Paul McGrath

Learning to Code with Human Resources Machine

Screengrab from the official trailer (
Screengrab from the official trailer

A colleague recently introduced me to Human Resources Machine, an incredible little puzzle game that gamifies basic programming concepts and slowly teaches you metaphorical elements of Assembly language, whether you’re aware of it or not. Naturally, I was sold.

Surprisingly too, I did not get tired or annoyed with the gamification approach. I’ve tried apps that gamified exercise, language learning, skill learning, education, and more; and they mostly felt like a constant reminder that you weren’t doing enough. It made learning a chore.

Human Resources Machine, however, did not. It doesn’t send you annoying reminders to play, doesn’t have a subscription model, and doesn’t require a set amount of time every day. It’s greatest assets are that it’s really fun, challenging, and manages to teach you small tricks which compound to build powerful conceptual models for understanding assembly programming.

You start the game with just 2 commands, and gradually earn more as you’re promoted. The entire language contains only 11 total commands, but they’re enough to simulate almost any computer algorithm in the world! — Tomorrow Corporation

Whoa, right?

Interestingly, it’s also targeted at two audiences. Those who can program, and those who can’t. For those who really want a challenge, they have Optimisation Challenges: really tricky constraints that test program size and execution speed.

If you’re a fan of programming challenges already, or if you’re currently refreshing your knowledge of Algorithms and Data Structures for interviews, you may get a kick out of these.

I can’t tell you how excited I am for their next release, 7 Billion Humans!