In what seems like a previous life, I was a chemist. I loved all of the wonderful theory behind chemistry, and I especially loved teaching that theory to others. As for the whole doing experiments in a lab part, I often found myself indifferent to the painstakingly accurate mess and quickly learned in grad school and the real job world that I’d rather be the one telling people what experiments to do than actually doing them.
Aside from attempting to remember my years of training while answering a random question from a friend, it’s probably been a solid 3 years since I had to seriously think about chemistry and 5 or so since actually performing an experiment. Fast-forward to this week when I downloaded Opus Magnum on Steam, and I was instantly reminded of how cool chemistry is. In this game, you are a recently graduated and overly confident alchemist starting out at his first job. You’re given a limited amount of reagents and have to build increasing more complex products like health tonics and hangover cures by constructing extravagant machines that might make Rube Goldberg himself blush.
The game taps into the deepest engineering recesses of my brain and has me constantly in awe of the absurd solutions that emerge. It has all the fun and wonder of chemistry that I miss without all the actually being in a lab. Plus, it lets you do things you’ve always dreamt of as a chemist like turning lead into gold. I am only on the second of 6 chapters, but I cannot wait to see what challenges lie ahead. Now enjoy some more of my favorite creations so far thanks to the game’s awesome GIF creator feature.