A deceptively simple freeware game from Silver Spaceship Software
When I was in third grade, I used to amuse myself by drawing, on handouts and homework, little "laser courses." The goal was to get the laser, usually emitted from a turret just off of the upper left hand corner of the page, into a goal which was placed at a random point on the page. The tools I had at my disposal were mirrors which could be placed around the page to deflect the laser.
Yeah, it was dumb; but it was so much more entertaining to my young mind than learning to write in cursive (which is probably the reason that to this day I can only barely write longhand.).
Chromatron is the perfect realization of my daydream. A laser is emitted from a point on the board, and you must guide it to light all of the pinwheels on the board. The author gives you many more tools than I had- In addition to the stock mirrors there are beam splitters, prisms, and an interesting contraptions called the "Quantum Tangler"- however his version is also much harder. While my version had only one color laser, #2 Pencil grey, Chromatron has Red, Green and Blue lasers. You can mix two colors of laser and get Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow, or mix all of the colors together to get a white laser. In order to beat the level, you have to light all of the pinwheels on the board with the proper color- red pinwheels need to be hit with a red laser, and so on- and not with any other colors. (Except for black pinwheels, which cannot be touched by any lasers at all.)
It's such a simple concept, but somehow the author manages to make Chromatron one of the hardest games I've ever played. There are fifty levels, which progressively get harder as you advance. I'm currently on level 31... and have been for a day or two. Like I said, this game is hard. But it's a fun kind of hard- it's frustrating, but not so much that you get angry and stop playing. At least, not for me. Anyway, it beats studying for my Art History final.
Chromatron is availible for free from http://www.silverspaceship.com/