Infinifactory

    Reply
  • Johnny Luken6

    March 21, 2019

    As an actual programmer and someone who dabbled in assembly programming, this game doesn't intimidate me like other Zachtronics games, though I prefer my games to be fairly mindless. I already spend my day solving problems, I don't need to do it in my games aswell.

    Reply
  • J Godden7

    March 21, 2019

    As good an example as I can think of as to why the nomenclature of 'video games' is horrendously outdated. Is this a piece of interactive media devised to allow for and test problem solving? Sure thing. A game? Not so much.

    Reply
  • dtech zero8

    March 21, 2019

    My favorite game 🙂

    Reply
  • glam9

    March 21, 2019

    Incredible game. I finished the main campaign and loved it. By contrast I never got into Infinifactory, too many possibilities, too many type of blocks. Simplicity pays off.

    Reply
  • TheKrigeron10

    March 21, 2019

    "To talk about TIS I have to talk about the several page reference book that comes with it"

    Naturally

    Reply
  • Arteyyy11

    March 21, 2019

    I don't know what your first impression of TIS-100 was, but I'll tell you mine. I remember when I first started it, I had no idea what was going on. I managed to open up the manual, but eventually I closed the game and didn't launch it again for probably more than one and a half years. I can't remember feeling lost in SpaceChem in a way other people did, but I guess TIS really scared me off. I really like and appreciate the way you're thrown into the game though. It shows how much Zachtronics trust their players. I also like the visuals and the sound design. They are risky, but fit perfectly and are part of what makes TIS a really unique game. At least I don't think something like this has been done before.

    In a way, TIS is SpaceChem cranked up to 11. Not just because of the opening, but also because of the presentation and the difficulty. Even SpaceChem looks downright user-friendly compared to TIS, but I also think TIS is harder. While I only couldn't beat the last level in SpaceChem, there are four levels I didn't beat in TIS. If I remember correctly, I wondered whether it would be possible to sort a sequence in TIS before I had unlocked the sequence sorter. I had come to the conclusion that it's probably impossible. Well, apparently it is possible, but I don't know how to do it and it looks like you struggled with it, too. Funnily, I managed to solve the prolonged sequence sorter though.

    This wasn't the only time where I thought that the given task couldn't be accomplished with the restricted mechanics at hand. I think it's quite impressive how many different and hard puzzles they could come up with, especially because it's not always clear what the mechanics are capable of. (Yes, they are Turing-complete, but Turing-completeness also assumes that you have as much space as you need, which isn't always the case.) Of course, a puzzle should be solvable before it makes its way into the game and probably the best way to know whether it is solvable or not is to solve it. Showing that something is not solvable is usually a lot more difficult, so maybe they have some scrapped ideas for impossible puzzles. And maybe they just gave up on some of the solvable ones, too.

    It's kind of a shame that there is barely any visual spectacle in TIS, but it's also understandable because everything else might stick out. Basically, if something is supposed to look cool in a game, you most likely need at least some technology for that. But the TIS-100 is intentionally low-tech, so that wouldn't quite fit. But I don't really mind it. I guess watching a solution play out is similar to watching a cutscene and having a game that looks as boring as possible is kind of cool in its own way. If you're anything like me though, you might find a stack being filled and emptied out over and over again to be visually appealing.

    One of the few things I don't like aobut TIS is the way the test inputs are described. Sometimes it's helpful to look not only at the description of the desired output, but also at the test inputs. It's true that the first round often tests edge cases, but sometimes specific cases are not tested or the inputs have certain conditions. For example, they might consist of only non-negative numbers or sequences may have a fixed length. It's a bit annoying when you had to solve a slightly harder puzzle because you couldn't see the next tests. If something isn't mentioned in the description, you just can't be sure whether an assumption you made will hold true on the next tests as well. In the worst case, the problem only becomes solvable because the inputs are restricted. I noticed this in the dynamic pattern detector which always has a pattern length of 3. If it could vary, the puzzle would probably be unsolvable without a stack. The problem is that the game doesn't explicitly tell you this and you can't be sure whether all inputs are like that, particularly the random test, which apparently isn't completely random. (Speaking of random tests: I even managed to accidentally create a solution that sometimes passes the random test, but not always.) It's similar to your critique on the bosses in SpaceChem. If you make a wrong assumption, you may have to start over, thus having lost some time.

    Like you said, every puzzle in TIS fits on one screen which is one of its greatest strengths, I think. Integers are just so much more compact than huge molecules. For some reason I find it quite interesting that nodes themselves are more or less one-dimensional but communicate with each other on a two-dimensional grid. Playing TIS is just very efficient, especially compared to Infinifactory.

