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Instruction Set

by Jared Jackson

Science Fiction

(based on 3 ratings)
2 member reviews

About the Story

How do you run a mind that cannot run itself? Enter the mind of Nora Atwood and with the help of a little science, you may be able to puzzle out her situation.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2018
Current Version: Unknown
License: Freeware
Development System: Scratch
IFID: Unknown
TUID: bisyad41qss1z1fu


60th Place - 24th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2018)


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Number of Reviews: 2
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
If you like puzzles, give this one a chance, November 17, 2018
My ten-year-old son wanted to play through one of the IFComp games with me one night last month. I selected Instruction Set kind of on a whim, and it turned out to be the perfect choice. It's written in Scratch! My son has been learning Scratch this past year, and it was really nice for him to see something vastly more complicated than anything he's tried to do on his own. We opened up the Scratch code, too, and looked through it. My son was able to follow the basic structure of the game's code as well.

The gameplay of Instruction Set consists of a series of logic puzzles. Some of them are old classics, like the one where you have only a three-liter container and a five-liter container and you need to create four liters of water. I realize that this particular puzzle is now used as an example of an old, tired puzzle for a lot of folks in the IF community, but I missed that phase of IF where this puzzle was used frequently, and so it did not come across as stale to me.

More importantly, the puzzles get more and more complex the more you solve. So even if you don't like some of the early puzzles, I'd recommend sticking with the game. The puzzles do get better. The last puzzle you actually solve was particularly fun - one of my favorite puzzles in IFComp this year, in fact.

The story involves some researchers in a lab testing a new haptic interface on a patient, Nora Atwood, and understanding what's going on with her. But the gameplay is really about the puzzles.

Folks used to the elegance of Inform's parser will probably find the interface clunky. It is a little clunky. But I'm impressed that the author managed to create a parser-like interface in Scratch at all! To my knowledge there's no native support for such a thing in Scratch. The interface works, too, and there's a window that tells you exactly which commands are allowed on each puzzle, as well as displaying the puzzle for you graphically. (This adds interest to some of those classic puzzles, by presenting them in a form that's not pure text.) There was only one puzzle where I got seriously stuck. I was able to go to the walkthrough, though, and I realized that I had misunderstood the directions for that puzzle.

The author says that he made the game with his kids and that his twelve-year-old daughter did all the artwork. I think that's awesome.

I had fun with Instruction Set, and I'm glad I played it with my son. I'd recommend it for puzzle fans aged ten and up.

An innovative game using the Scratch programming language and classic puzzles, February 1, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
Unfortunately, this game seems to no longer work in the current version of Scratch.

Scratch is a programming language originally designed to help children make simple games. Jared Jackson and his daughter used (or abused) the system to make a parser game with animations and puzzles.

This game is based off of conceptual, educational-style puzzles: manipulating amounts of water, moving around mazes, etc.

The overall storyline is brief but illustrated. It has a different feel than almost all other IF games out there, and I hope that one day it can be recreated in Scratch 3 or a stable language.

If you enjoyed Instruction Set...

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This is version 3 of this page, edited by Doug Orleans on 25 November 2018 at 5:50pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item