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Code Romantic, a visual novel about love and programming

If you like the sound of a visual novel with both computer science puzzle and romance elements then Code Romantic is for you. So far, creator Pretty Smart Games has released two of the game’s chapters, with more to come a little further down the line.

Unlike Zachtronics-style programming games—where players learn fictional systems—Code Romantic is teaching players using C#, a coding language folks use a whole bunch. A game like Zachtronics’s Shenzhen I/O teaches more logic-based theories, while Code Romantic is starting more traditionally with the basics of code semantics. No prior programming experience is necessary, as the game starts off with very simple commands—stuff you’d learn in an intro to programming course. Likely, later puzzles will increase in difficulty.

a shout-out to Ada Lovelace

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Code Romantic’s programming aspects are integrated into the narrative; the code portions are driven along by the story of a dystopian society where technology has become evil. Mina Lovelace (a shout-out to Ada Lovelace, the first programmer), the game’s protagonist, is a coding prodigy. Code Romantic centers heavily on Mina’s relationship with her mom—who is also a technology genius—and how they’re fighting back against the enemy. Romance, of course, plays a big part in the story, too: “I mean, it’s in the title!” creative director Miko Charbonneau said.

More than anything, though, Code Romantic is about bravery, and about forgoing perfection for just trying. “Sometimes you have to be braver than others, because people have misjudged you, or made it harder for someone that looks like you,” Charbonneau said on Tumblr. “But no one can take your bravery away.”

Play the first two chapters of Code Romantic on itch.io, then sign up for the game’s mailing list for updates as they come. Development is detailed on the Code Romantic blog.

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