Quick Start

Object of the Game

Dr. I. O. Sil­ver is a semi-​world famous hi-​definition sci­en­tist, soft­ware engi­neer and renowned hard­ware nut. The Pro­fes­sor is for­ever attempt­ing to build the new fifth gen­er­a­tion “Super Com­puter” from the array of inte­grated cir­cuits com­puter chips on the Apple II, iPhone, iPad or Android screen. Your job is to help him.

diskdrive

You will work within a one simulated-​year dead­line and con­stantly be harassed by a gang of com­puter “bugs” which will try and rob you of your most valu­able asset – time. You can, how­ever, earn even more money by trap­ping these pesky crit­ters inside a group of blocks.

Get rich being a pusher…

hardware

A chip pusher, that is. The object of I. O. Sil­ver is to move the Pro­fes­sor around the screen and push together all of the chips of the same color, thus com­bin­ing them and cre­at­ing cir­cuit boards and other parts which ulti­mately cre­ate a Super Com­puter. For each Super Com­puter built, you get a HD medal and tons of imag­i­nary cash.

Short of that lofty goal, the object is to sur­vive and earn as much money as pos­si­ble by com­bin­ing as many chips and other com­puter parts as you can.

additional computing

Besides get­ting the all-​time high­est score (and becom­ing famous), there is no way to actu­ally “win” the game. Like life at a real high tech start-​up, you have to keep push­ing until you die. [No, we are not keep­ing bit­ter­ness and resent­ment all bot­tled up… we let it out fre­quently.]

The Can-​You-​Win Controversy

You can fin­ish all the lev­els and build a Super Com­puter and there­fore fin­ish the game. Pub­lisher Randy says that feels like win­ning to him, but the fact is some­one else can do the very same thing and earn more money than you did, and there­fore dis­place you in the all-​time high score list. That doesn’t sound like win­ning to some of us, so you’d bet­ter try to run up the score.

To progress from level to level, you must earn “exe­cu­tion points” that at least equal the num­ber of your cur­rent level. So if you are on level one, you have to earn one exe­cu­tion point to be allowed to pro­ceed to level two. You would be cor­rect in assum­ing this makes each level incre­men­tally more dif­fi­cult than its pre­de­ces­sor. If you are brave, you can hang out on a level longer than you have to so you can earn more money – this is one way to run up the score.

Two Ways to Play

Whether you’re play­ing the new-​fangled high def­i­n­i­tion ver­sion or the “retro” 8-​bit look­ing ver­sion, there are two dif­fer­ent ways you can play I.O. Silver:

1. The high-​pressure Arcade Workshop

or…

2. The take-​your-​time Strat­egy Lab.

CAVEAT: We never said this would be easy.

Actu­ally, play­ing I. O. Sil­ver is quite easy. Cre­at­ing the Super Com­puter, how­ever, is pretty dad-​burn dif­fi­cult and may even seem impos­si­ble at first, until you get a feel for the game and develop a work­ing plan. Or a plan that works.

Game Con­trols

We’re talk­ing iPhones, iPads, and other mobile devices folks. Your index fin­ger is the game con­troller. If you hap­pen to be miss­ing yours, I’ve played with my thumb, too (don’t ask). Just swipe any­where in the direc­tion you want the pro­fes­sor to go, keep­ing in mind he can­not travel diag­o­nally. He’s an up, down, or side­ways kind of guy.

Quick Play Summary

Once you have swiped him into mov­ing, do note that the good pro­fes­sor moves until you swipe him to go another way or he runs into a chip. If he is chip-​stopped, an addi­tional swipe in the direc­tion of the chip and the pro­fes­sor will shove the chip into motion.

This is where it gets inter­est­ing. The chip will now keep mov­ing in the direc­tion of the push until it hits another chip or wraps com­pletely around and kills the pro­fes­sor from behind. That last part is not a desired outcome.

The begin­ning of a new level, the pro­fes­sor in repose.

repose

On a dif­fer­ent level, the pro­fes­sor has moved a few blocks and is about to push the red one. Can you guess what will happen?

Level3Mid

If you guessed that the Pro­fes­sor would have a quick demise, you were cor­rect. The block wrapped and caught the unwary Prof from behind:

Level3Death

Thanks to the ani­ma­tion and sounds, young chil­dren often pre­fer killing off the pro­fes­sor to actu­ally mak­ing money. This is why we don’t let chil­dren play with our phones and tablets (or work for start-​ups… where the adults already act like children).

Back at the lab, the real goal is to merge chips of the same color. Some­thing a bit more like this… Here the pro­fes­sor is setup to push the yello chip near the middle:

push setup

We swipe right to push the block, and we get sparks and money!

spark

Once you start com­bin­ing chips you’ll notice that you’re earn­ing money, and quite rapidly, too. That’s the goal – you and the pro­fes­sor are mate­ri­al­is­tic cap­i­tal­ists, after all. You also earn “expe­ri­ence” points*. You’ll need more expe­ri­ence points than your cur­rent level num­ber to be able to move to the next level. You can get more infor­ma­tion about points in the detailed Play­ing the Game section.

*In real life, expe­ri­ence points are what soft­ware devel­op­ers at start-​ups get when their stock options end up worth­less. This game enables you to expe­ri­ence life at a start-​up first­hand. It is a very real­is­tic sim­u­la­tion in many ways.