I’ve been interested for a while now in better understanding the underlying mechanics of computers. I’ve also been keen to do something other than stare at a screen. Turing Tumble is a fun solution to both of these goals.

Turing Tumble is an educational game in which you build a mechanical computer that is powered by marbles. The game comes with a comic book that guides you through ever more complex computing principles, adding more sophisticated parts as you progress. Each principle is presented as a challenge in which you’re given a goal and a few starting pieces. You then have to integrate some earlier principles into the new goal to come up with a solution. The challenges get pretty tough! But, I’m enjoying figuring out each puzzle while making progress through the story.

Just as an example, here’s Challenge 26 in which the goal is to release 4 blue marbles, 1 red, and then another 4 blue. The blue, arrow-shaped pieces are bits that allow you to count, while the black piece near the top right corner is an interceptor for stopping computation (warning, spoilers ahead!).

Although the primary audience for this is kids, I’m finding it both fun and educational!