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Video Game / 3 in Three

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3 in Three is a classic puzzle game for the Apple Macintosh, designed by Cliff Johnson and published by Cinemaware (and by Inline Design after Cinemaware went bankrupt); the protagonist is an instance of the number 3 in a computer. The game starts with the 3 being rounded off from a spreadsheet, just as the computer crashes. As a result, she is sent deep into the innards of the computer, where she has to solve a number of puzzles in order to get it working again, all the while dealing with a plethora of letters, most of whom have never heard of numbers and think that she's a damaged B.

Note: This game is available for public download at the official website. Everything players need to get it running is there, not only on the Macintosh, but on Windows as well.


Tropes featured include:

  • Automatic Level: The last elevator level will solve itself after only a single mouse click. Unfortunately, it's not the single mouse click you think it is...
  • Bystander Syndrome: The 3 doesn't care about the damage caused to the system by the power surge - she just wants to get back to her spreadsheet, and she only fixes the system damage if it's in her way. She even turns down going to stop the misfit vowel characters attacking the word processor, at least at first.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The drone has the objective to delete the rogue 3. At the end of the game, the rogue is deleted.
  • Enter Solution Here: After completing other puzzles, you sometimes get random garbled text or a strange letter. After discovering what they really mean, these are all entered in the metapuzzle, Inside Track.
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  • Faceless Eye: The creature seen in "Mind's Eye"
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress (of the "gravitational cognizance" variety)
  • Inside a Computer System
  • Mistaken Identity: Almost all the letters the 3 meets think she is a broken letter B. When the Letter Legislature is assembled, it's explained that while all characters can roam the system freely, the numbers just never do (no one told them), so it never occurred to them that she could be anything but a letter.
  • One-Letter Name: Most of the characters the 3 encounters are letters, and the main villain is a pi symbol.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: Since the gameplay consists entirely of puzzle-solving, this trope is naturally invoked.
  • Set Piece Puzzle: The gameplay consists of a long sequence of these.
  • Speak Friend and Enter: Required to open the metapuzzle.
  • Talking Typography: Most of the characters.
  • This Cannot Be!: In the picture above.
  • Title Drop: In the picture above.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The website casually reveals the existence of the pi symbol. Thankfully you don't have to see it to get to the download link.
  • Who's on First?: "Dove Owls" combines this trope with Inadvertent Entrance Cue:
    I: Hey, what about I?
    A: What about you?
    [enter U]
    U: Someone call me?
    A: Oh be quiet!
    [enter O]
    O: I didn't say anything.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Needed for puzzles available at the start.
  • You Are Number 6: Or number 3, rather.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The 3 spends most of the game trying to get back to the spreadsheet, (only to discover in the end that she's not happy there any more).
    • She mentioned she wished to go to a nice quarterly report from the start.


Example of: