[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/theincrediblemachine_1321.jpg]]

->''[[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill "Blow up the fish tank with the missile."]]''
-->-- '''Professor Tim'''

A Puzzle Game published by [[{{Creator/Sierra}} Sierra Online]] in 1992, ''The Incredible Machine'' (AKA "[[FunWithAcronyms TIM]]") centers around the construction of [[RubeGoldbergDevice Rube Goldberg Devices]]. The player is provided with a predetermined set of parts to use in order to achieve the given objective. There are over 100 puzzles to complete, each of varying difficulty, but custom puzzles and machines can also be made (with full access to all the parts in the game). Many parts are available, ranging from the simple (gears and ropes) to the downright bizarre (alligators and blimps).

The game's family-friendly quality and subtle moments of humor and satisfaction led to widespread popularity. Over the course of nine years, seven more titles were released, and the series has since been a recipient of several awards.

For the more modern variant, see ''VideoGame/CrazyMachines''. It's also receiving a SpiritualSuccessor from the team that worked on the original game, called ''[[http://contraptionmaker.com/ Contraption Maker]]''.

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!!''The Incredible Machine'' contains the following tropes:

* ArtisticLicensePhysics: Despite being a physics game, fundamental laws are broken right and left.
** The Super Ball of ''[=TIM2=]'' somehow ''gains'' momentum with each bounce, in blatant defiance of real-world physics. In fact, it's so bouncy that the ball will take to the air, even if you set it precisely on top of a flat surface. It can't even be {{Hand Wave}}d as being made of some sort of {{Unobtanium}}; if you take a customizable ball and simply set its Elasticity to maximum, leaving all other properties alone, it too will gain momentum with each bounce. Needless to say, nothing can generate momentum on its own simply by being super-elastic. Well, unless it's [[TheAbsentMindedProfessor flubber]].
* AWinnerIsYou: For completing all puzzles in a difficulty tier in ''[=TIM2=]'', your reward is a window with a congratulations message from Professor Tim. For completing all the difficulty tiers, your reward is a window with a congratulations message from Professor Tim.
* BoobyTrap: The Trap Door, introduced in ''[=TIM2=]''. If any object with a mass greater than 5[[note]]on a scale of 0 to 10; try adjusting the Custom Ball's mass to see it for yourself[[/note]] lands on the trap door, no matter how gently, the door will fall open. Conversely, any object lighter than this can never trigger the trap door, no matter how high it drops from.
* ButtMonkey: Mel Schlemming.
* CosmicPlaything: The game's resident mindless mini-human, Mel Schlemming.
* CrueltyIsTheOnlyOption: A notable example occurs in ''Even More Contraptions'', where the player is forced to goad a mouse out of its home using cheese in order to feed the mouse to an alligator.
* DepthPerplexion:
** Take a bucket, tie it to an anchor, and put the bucket level with the anchor so that it'll swing in an arc. Place hedge trimmers so that the bucket swings just under them, and notice how the rope just passes through the trimmers completely. Now drop a ball on the hedge trimmers right as the rope passes through; the rope somehow gets snipped.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The first game has a vastly different art style from all the others. Later on, the Contraptions games did have an ArtShift in comparison to ''TIM2'' but it wasn't nearly as huge.
** The creatures were named differently. Do you recognize Pokey, Mort, and Kelly? If you've only played the sequels, you know them as Curie, Newton and Pavlov Mandrill. The fish also had a name, Bob. The later games didn't have a name.
** However, if you're playing the enhanced MissionPackSequel, ''The Even More Incredible Machine'', the new "characters", Mel and Edison, are already named that way.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: It's a machine, and it's incredible.
* ExcusePlot: In ''Even More Contraptions'', earning a Doctorate of Contrapology.
