A long time ago, there was a game called The Fool’s Errand. It was written by early game designer Cliff Johnson first for the Apple Macintosh.
After reading metaphysical poetry in the daytime, I loved getting on the Mac in the long winter evenings just to play the meta-puzzle game at college. After I graduated, I would continue to play it, often late in the evening after a day of magazine work.
It’s come back now, self-published by the same Mr Johnson after some long postponements, in the form of a sequel called A Fool And His Money.
What’s cool is that the fonts used actually recreate the pixellated New York font used by the game when it first came out, squat and serifed. That means the game, now amped with colour and sound effects, visually remains more or less unchanged. The artwork, reminiscent of fairytale-styled silhouettes of the pixie-hatted Fool and black pine trees against a white and grey background, led me back at lightning speed to a less cluttered time in the gaming world, a world so new it was only a mass of countries and solitary islands, as yet not quite connected at the ocean’s bottom.
Never played a computer game in black and white? This one was chock full of enchanting puzzles, word games, scrolls and treasure maps so charmingly rendered in pixel art that the lack of actual colour didn’t bother me at all. It was, on hindsight, a lot like watching black-and-white television without the experience of Technicolour to spoil the sensation of watching television for the first time.
It’s been so long that I’d forgotten the name of the game. I got it confused with this marvellous tune, which would be cool as background music when you’re playing the fool.