Winners & nominees 16th IMGA

The Devil’s Calculator: A Math Puzzle Game

Nominated for the

16th IMGA

United States
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    About The Devil’s Calculator: A Math Puzzle Game

    The Devil's Calculator is an educational math experience posing as a casual indie puzzle game. Advanced graphing mechanics, countless features and simple, yet innovative level design provide considerable depth to game play. Rather than the typical solve-for-x
    algebraic expression, the operators themselves are unknown. At each level, decipher the function of a mysterious operator, using it to calculate the “number of the beast”, 666, to progress. Gather data, work backwards to determine the obscure workings of the function, and purge the calculator of its demons. No need to be a math prodigy--the game engages logical thinking. With an in-depth level creation system for players to program brain-teasers for the community, a DLC showcase features levels by leading mathematicians and celebrities in the field, including James Grime of Numberphile and James Tanton of the Global Math Project. The Devil’s Calculator is free to educators and students, and 20+ levels are free to play for all.

    What makes my game unique?

    Non-Profit / Educational Games that bridge the entertainment gap are already something of a rarity, but one that teaches machine learning concepts through addicting puzzle mechanics and mathematics has never been done. The entire mechanic of collecting data on a function and reverse engineering it to calculate the same number repeatedly is a new, experimental genre - one that upends conventional gaming norms. It also helps expose the average player to the work of famous mathematicians who have contributed levels to the game based on their work in the field, (Alex Bellos, Grant Sanderson and James Grime to name a few), and an in-depth level creation system allows for anyone to build their own levels and share them with the community.

    Why could my game win an award?

    I’ve seen people genuinely moved by the gameplay, particularly children, who are stupendously inventive and autodidactic with what would normally be thought of as sophisticated mathematical concepts. A great example was at PAX this past August, where a ten-year-old girl yet to take algebra 1 sat and played the game for two hours, stubbornly working out mathematical precepts no one expected her to grasp. Getting further than most adults, she taught herself the very concept of a binary number system on graph paper, and then scratched over all her work, destroying it so no one else there could stand on her shoulders. With a discipline as rigid and scholarly as mathematics, designing for and encouraging this kind of ingenuity was our greatest challenge and our largest point of pride.