Around New Year's Eve, Cliff Johnson posted a note on his web site saying that he had tried to get out a playable demo of his upcoming game, but hadn't quite made it. Soon, he said, the teaser/demo would be out soon.
The "upcoming game", of course, is The Fool and his Money -- Johnson's long, long, long-delayed sequel to The Fool's Errand. As in, I pre-ordered the thing in December 2002. If you go to Johnson's pre-order thank-you page, you'll see my name scroll by in the first minute. The original ship date was April Fool's Day, 2003.
That didn't quite happen.
Skip past six years of countdown clocks and disappointment. It was a month ago that Johnson first mentioned the teaser release. A week ago I saw this:
January 26, 2009: This week, I will release a teaser of the game containing the Prologue and eleven puzzles.
And then on Monday:
February 2, 2009: Last week, I almost released a teaser of the game containing the Prologue and eleven puzzles. Today, I’ll be ironing out one last pesky bug and then I’ll be releasing it. Stay tuned.
And, you know, I was with him that far. Month, week, day -- that's a convergent series. If he'd posted at midnight saying "It'll be up in one hour!" I would have stood up and cheered.
February 3, 2009: I have my fingers crossed that the current WIN and MAC versions of the teaser are indeed the final versions. I eagerly await news from my beta-testers. Stay tuned.
(Jmac's comment was on the order of "Oh, so now it's the beta-testers' fault." Frankly that didn't even occur to me. The beta-testers never promised me anything.)
The sad, or perhaps the pitiable or risible part: on Monday, I wrote a blog post saying "The demo is out! Download it now!" Yes, before the fact. Counting my chickens before I'd even seen the egg. I wanted to have the post ready to slap up here at a moment's notice.
Tuesday, I updated the post a little. Today... I wrote this one instead. I can't go that far out on the limb, and then pretend it never happened.
Sorry, Cliff Johnson. I don't hate you. I'm still checking your web site. I want to play your game teaser. Maybe you'll put it up ten minutes after I post this.
But for a week I had hope, and I invested in that hope, just a little -- just enough to write a blog post, just enough to be optimistic and not cynical. Just enough that now I feel like a sucker. My mistake, I know.
(For what it's worth, I can promise that the day a demo -- or the full game -- lands in my hands, I will forget all past disappointments. It's not that I'm a particularly forgiving person. I just have a minuscule attenOO SHINY!)