Like a Fool Returns To His Money

The first time I mentioned the game The Fool and His Money on this site was in 2004. This game is the long-awaited sequel to Cliff Johnson’s classic puzzle game Fool’s Errand. In that article, a review of Everett Kaser’s Sherlock, I optimistically said something about the game being released “later this fall.”

At the time I wrote those lines, I had already paid for the game. Johnson has indicated he will list the names of people who pre-ordered the game in the game itself, in the “Compendium of True Believers.” I bought the game, if I recall correctly, shortly after it was announced in 2003. I am, in fact, True Believer #14.

About every 6 months or so, Johnson would give an update about the game, and (often) push back the release date a bit, often accompanying that with a new target date. The Wikipedia article on the game gives the painful details. After a while, some of us who followed the progress of the game began to suspect that the game’s title, The Fool and His Money was more of a commentary on those of us who bought it, than on the game itself.

In 2006, Johnson pushed the game back again, promising to deliver it by “December 4th”. At this point I wrote to him:

Cliff,

As one of your early true believers, who loves you like Scooby loves Shaggy, I have some unsolicited advice for you. For the love of god, STOP. GIVING. NEW. RELEASE. DATES. Just stop. Cut it out. Cease. Desist. Send out a new newsletter today, retract the December 4th date, and say “It’ll be done when it’s done.”

Good luck,

Peter

[caption id=“attachment_1541” align=“alignnone” width=“150” caption=“It lives!“]It lives![/caption]

Now, 6 years after the project was announced, something has happened that I thought was unlikely: Johnson has released a demo (or, as he calls it showing an incredibly tin ear to his position, a “teaser”) for the game. You can download it. You can play it. It’s available for for both Windows or Macintosh.

The game itself feels like exactly what I was hoping for: more Fool’s Errand. But prettier.

I’ll go into more detail on the actual content of the teaser next week. But its release is worth an article all by itself. The temperature in Hell is dropping, and dropping fast. Grab a copy of the teaser yourself before, like a mirage at the edge of the desert, it vanishes.