Never underestimate the ingenuity of Baba is You, or the people who play it.
Baba is You is one of the smarter games released this year and, at its heart, its a game of programming. The game gives you certain rules and you either execute those or alter them to your will.
So it’s possible to get creative with the game’s custom levels, once you’ve unlocked the ability to edit those. If everything is governed by a set of rules dictated on screen, one player figured you should be able to remake Rule 110, a basic cellular automaton.
That means – theoretically – there’s the potential to create an automaton within Baba is You that can simulate mathematics or other computer programs. What you can actually create is still limited by the level size, but it basically means the game can function as a basic programming language that can be used to create other things.
Since Baba is You‘s Rule 110 compatibility was proved earlier this year by Matthew Rodriguez, players started testing the limits. And once programmers worked out how to get Conway’s Game of Life going, a automaton made by British mathematician John Horton Conway back in 1970, players started getting more creative. Like Andrew Taylor earlier this year, who made a binary calculator that resulted in a Baba is You level which can only be solved through binary math.
It’s not the kind of level that’d appeal to most – although it’s relatively simple – but it shows the raw potential of what can be done with Baba is You. It’s one of those games that will probably get overlooked in most of the GOTY deliberations, but it’s worth recognising just how fiendishly clever the game is.
And you know what’s funny about all of this? Baba is You doesn’t have an proper level editor yet, because not being released until next year. (People have been using this fan-made tool in the meantime.) Just imagine the levels people will make when it’s out.