(There are no instructions. Have a go! Experiment with it enough and you will surely discover what the puzzle is about.)
This applet was originally written as a demonstration for my old web-site, to help me get work. It did its job! This applet lead onto bits of work writing a bunch of minor games for web-sites around the place, including a mammoth 3D scrolling game for BT Global and three games for Direct Line (including my favourite, Maze-a-Mania).
I omitted the ZX Spectrum loader from the original release of the game because 16-bit IE at that time would only update once a second. Thankfully we've all moved on from there now, so I've been able to put it back in. The graphics were originally created using hand-coded PostScript and a collection of home-grown tools written in Python, Java and C. GhostScript was used for rendering, Toba for Java compilation.
Here are my original notes from 1997:
I wanted to create a game that was playable and enjoyable despite the limitations of the browser environment, and that would be usable on some of the slower machines on the 'net. I believe that a limited environment sparks creativity. If you try to write DOOM as a Java applet, it would take hours to download, and be completely unplayable. So don't try to write DOOM. Try doing something that Java applets can do. Once the limitations are accepted, different possibilities emerge that might never have been considered had the limitations not been there.
How many people remember some of the amazing creativity that occured in the 8-bit home computer revolution, the ZX Spectrums and C64s? There were lots of things you couldn't do with these machines, especially compared to today's machines, but that didn't stop people from finding amazing things they COULD do.
Java applets (and indeed the entire WWW) seem to me to be strangely similar to the home-computer situation of 15 years ago. Once again everyone waits patiently for the data to arrive (although from across the world now instead of from a tape recorder). Everything seems a little dodgy (Will it work this time or won't it?), things often fail, or don't work quite right. But there is a tolerence, and an undertow of enthusiasm to ride over the obstacles.
Who now would wait 5 minutes to load a game off tape, only to have it crash, then rewind and start again? But we would spend several times that downloading the latest buggy version of our favourite browser.
Everything is different -- and yet it is all the same.