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At the same IT company where I discovered the first version of Dogz, another hand-around game was Boxworld for Windows 3. (Yes, it was that long ago. And in retrospect it seems I've been introduced to more games at work than in the shops. Even the Sierra games found their way to me through a colleague who showed me King's Quest V.) The idea was to shift boxes around to cover dots in an irregularly shaped room. The boxes could not be pulled, only pushed, and the pusher could not move two boxes, so if a box ended up against the wall or another box, with no way of getting behind it, the level became unsolvable. And, of course, as the levels became more complicated, the rooms got more, narrower and twistier passages, so that I had to think long and hard to find the solution. I finished upwards of ten levels, and fancied myself quite the brainiac.

Level 6, looks harder than it is.

Click here for the childishly easy first level of Boxworld, and here for level 8, where I started running into trouble.

I later found out that I had been playing a version of Sokoban, or "warehouse worker", as the idea behind it was that of a warehouse employee having to manoeuver crates of goods. Surprise: this game was also included, as "xsok", in a Linux distro. Unpleasant surprise: it was hard! The Windows game had been child's play compared to the real thing. I had trouble finishing even the first level. What a humbling experience.

Ouch. First level.

Toooo haaarrdd!!!

Another distro, Knoppix, featured KDE's version KSokoban, which is more like Boxworld, in both graphics and simplicity.

Only three boxes? Phew.

Amusingly, SLASH'EM has a sokoban level. It is still toooo haaarrdd!!! but it's possible to cheat a little.

A game in the openSUSE distro that claims to be Sokoban-like is KAtomic, so I gave it a chance. Instead of moving boxes to a predetermined spot, the player has to assemble molecules. The graphics are interesting, although they don't seem to be skinnable: there are no themes to choose from. Here, the "boxes" can be pulled, but when they move, they scoot all the way to the nearest boundary. So, not only is it impossible to move them square by square, but I have to figure out where, logically speaking, the molecule should be located for all its components to scoot into place without problems. Which is where my overtaxed brain gives up.

Disturbingly difficult for something that looks so simple.

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