* FrickinLaserBeams: {{Averted}}. Introduced in ''[=TIM2=]'', Laser Guns fire one-pixel-wide beams of light. The beam travels from the gun to its destination in one frame (i.e. as close to the speed of light that the game can simulate). If the beam is cut off by an object passing through, the beam past that point disappears immediately; when the blockage is removed, it reappears just as quickly. Laser beams also have no knockback, since they are made of light.
* GameBreakingBug: in Expert 10, "Sky Skipper" in ''The Incredible Machine: Even More Contraptions'' you have to fulfill several goals, one of which is to bonk Mandrill on the head. This has to be the absolute last goal you fulfill, or at least close to that. The game only checks for the Mandrill's current state, so if by the end of your solution he's back in his "sitting" state, you're out of luck - the game will never acknowledge your solution. This has caused many players to consult walkthroughs on this one level, never understanding why their solution refuses to work.
* GuideDangIt: Level 22 on "Hard" in ''[=TIM2=]'', "Jolly Jolly Jumpin' Jack". The same level is also level 30 on "Difficult" in ''Return of the Incredible Machine: Contraptions.'' The mechanic the game uses in this level makes absolutely ''no'' physical sense, has ''never'' been taught and ''never'' appears anywhere else in the game. [[TakeAThirdOption Thank God for alternative solutions.]]
** If it weren't for (strangely easy) alternative solutions, Expert 19 "Panorama" in ''Return of the Incredible Machine: Contraptions'' would not have been solved by any sane person. The puzzle is just outright ''broken'' because the pre-set conveyor is facing the wrong way. The solution shown by the game as "intended" only works through the sheerest of luck and borderline exploitation of the game's physics engine. Either the puzzle was poorly tested or the designers were a bit too smart for their own good.
** A few Expert levels from ''The Incredible Machine: Even More Contraptions'' can elicit this reaction upon watching the intended solution, because of tricks that only make sense ''after'' you see them. Expert 39 "The Gemini Machine" contains a good example of such a trick in its intended solution. Again, [[TakeAThirdOption thank God for alternative solutions.]]
* HairTriggerExplosive: ''[=TIM2=]'' introduces Nitroglycerin Vials, [[CriticalResearchFailure erroneously depicted here as a low explosive, as opposed to a high explosive]]. This can be demonstrated by dropping a vial on a Blimp, which has a different "destroyed" animation depending on whether it came in contact with sharp objects or fire. Nitroglycerin, being a high explosive, should destroy the blimp with sharpness (a combination of flying glass shards and droplets moving faster than the speed of sound). Instead, nitroglycerin burns the blimp.
* HitboxDissonance: Lots in ''[=TIM2=]''.
** When lighting fuses, only the tip can be ignited by open flames.
** When blimps are dealing with obstacles that aren't vertical walls, expect these little dirigibles to change direction seemingly at random.
*** This is exacerbated in ''Return of the Incredible Machine''; the new graphic for the blimp is more slender, but it retains the same hitbox as the previous fat model. As a result, there's a considerable amount of empty space beneath the blimp which will cause the blimp to react if crossed.
** With the remote-control explosives, only the dynamite and TNT barrel are tangible.
** You can set a pool ball on top of the tip of a cue stick, and set the cue stick off. The pool ball will not react.
* MadeOfIron: The small human character can withstand just about anything aside from being eaten.
** Falling too far will knock him out, though. (Either that or trigger the character's latent narcolepsy, since it's represented as "[[StealthPun falling asleep]]".)
* ManOnFire: Averted. Open flames won't burn anything that isn't specifically designed to react to fire, which is to be expected, since being able to set Mel on fire wouldn't be very family-friendly.
* MST3KMantra: [[invoked]] One of the song lyrics of the track "Steel Drums" suggests that you:
