Take it away, Dr. John! One of my favorite video games growing up was The Incredible Machine. This 2-D puzzle game required the player to organize a series of common household items into an absurdly complex contraption to perform a simple action (e.g., turn on a light). The playing field included both fixed and movable objects, all of which interacted through simulated physics of gravity, air pressure, heat, and contact. It was incredibly fun, and I was incredibly horrible at it. I have been looking for redemption ever since.

Crayon Physics Deluxe from Petri Purho on Vimeo.
Recently, my colleague Bioephemera introduced me to Crayon Physics, an innovative physics puzzle game that relies on nothing but your imagination, creativity, and ability to wield a miniature crayon. Watch the video above and check out the demo – you can get familiar with the basic maneuvers and even create your own levels. If you’re interested in a real challenge, Crayon Physics Deluxe is now available for a nominal fee.
I can’t promise that you’ll learn much about actual physics, nor can I promise that you will atone for past failings like me. What I can promise you is heaps of fun, over 70 different puzzles, and the opportunity to create and share your own levels over the Internet. I can also promise you a bizarre musical arrangement that mixes Gregorian chanting with that relaxing music you always hear during deep tissue massages. Thankfully, this imaginary world of oddball physics also includes volume control.

  • Topics: physics, puzzles
  • Location: at hom
  • Duration: any
  • Cost: low cost
  • Gear: computer, internet
  • Level of Difficulty: easy

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