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Zachtronics’ new Zachademics scheme gives free games to schools

The developer of Exapunks and Opus Magnum is giving its games away for free to educators under its new Zachademics initiative.

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Zachtronics Zachademics Exapunks

The developer of Exapunks and Opus Magnum is giving its games for free to educators under its new Zachademics initiative.

Outside of Humble bundles, or charity events like Games Done Quick, you don’t often hear about video games doing good in the world. Especially not the business of video games. It’s all crunch and lay-offs, microtransactions and loot boxes. Rarely do we get to report a nice, pleasant, good news story from the world of business.

So here’s one: Zachtronics, developer of Exapunks, Opus Magnum, and plenty more besides, is giving away its games for free to schools and other educational institutes, in a new initiative called Zachademics.

To get hold of Zachademics games for educational purposes, you’ll need to request a license. You’ll need to provide Zachtronics with some details, like the proof of where you work and how many licenses you’ll need, before they’ll hand over the goods. All the details you’ll need are on the dedicated Zachademics page on the Zachtronics website.

There are also a few caveats. For-profit schools and home-schooling aren’t included, for instance, and you can’t install it on any computers that aren’t owned by the school. Even if you already purchased a single copy of a Zachtronics game, you’ll still need to request a license before installing it on your school’s computers. But other than that? It’s a free resource for teachers, and let’s be honest – schools are always crying out for that.

Just a small point: Zachtronics games might be educational, but they’re not education games. Luckily, Zachtronics has rated the games for difficulty, and also included general guidelines on content.

Opus Magnum, for instance, teaches problem-solving and basic programming logic, but it also has a story attached with some gently mature content. The warning attached is as follows:

CONTENT: Opus Magnum takes place in a fantasy world and contains a few indirect references to violence, sex, and alcohol. It also depicts alchemy, which is essentially made-up chemistry and may offend science teachers.

DIFFICULTY: 2/5

While Exapunks carries the following:

CONTENT: Exapunks contains occasional swear words in text (with an in-game option to censor them) and frequent references to hacking the planet, breaking the law, and sticking it to the man.

DIFFICULTY: 3/5

When did kids not benefit from hacking the planet, breaking the law, and sticking it to the man?


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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.