Machinarium: Soother of the Migraine


Machinarium (Photo credit: sakurapenguin)

Had a low-grade migraine that kept me and my son close to home the other day. The meds I take for relief are great, but I’m still left with sensitivity to light, sounds, and movement, and while they don’t sedate me, I don’t feel comfortable driving anywhere while they’re doing their thing. So we were both stuck at home.

After finishing his homework and home reading, my son wanted to play a video game. I was skeptical, but when he told me it was Machinarium he was looking to play, I was in full support — it’s got a gorgeous (gentle-sounding) soundtrack!

Tomáš Dvořák’s score for the game suits it perfectly; it’s a little melancholy, reflecting protagonist robot Josef’s grief at the kidnapping of his girlfriend robot. It’s also whimsical  and intricate which underscores the animation and the puzzles found in each level of the game. The first time I heard the soundtrack I was reminded of Hans Zimmer and Philip Glass’s work, so it wasn’t surprising to read that  Dvořák considers these composers to be influential in his music. I’ve thrown in a sample of the Machinarium sound if you’re interested:

According to the ESRB, Machinarium rates E10+:

Platform: Macintosh, Windows PC, PlayStation 3, PS Vita
Rating Category:

     Everyone 10+ Rating Symbol
Content Descriptors: Comic Mischief, Use of Tobacco
Rating Summary:This is an adventure-puzzle game in which players assume the role of a discarded robot (Josef) that must defuse a bomb and rescue its girlfriend. Players sometimes advance the storyline by playing tricks on other robots (e.g., scattering marbles to make one character slip and fall, electrocuting a robot cat); one cutscene depicts a character getting hit with a slingshot, resulting in a ‘dizzy-stars’ effect. During one extended sequence, players must construct a makeshift cigarette for another robot to smoke; another sequence depicts a character smoking a pussy-willow plant like a cigar or cigarette.

While the ESRB rates the game 10+ for the reasons stated above, I’d encourage this rating based on the complexity of the game. The puzzles are logic-based (so cool, learning and gaming), and even if your child is a logic wiz, the narrative of the game is more fully accessible to kids in this age-range.

Czech game designer Jakub Dvorský’s (Amanita Design) Machinarium is a beautiful game to play and to watch in play. As I recovered from my headache, I watched my son play the game from start to finish  — I felt transported into a Steampunk fairy tale. While I was happy about the conclusion of the game, it was a bittersweet happiness my son and I shared. Machinarium is a witty, cheeky, and beautiful game that neither of us wanted to end.


If you haven’t downloaded and played this award-winning indie game, DO! It’s a treat for the ears, eyes, brain, and heart and I’m 100% sure this is one game there won’t be any disagreements over…plus, it’s easy on headaches.

How many of your kids’ video games can you say that about?



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