I can remember spending hours of my childhood tinkering with a little game called Mouse Trap. They aren’t fond memories though because the game was frustrating when the mechanisms didn’t work, and they rarely worked. Regardless of the game’s failings, it did instill a love for the Rube Goldberg model in me. I am now, and will forever be, intrigued by falling dominoes, steampunk apparatuses (apparati?), and the creation of Rube Goldberg machines in Garry’s Mod for Half-Life 2. If you aren’t familiar with Rube Goldberg he was an American cartoonist who popularized the concept of outlandish machines performing simple tasks. Most of his illustrations featured insane contraptions doing ordinary tasks like pouring coffee or feeding a pet. Needless to say, his name is now synonymous with the concept.
So, Imagine my surprise and excitement when I found out about Autodesk’s new app/game Tinkerbox which happens to be based around the Rube Goldberg concept. They aren’t really known for their games, but then again, Tinkerbox is more than just a game. The well-respected developers at Autodesk who brought you Sketchbook Pro, AutoCAD, and Fluid FX have released a physics, engineering, puzzle, hybrid game with an educational flair (what a mouthful). The experimental app is hard to define with one word concepts, so I will just give you the full breakdown.
Tinkerbox is a free-to-play game with various physics puzzles built in. Not only can you solve these puzzles and learn engineering and scientific concepts, but you can also create your own Rube Golberg style machines and share them with with your friends. If you aren’t the creative type you can also just download other peoples puzzle machines for the solving. The trailer reveals a plethora of creative options, so I can imagine you will only be limited by your creativity and the amount of time you invest in the app. Oh, and if the theme song in the trailer doesn’t get you pumped about this free app, then I have no idea what will.
Autodesk has even created a website for the game that features tips, news, and a selection of top notch inventions (their name for Tinkerbox creations). The game is free and well supported, so hopefully if it is popular enough we will see some interesting updates down the road.