    That said, a few bigger levels might have been interesting. They might have allowed for even harder puzzles with more ways to solve them. The reason I say this is because the T20 node emulator really stood out to me. I don't know how you solved it, but I basically implemented my own interface to communicate with the nodes that store the variables. Maybe you can do this in other levels, too, but I found this to be much more interesting than to manipulate input streams because creating your own internal system is much less straightforward and more open-ended. Maybe they could have had more puzzles like that with more available nodes, as I feel the freedom it provides could have made up for the lack of new stuff in the second half of the game. But this is just daydreaming. I think TIS is good the way it is. I'm not sure I like it more than SpaceChem, but I consider them to be about equally as good. If I had to decide, I might like TIS a little less though because the programming theme is less imaginative than the stuff you do in SpaceChem, but overall I have almost no complaints.

    Oh, and sorry that I have to tell you this, but in your Infinifactory review you promised you would stop mentioning that there are multiple save slots for each level, but you actually said it again here.

    By the way, I don't know which command you are referring to at 3:02. I started using ANY and JRO pretty late, but I wouldn't bet that the one you mean is one of them. I don't think I had an earth-shattering moment like that anyway, so maybe I missed out on something, I don't know.

    And as I promised, I tried to display a certain word in a visualization module. So after you created the hypothetical substance of Fuckalium and an Infinifucktory, here I present fuck.tis, which you can run in an image console sandbox if you want:

    @0
    # PRINTS OUT
    # MATTHEW'S
    # FAVOURITE WORD

    @1

    @2
    MOV 12 ACC
    LOOP: SUB 1
    MOV RIGHT DOWN
    MOV RIGHT DOWN
    MOV 3 DOWN
    MOV -1 DOWN
    JNZ LOOP

    JRO 0

    @3
    MOV 11 ACC
    SAV
    MOV 29 ACC
    LOOP: MOV ACC LEFT
    SWP
    MOV ACC LEFT
    SWP
    MOV ACC LEFT
    ADD 1
    SWP
    MOV ACC DOWN
    MOV DOWN LEFT
    SUB 1
    SWP
    JMP LOOP

    @4

    @5
    MOV 2 DOWN
    MOV 6 DOWN
    MOV 2 DOWN
    MOV 11 DOWN
    MOV 10 DOWN
    MOV 16 DOWN
    MOV 20 DOWN
    MOV 6 DOWN
    MOV 20 DOWN
    MOV 16 DOWN
    MOV 10 ACC
    LOOP: SUB 1
    JNZ LOOP
    MOV 70 RIGHT
    JRO 0

    @6
    MOV LEFT RIGHT

    MOV RIGHT NIL

    MOV UP DOWN
    JRO -1

    @7
    MOV LEFT ACC
    MOV 1 DOWN
    MOV 10 DOWN
    MOV 16 DOWN
    MOV 19 DOWN
    MOV 28 DOWN

    LOOP: SUB 1
    JNZ LOOP
    MOV 0 LEFT
    MOV UP ACC
    SUB 22
    NEG
    MOV ACC UP
    JRO -4

    @8

    @9
    # HORIZONTAL

    MOV UP RIGHT
    MOV UP RIGHT
    MOV 6 ACC

    LOOP: SUB 1
    MOV 3 RIGHT
    JNZ LOOP

    MOV -1 RIGHT

    @10
    MOV ANY DOWN

    @11
    # VERTICAL

    MOV UP ACC
    SAV
    MOV 11 ACC

    LOOP: SWP
    MOV ACC LEFT
    SWP
    ADD 5
    MOV ACC LEFT
    SUB 6
    MOV 3 LEFT
    MOV -1 LEFT
    JNZ LOOP

    It's good you chose a word whose letters can be printed with almost only two kinds of straight lines that have a fixed length. It allowed me to save some instructions and to make the program simpler as a whole.

    Anyway, I guess I'm gonna start playing Shenzhen I/O now.

    Reply
  • Spencer White12

    March 21, 2019

    I think the command you were talking about was nop. It actually comes into usefulness VERY soon.

    Reply
  • TigeR13

    March 21, 2019

    I wrote real assembly to speed up a Mandelbrot implementation with the FPU as a learning experience some years ago, and that was real fun! Even made my program some seconds faster. But while playing tis-100 I really missed those additional registers :'(

    Reply
  • Almas Nuketayev14

    March 21, 2019

    1:47 it's 'Constructor' in Russian 🙂
    Overall great video,Matt.

    Reply
  • tsartomato15

    March 21, 2019

    it's constructor

    Reply
  • YAAR Gazdar16

    March 21, 2019

    Breath of the wild review?

    Reply
  • Daniel Adamczyk17

    March 21, 2019

    I still waiting for review of Colobot.

    Reply
  • Keago18

    March 21, 2019

    Being an optimist, at least videos after this series will seem amazing by comparison.

    Reply
  • Really Passionate Gaming19

    March 21, 2019

    I think this series is perfect evidence of how much Matt actually loves video games. At their core, they are simulations of labor, objectives that the player needs to complete with the "language" of the developer's intent. If he is able to enjoy these adventure, platforming, and stealth games because he enjoys the systems they utilize, he can apply the same logic to puzzle games that strip away those elements to a basic level. These games aren't simplistic, they are much more complex, and it does take a certain kind of player to appreciate this. While these titles have no appeal to me, I understand how they are a unique take on how to ramp up difficulty and teach the player in a very different way- in some ways, a freer way.

