System's Twilight

An Abstract Fairy Tale

A Macintosh puzzle game
Version 1.1.0 (freeware)

cover image

This game is a story and a puzzle. The story is made up of several parts, not all of which may be obvious. The puzzle is made up of many puzzles, some of which aren't obvious at all.

That's all I'll tell you. The rest you get to figure out yourself. Have fun.

Puzzle-game enthusiasts will notice that this game is in the style of Cliff Johnson's classic puzzle games, 3 in Three and The Fool's Errand. However, be assured that the story and all the puzzles are original. In fact, as far as I know, all twelve kinds of puzzles are original. The interface is a step forward as well, allowing full control over your character's movement and the ability to pick up and carry objects.

It is compatible with System 6.0.7 or System 7, 8, or 9, any 68K Macintosh or PowerMac, and can be played on monochrome, 16-color, or 256-color displays. It requires only 1 meg of free memory. Complete help about the interface is available under the Help/Balloon menu (or, under System 6, the Apple menu.)

Sadly, it does not run on modern Mac OSX. It will work on an older PPC Mac under Classic emulation. Or, try a Mac emulator.

(Note: one user has reported an incompatibility with the "Font Smoothing" option in the Appearance control panel in MacOS 8.6. If you find most of the display text to be distorted and unreadable, try turning that option off.)

System's Twilight is freeware. It used to be shareware, but as of January 2000, it is entirely free. Version 1.1.0 of the game no longer asks for registration codes. If you have an older version, you can print out the code sheet and play the whole game without any payment.

The program is available on all the better Macintosh software archives. On Info-Mac, or any mirror thereof, it is under game/adv/systems-twilight-110.hqx. Here is a link by which you can download it (787K binhexed).

Want a System's Twilight t-shirt? The protagonist is on the front pocket. Your choice of shirt-back designs: a typical Twilight landscape, or a zodiacal arrangement of all the Twilight characters.

My thanks to Playmaker Software for handling the registration for System's Twilight, all the years it was shareware. And, even more, my thanks to everyone who's registered System's Twilight over the years. You folks kept me going.


Bonus Downloads

As a special present for Twilight's fifteenth anniversary (October 8th, 2009), have some memorabilia!

Update, 2017: Here's scans of all of my design notes from back when I was writing the game.


System's Twilight on Modern Machines

I used to recommend running System's Twilight under the Executor Mac emulator. However, that package is defunct.

The Basilisk 2 Mac emulator should work. Problem is, Basilisk requires a copy of MacOS and a Mac ROM to function -- you have to download those separately. I don't have step-by-step instructions for this, I'm afraid.


The one hint

I do not give out puzzle hints, because I hate to spoil other people's fun. Back in the day, you could get help from other players by asking on the comp.sys.mac.games.adventure Usenet group. These days, you just Google.

However, there is one puzzle quite early in the game which has confused so many people that I decided it was unfair. This is the Swamp puzzle with the dwarf dragging a sack. (If you don't know what I mean, you haven't gotten there yet.) This is the one -- and only -- puzzle which I will give a hint on. If you want the solution, here it is.

Please don't write to me and ask for help on the rest of the game. I will refuse.

However, Wei-Hwa Huang has put together a large and detailed hint list. He did it entirely on his own, with no input from me (although I did provide some bibliographical notes for the end.) His web page is no longer available, but you can revisit it on the Wayback Machine: The System's Twilight Hint Guide.


Version history

Version 1.1.0: This version is no longer shareware. The registration code screen has been removed, and the "About" screens indicate that registration is no longer required.

Version 1.0.5: This version is the same as 1.0.4, except that the ordering information has been updated, since the game is now distributed by PlayMaker, Inc. (This is nice for several reasons, notably that they accept 1-800 phone orders and credit card payments. See the ordering info and README file in the game for details.) If you have 1.0.4, you don't need this version; the old ordering information will continue to work too. If you have version 1.0.3 or earlier, you should get this version for the bug fixes listed below.

Version 1.0.4: This version fixes more bugs that were causing crashes on monochrome Macs (that is, Macs without Color QuickDraw.) In particular, the game would crash when you tried to pick up certain objects.

Version 1.0.3: This version fixes an intermittent crash in the orb-room puzzles. It also fixes several bugs that were causing crashes on monochrome Macs (that is, Macs without Color QuickDraw.)

Version 1.0.2: In this version, the shareware messages have been changed to clear up the confusion noted above. (The game has not changed; only the messages have been made clearer.)

This version uses the System 7 file dialogs if they are available. This may or may not resolve a reported problem with Now Menus under System 7.5.

Version 1.0.1: This version fixes a bug that mixed up the color table in certain circumstances. If you found that the game colors were changing randomly, especially when icons were moving around, get this version.

Verion 1.0.0: Initial release -- October 8, 1994.


Last updated August 13, 2017.

Purchase System's Twilight shirts and wall art via Zazzle

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