--> "Wipe that [[IncrediblyLamePun puzzled]] look off your face. It's just a game, mon!"
* TheProfessor: Professor [[PunnyName Tim]], a man in his late 20s, early 30s with [[EinsteinHair wild hair]], giant glasses, bushy eyebrows, and slightly unkempt manner of dress. He appears only in ''[[FunWithAcronyms TIM]]2'' and its UpdatedRerelease ''[=TIM3=]''. In subsequent installments, he just becomes "[[SpellMyNameWithAThe The Professor]]", and is downgraded to TheVoice.
* ProjectileToast: The toaster essentially acts as a one-shot, electric-powered springboard; when the bread shoots out, anything resting on the toaster is pushed up. Even bowling balls spring up a few inches. [[FridgeLogic Just what is that bread made of, anyhow?]]
* PublicDomainSoundtrack: ''Music/PicturesAtAnExhibition'' is one of the recurring soundtrack songs.
* RayGun: The Toy Phazer from ''[=TIM2=]'' shoots pulses of energy... which can set things on fire. Pretty dangerous for a toy!
* ReflectingLaser: Strategically-placed compact mirrors can redirect laser beams.
* ReptilesAreAbhorrent: In ''[=TIM2=]'', when Edison Alligator chows down on a mini-human or a mouse, [[EvilLaugh he'll look at the camera and snicker]], implying he only ate them ForTheEvulz.
* RubeGoldbergDevice: the entire idea behind the game.
* SelectiveGravity: Generally speaking, objects can be classified into those that are fixed in place (conveyors, seesaws, etc.) and those that aren't (balls, animals, etc.). The pool balls in particular are exempt from gravity altogether, and air pressure determines which objects fall and which objects float in midair.
* ShoutOut:
** ''The Incredible Machine''
*** [[{{Music/Scorpions}} Puzzle 11: Like A Hurricane]]
*** [[Music/JohnnyCash Puzzle 42: Ring Of Fire]]
*** [[Music/TheDoors Puzzle 83: Light My Fire]]
** ''The Incredible Machine 2''
*** Examples go here.
** ''Return Of The Incredible Machine''
*** Examples go here.
** ''The Incredible Machine: Even More Contraptions''
*** Medium #19: [[Literature/OfMiceAndMen Of Mice And Mel]]
* SpiritualSuccessor: 2006's ''VideoGame/CrazyMachines.''
** A truer successor is 2013's ''Contraption Maker'', as it's made by the original Incredible Machine team.
* StockScream: Mel when he falls off stuff.
* StuffBlowingUp:
** Each game has several kinds of explosives, each of which detonates if exposed to an explosion from another source. You can place explosive objects next to each other for a domino chain effect. All explosives also go off if hit with a bolt from a phazer gun. On top of that, each explosive has one or more unique ways to set it off.
*** Dynamite explodes when you light the fuse.
*** Remote-controlled explosives detonate when you push or pull down a remote button.
*** The nitroglycerin vial explodes if it falls more than a few pixels, is pushed by a physical object or moving air, or comes in contact with fire. Bizarrely, these vials will ''not'' explode if they bounce on springboards.
** While missiles and fireworks are technically explosives, they are far more sturdy than any of the above. The only way to set them off is to light the fuse.
** Blimps can explode from open flame, explosions, and phazer bolts.
* ThemeTuneRap: [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRmioyij-sQ "Hip Hop"]] from The Incredible Machine 3. Rap song? Check. Lyrics about The Incredible Machine? Double check.
* UnitsNotToScale:
** Mel Schlemming is one head taller than a mouse.
*** He's also smaller than a boxing glove. Something which you presumably wear on your hand.
** A blimp is smaller than a house.
** Rocketships, missiles, and fireworks are all approximately the same size.
** And, perhaps most egregiously, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking placing Newton Mouse next to a cat will reveal that he's actually the size of a rat]].
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: Feeding Mel to the Alligator, feeding the cat the mouse, breaking the fish tank.
* VocalDissonance: The mandrill's yawn in ''[=TIM2=]'' is unexpectedly loud and deep.
* TheVoice: The Professor in ''Return'' and ''Even More Contraptions''.
* WideOpenSandbox: The Build Contraptions option.
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