Rube Goldberg’s Revenge.
As I prepared to write this Contraption Maker preview, the realization of why my Grandma hates Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure suddenly hit me. It was, after all, the movie that introduced me to the beautiful chaos that is the Rube Goldberg device.
If you’re not familiar with the scene or the concept, it’s about using an obnoxiously over-engineered contraption that goes through a number of complex steps to achieve a simple goal; and in this famous scene, we find that Pee-Wee Herman has created one for the sole purpose of cooking his breakfast. Being a reckless teen at the time, I took that scene to heart, organizing various and sundry household objects in nonsensical patterns with the mental image of everything falling into place like dominos, and coalescing into one grand snowball of a moment where, in the end, delicious toast would be served.
That was the general idea, anyway. Unfortunately, my devices never quite worked out the way I planned them, unless, of course, the end goal was to shatter all of the glassware in dear old Granny’s house. That’s why she bought me The Incredible Machine. And finally, after years of requests from old school gamers and insane engineers alike, a spiritual successor to that highly regarded series of software has been announced.
The team that created the original Incredible Machine now brings us Contraption Maker, due out for PC and Mac this summer. The upcoming game boasts re-imagined but nostalgia-infused HD graphics; a much improved engine with modern physics that dissolves many of the limitations of the previous series; mind-bending puzzles; a robust community that allows for puzzle sharing and mods; and the magnificent Maker Lab with over 100 parts – both classic and new – to build with, so there should be plenty of fuel for the devious inventor here.
So feel free to chain your hamster motors, alligators, trampolines, cats and more into mad contraptions without any fear of consequence getting in the way of your shenanigans. And don’t forget to tell Grandma that the glassware is safe once again.