Once and Future Fool

by Jason McIntosh

Related link: http://www.fools-errand.com

Cliff Johnson is making a sequel to his celebrated 1988 puzzle game The Fool's Errand, and has also made that and other classic titles free for download from his website.

The Fool and His Money picks up where the first game left off, rejoining the unflappably sanguine Fool for another puzzle-filled treasure hunt though Johnson's Tarot-inspired, silhouette-rendered landscape. The new game will ship on Oct. 31, for both Mac and Windows. Johnson is accepting pre-orders on his website. (Those who do pre-order get their names embedded in the game itself -- look for mine among them, certainly.)

He has also made the puzzle-stories that made him famous, The Fool's Errand and 3 in Three, free for download, again for both Mac and Windows. Stunningly, both ancient games work fine under Mac OS X (under its Classic emulator). The earlier one lacks sound, but that's still rather impressive forward compatibility for a game designed on a 512K Macintosh.

I will also randomly note that if you like those games (and have a Mac), you may also like Andrew "Zarf" Plotkin's System's Twilight, a freeware puzzle/story of the same style as Johnson's games, but with completely original content and its own play style. (At least one of my puzzle-crafting friends insists it's actually the superior game, since its puzzles tend towards the purely logical, with less reliance on mouse dexterity, knowledge of American English idioms, and other tricks that Johnson's games sometimes like to pull.)

Does it count as paid work training if I write Perl programs to solve 3 in Three puzzles?