SpaceChem is now FREE for schools!

We’re giving away free, permanent site licenses of SpaceChem to schools for the next two months, for use in problem solving, programming, chemistry, and engineering courses. If you or any educators you know are interested, please email to sign up!

Visit for more information about the program and how SpaceChem works in the classroom.


  1. Pavke November 28, 2011 11:26 pm

    oh wow! That is awesome news Zach! Really hope this spread around. Are you already affiliated with some schools?

  2. Zach November 29, 2011 4:20 am

    @Pavke: We’ve talked to some teachers who have used it in their classrooms but we’re hoping that this really accelerates it!

  3. Ezra November 30, 2011 12:37 am

    You say, “Many molecules have short blurbs of chemistry trivia associated with them.”

    How can these be accessed within the game?

  4. Ezra November 30, 2011 12:44 am

    I know some middle school students — about 13 years of age — who might get a lot out of the game, but I’m concerned about the violent narration segments later in the game, such as Sikutar’s “Exploding Head Syndrome.” Could you address concerns about the age-appropriateness of the content?

  5. Zach November 30, 2011 4:35 am

    @Ezra: The “trivia” shows up when you hover over pipeline production targets. For instance, nitrogen has the following description:

    “A colorless, inert gas that comprises a majority of the atmosphere on Earth and other Earth-like planets.”

    The level of violence in the story is comparable to what you’d find in a book like Harry Potter, and is only text – no graphic images, no violent gameplay. Here’s what is probably the most violent scene in the story:

    “The ice is breaking.” Marianne’s voice roared over the intercom.
    I skidded into Tim’s office, barely avoiding the edge of the opening door.
    “Everything’s fine. There’s just a minor crack in the ice,” he said, eyes wide.
    “That ice is several hundred meters thick.”
    “Everything’s fine.” His knuckles were white as he gripped the back of his chair.
    A red tentacle flailed outside the window.
    “I know what to do.” He reached into a drawer, pulled out a headset, and strapped it to his head. He dialed into the external speaker system to address what waited outside.
    “Attention. You are trespassing on SpaceChem territory. We will not surrender to hostile action. Turn away now.“
    Another tentacle slipped into view from under the ice.
    “It’s not going to leave. It’s not human,” I said.
    “They covered this in management training.”
    We stared at one another for several moments. He had never been in this situation before.
    A high-pitched noise blasted through his headset. Tim fell to his knees, clawing at the device on his head. He glanced up to me, his eyes wide with panic, and opened his mouth to scream.
    There was a thud against the window as the tentacle slammed against the glass. Thousands of tiny cups clung to the window.
    The shriek rose higher as tears streamed down Tim’s face, until I could no longer hear it. Tim’s head exploded, sending chunks of flesh and blood flying all over the office.
    Marianne screamed.
    I stared out to the tentacle as something wet slid down my neck and landed on my shoulder.
    “Do we have any weapons?” I asked.
    “No. This is a research facility!”
    I picked the piece of Tim off my collar. It was a nostril.
    Marianne paced in front of the door. “We have nothing to defend ourselves. The rocket isn’t fueled. What if our escape pods don’t work? Does it matter? We won’t make it.”
    “The rocket, that’s it.” I pushed past her and ran down the hall.
    Her footsteps echoed as she followed.

    If that’s not acceptable, I can provide you with an alternate story file that removes the particularly violent bits. Just let me know!

  6. Endi December 2, 2011 9:38 am

    there is also a free javascript clone on github called machina. has some bugs and working a bit different but is completely free
    but has no story, no maps, just core gameplay

  7. Fabbe December 14, 2011 3:51 pm

    Exploding Head Syndrome is btw a real syndrome and has nothing to do with violence. Not that uncommon and quite funny name.

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