“The way you find out if your game is good is to release it.”

“I can’t tell if our stuff is fun. I can bring some people to the office. They’re all going to look like they’re miserable. It’s a Zachtronics game. They do not test well. It’s impossible to tell if somebody is having fun by watching them play one of our games.”

– Zach Barth

“There is no tutorial in SHENZHEN-IO. It comes with a binder. And there’s not even a tutorial in the binder.”

“It’s an iteration on TIS-100 which came with a paper manual instead of a tutorial. And that was sheerly out of laziness. Which is that I didn’t want to make a tutorial that tries to teach people how to do fake programming, so we’ll document it. People can figure it out.”

“When you’re playing the game you’re going to be doing a real skill. It might not be a real real skill that exists outside, but within the game it’s gonna be a real skill. We’re not just going to pat you on the back and make your numbers bigger, so you’re actually doing the same thing the whole time <gestures horizontally> but it feels like you’re going like this <gestures diagonally>. We’re going to actually force you to go like this <gestures diagonally again>”

– Zach Barth

I don’t want to make good games, necessarily, I just want to make a lot of them. Because that’s the part that feels good to me. Making a game but then not releasing it is not why I make games.

I make games to get them out there, even if they’re bad, even if they’re really quick and dirty, there’s huge problems with them, they’re not huge hits, I don’t need that.

I just want to make games and put them out there.

Running a business is not the same as making games. They are two different activities and being good at one doesn’t make you good at the other.

– Zach Barth

Shenzhen I/O is like Integrated Circuits for Babies.

Microcontrollers are actually really complicated. The manuals are actually like 500 pages long and they’re written by assholes who don’t care if you understand it versus people like us who love our players and want people to have a fun time reading it and understand it.

Our datasheets are like the fun baby version of real datasheets.

And our chips have this mode code in it instead of so much I can’t show you with my hands. It’s fun. That’s what makes it fun. Throwing stuff away makes it fun.

– Zach Barth (on avoiding the mistake of being too real)