    So, good for you, Matt. While you haven't sold me on any of Zachtronics' products, you've deepened my appreciation of the genre.

    Reply
  • whitedude87720

    March 21, 2019

    The turd in a series of Zachtronics reviews.

    Reply
  • Doctor Awful21

    March 21, 2019

    As a computer engineer who took 3 assembly-centered classes in my first years of college, this game looks like nonsense.

    Yeah yeah, I get nerds wanting to solve neat puzzles that make them feel smart. But this is way closer to studying and to doing those shitty educational browser games than to actual video games.

    You do you I guess, I always like your reviews, but this is just really dull

    Reply
  • Cryptic Corvus22

    March 21, 2019

    I'm a big fan of games that encourage experimentation through opaque and weird gameplay mechanics, but honestly, I'm actually glad that patronising, condescending tutorials exist too. I've seen way too many streamers who complain about tutorials not read the damn things at all and make the playthrough far harder and far more frustrating than it was ever meant to be. It's like when all those idiot reviewers criticised Metal Gear Rising for not having a dodge mechanic; these days I fully understand why those hand-holding tutorials need to exist.

    Reply
  • Mislav Kranjčev23

    March 21, 2019

    Good review. Really hope you'll do a video on the DROD (Deadly Rooms of Death) series someday. It's more about actual solutions to a myriad of puzzles than the open-endedness of Zachtronics, but there's yet a game to have such a level of quality in this niche.
    For starters either King Dugan's Dungeon (the very first game) or Gunthro's Epic Blunder (the 4th, designed for newcomers) are good places to get into the series.

    Reply
  • Daylen24

    March 21, 2019

    In case anyone wants a searchable copy of the TIS-100 documentation PDF, I converted it a while ago; tinyurl dot com slash tis100doc

    Reply
  • umbaupause25

    March 21, 2019

    I love the line "Giving the player a second screen with additional information, only the screen happens to be made out of paper."

    It's like… so… backwards in a modern way. Back then we used to say "Wow this is like a book but on a weird screen!" And now this.

    Reply
  • Laughing Octopus26

    March 21, 2019

    yeah, i'm good

    Reply
  • Sursurk27

    March 21, 2019

    I fail to see the fun in this, this looks more like torture.

    Reply
  • Shayne Gallagher28

    March 21, 2019

    Oh shit last 2 reviews were zachtronic games. Ill be back in a couple months.

    Reply
  • Seth Osborn29

    March 21, 2019

    I got this game not too long before I went on tour one summer. Many hours were spent on my laptop in the tour van, trying to figure out the next puzzle. Good memories. I still need to get back to this one–never finished the first set of puzzles.

    Reply
  • Matthew Kordon30

    March 21, 2019

    Not only are your points/ opinions not connecting with me, but I can't fathom why anyone would find this game to be worthwhile in a world where thousands of more enticing experiences exist at our finger tips. This doesn't look stimulating enough to overcome the bonkers high entry level. You even say it's good the game is stripped of all music, as if having a soundscape, or any life at all, is superfluous! You have gone over the deep end in a way I always fear as a fellow video essayist. You have become the Carpenter from Through the Looking Glass: overzealously taking part in fruitless labor. Edit: Also, why have you stopped explaining/ backing your opinions? In this video, you just state how you feel as if such a controversial game is easy to fall in love with.

    Reply
  • Neurotyczny Kot31

    March 21, 2019

    I'm definitely too stupid to play such game….

    Reply
  • La0bouchere32

    March 21, 2019

    When's your Call of Duty series coming?

    Reply
  • Molham Arafa33

    March 21, 2019

    I appreciate you reviewing games that normal reviewers would never touch.

    Reply
  • Alex Johnson34

    March 21, 2019

    Zachs games are learning and epiphany simulators

    Reply
  • Jplichta35

    March 21, 2019

    The infinite Zachtronics review

    Reply
  • Nicholise Smithbobjunior36

    March 21, 2019

    These comments are trash. Amazing video.

    Reply
  • Julian Silva37

    March 21, 2019

    What are some good introductory puzzle games for dumdums like me?

    Reply
  • Fuvity38

    March 21, 2019

    You should really just pick up programming challenges at this point

    Reply
  • Dai Kaizen39

    March 21, 2019

    Sometimes I think those games are only made for you to make an incredible review about.

    Reply
  • jacob yeager40

    March 21, 2019

    Matthew you fuckin hipster i love you

    Reply
  • Gabriel S41

    March 21, 2019

    So the next one is supposed to be even more inaccessible? I can barely imagine.

    Reply
  • dinospitter42

    March 21, 2019

    Left 4 Dead 2!!!!

    Reply

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