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TIS-100 is a puzzle video game and programming game developed by Zachtronics Industries. The game has the player develop mock assembly language code to perform certain tasks on a virtualized 1970s computer that has been corrupted. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Linux personal computers in July 2015.
Within TIS-100, the player is said to have come across a malfunctioning TIS-100 computer ("Tessellated Intelligence System") and its manual, based on early computers of the 1980s. The computer is presented to the player as twelve separate processing nodes laid out in a four-by-three grid. Each node has a single processor register to store a numerical value as well as a backup register. Nodes also hold their own assembly language program as entered by the user. The assembly language, a simplified version of real-world assembly languages, allows the node to accept external input or a numerical value sent from an adjacent node, perform basic math and logic operations, store and backup the current data value, and then send results to an adjacent node or to the program's output. Later puzzles introduce stack nodes and an output to a simple 5-color graphics display.
The player is presented with a series of puzzles that require them to program the nodes to perform specific actions on a set of numbers from one or more input terminals to produce pre-determined output at other terminals. For example, one task requires the player to double the value of the input at the output terminal. The game presents the list of inputs and the target output values that it is expecting and requires the players to develop the code for each node to match this; if during execution the output nodes receive unexpected outputs, the execution will cease and the player will have to rework their solution. Not all nodes are available in certain puzzles, so the player will need to route around these nodes. The game offers the player the ability to step through the execution of the code and insert debugging statements to determine logic issues within their code. Once the target output conditions are met, the player is considered to have solved the puzzle. The nodes that are disabled in puzzles contain cryptic messages related to the narrative of the game and which contain more information that can be accessed when the entire game is completed.
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TIS-100 System Requirements
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP / 7 / 8 / 10
- Processor: 2.0 GHz
- RAM: 2 GB
- Video Card: 512 MB
- Hard disk space: 100 MB