Zachtronics is making its final game: Last Call BBS

Redmond-based indie studio Zachtronics was founded by Zach Barth, designer of  sandbox builder Infiniminer, AKA the game Notch ripped off to make Minecraft. After that, Zachtronics made a name for itself with 2011’s SpaceChem, which dresses like a game about synthesizing chemicals for space colonies but sneakily teaches you programming and circuit-building. It, and other Zachtronics puzzle games that are either explicitly about programming (like TIS-100, Shenzhen I/O, and Exapunks), or sneakily about programming (like alchemical device-builder Opus Magnum), have been dubbed ‘Zach-likes’ by fans. The studio has made games in other genres though, like AI-themed visual novel Eliza, and alternate-history strategy game Ironclad Tactics.

Last Call BBS seems like a culmination and combination of everything Zachtronics has done over the last decade-plus of indie game development. It’s a collection of eight puzzle minigames (“although some of them are quite big, at least the size of TIS-100 (opens in new tab)“), all accessed through a fictional retro computer called the Sawayama Z5 Powerlance. A BBS administrator called The Barkeep has filled this chunky red PC with games for us, and helpfully they’re “all fully cracked and ready to enjoy!”

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