Codex Gamicus

At The Carnival is a 1989 computer puzzle game by Cliff Johnson.

It was intended to be the first of a series of games called Puzzle Gallery; however, publisher Miles Computing went out of business before any further games could be made.

At The Carnival is a collection of games similar to some in The Fool's Errand, but with enhanced user interfaces. The endgame puzzle is simpler compared to Fool's Errand and 3 in Three, consisting merely of a crossword puzzle filled by key words found in other solved puzzles.


The game has no overarching story as such; each puzzle shows a small section of Hazard Park, an amusement park with woeful disdain for its customers. Completing the puzzles in a particular section displays the fate of the unfortunate guests at a given ride, attraction, or location for that particular section.

One puzzle in the game has Cliff Johnson describing the discovery of Elmer McCurdy.

Release Information[]

The original version of the game was for Apple Macintosh; a port to MS-DOS was made, but it is not as visually appealing due to the lower resolution available to IBM PC-class machines at the time (320×200 VGA vs. 512×342 minimum on Macintoshes). Cliff Johnson strongly recommends playing the Macintosh version instead of the MS-DOS version, using an emulator such as Executor or Basilisk II if necessary.


Some of the major puzzle types in the games include:

  • Jumbles - mixed-up words to be reordered.
  • Word searches - find words hidden in a grid of letters
  • Cryptograms - decipher encrypted phrases
  • Crosswords - fill answers into boxes based on specified clues. (Not full-sized crossword puzzles.)
  • Word grids - rearrange 9 letters into a grid to make words in all horizontal, vertical, and diagonal directions.
  • Polygons - fit pentomino-like polygons into a grid; letters on the polygons spell out words.
  • Jigsaw puzzles - rearrange cut-up pictures to remake the original
  • Concatenations - several buttons concatenate letters to the current phrase; find the correct order to build a complete phrase
  • Mazes - various types of mazes that must be navigated
  • XOR displays - a set of buttons XORs various shapes together; the right combination of buttons will produce a word

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