Building computer logic in the oddly addicting "NAND Game"

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Reminds me of this cool toy/puzzle called Turing Tumble that’s a physical representation of logic circuits. Check it out at turingtumble dot com.


Say, @Clive_T : If you enjoyed that, I highly recommend the game TIS-100, which does something similar with highly-parallel micro-module programming. Follow that up with Shenzhen I/O (modern-day component programming with more traditional assembly for devices), then Exapunks (takes the concepts even further, to the point people have programmed asteroids in the in-game modules).

I’ve attended a talk of his, and had him sign a printed-out copy of TIS-100 manual, which is a well written ‘feely,’ an excellent artifact. Great guy. He also wrote SpaceChem and Infinifactory (I’ve heard good things about them, but mainly focused on the programming side). And some paper-based programming puzzle games? He had some to show at his talk. A brilliant fellow.


It reminds me of an exhibit that used to be at the Ontario Science Centre.

(Scroll down to “Sadly, one of my favourite exhibits”)

There was an easily solution that worked. There was another solution which should have worked, but failed due to clocking and gate delays in their model: a valuable lesson later on.


Big Nope. I’m retired, dammit.


Aha, yes, I think I’ve heard of that … I’ll check it out!

I remember reading a review of this somewhere, when TIS-100 first came out. It sounded amazing! Ferocious, but amazing

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I grew up in North York, so I also went to the OSC a ton! School trips and whenever I could beg my parents to bring me. Seeing the “coffee” machine in your photo gave me an absolute jolt of recognition – that thing was remarkable in its time. Also notable, as I recall, was a computational wildfire simulator … my first experience with the idea that you could model a phenomenon on a computer and see how it would play out.

I think I also recall that massive logic-gate exhibit you drew!

Six or seven years ago I took my kids, then 7 and 9, to the science center, and they absolutely loved it. Despite all the changes over the years, it’s still pretty amazing …

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Consider it anyway! I’ve played through some of Shenzhen I/O, and I found it really refreshing. By turning engineering into a game, it focuses on all of the fun problem-solving parts without all of the unfun “but we have to run a business” parts.


I didn’t draw it. I was looking for a picture of it, but that article, lamenting the lack of pictures was all I found.

I really enjoy logic puzzles, TIS-100 and Shenzhen I/O where fun till they got too hard.

This is impressive for a web game. However it’s lacking in instructional text. Solving Full Adder and beyond is going to be impossible for anyone who doesn’t already have some knowledge of logic gates.

The why or what Adders do isn’t explained. They really need to guide you better, you shouldn’t be able to connect gate back on themselves until that is needed. And then that needs to be explicitly called out.


My CS program had us building a cpu from logic gates (nand/ nor/ not) over 2 or 3 quarters. I don’t think I’ve ever met any other programmers/developers outside of those who went through the same program that required such low level study of computer architecture.

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Oh right, sorry – I misunderstood!

Wait, there’s games of this subject? I had to learn it by reading Designing with TTL Integrated Circuits.


In high school we had a bunch of electronics boxes that had a collection of relays, switches and lights. You used patch cables to connect them to make different kinds of circuits. We got a plan somebody had made to connect about 14 of these to make a 4 bit adder. We built it a couple of times but failed to get it to work. Do you remember the title or anything of that logic book you read? I first learned to program using a make-your-own-adventure type book called “Basic Computer Programming”, a TutorText by Theodore Scott.

The most complex thing we had to build was a 4 bit adder with an attached 7 segment display. Most people hated it, I found it was fun, but entirely useless for my career as a developer.

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I’ll edit and add a longer post,but Rocky’s Boots and Robot Odyssey were fantastic games that allowed one to experiment rudimentary circuits and logic gates.

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I remember that. Lucite tubes and tennis ball sized ‘bits’. Great place to visit, although I must say have not been there in about 25 years

Yeah I’m not sure how useful that info was but still a fundamental understanding of the inner workings of the platform you do all your work on doesn’t hurt.

At no time in my entire career I did all my work on a 4 bit adder, so I couldn’t say anything about that :wink: