The glittery wonder of Flying Colors, now free Blog categorySoftware category

Animated screenshot from Flying Colors

Art software doesn’t come more distinctive than Flying Colors, a 1993 program by Magic Mouse Productions with musical flourishes and a pastel shimmer. (I used Flying Colors to make the wizard picture above, which made the rounds on Tumblr two years ago.)

In a bittersweet piece of news, to commemorate the death of friend Jack MacFarland, Magic Mouse released Flying Colors for free through their website with add-on graphics packs available for purchase. It should run on current versions of Windows.

Flying Colors owes so much of its appeal to its rich graphics library, created by Mark J. Ferrari, the same artist behind the breathtaking artwork in the planner program Seize the Day. Like in Seize the Day, Ferrari’s art in Flying Colors cleverly uses color cycling – creating the illusion of animation by changing the screen’s palette. See the bowl of fire in the wizard picture (???) for an example. Notice how the pixels at the very top of the fire plume turn dark brown rather than disappear.

Although Ferrari is no longer a game artist, he spoke about his career in games on a recent episode of The Life & Times of Video Games, a new podcast by friend of The Obscuritory Richard Moss. Give a listen, grab a copy of Flying Colors, make some wizard art for yourself, and pay a little tribute to Jack MacFarland.

h/t to Andrew from Play Different for the news.


  • zumdar alabaster

    the above link doesnt work, but if you use the wayback machine you can still download it!

    also, i have windows 10 and can’t get the color cycling to work.. im running it on Windows 95 compataibility mode and 256 colors, but they still dont cycle. any body out there have any ideas?

  • Phil Salvador

    I’m replying very late to this, but thank you for the Wayback Machine link! I’ve updated the article.

    I’ve also hear that this version has issues with color cycling. I’ve been able to get color cycling to work on older versions of the program, which is also up on the Internet Archive:

  • Georgia


  • Charlie

    hi! I’m curious, do you know anyone who might have access to the old expansion packs referred on the site? Looking through the user manual. The tropical one looks awesome!

  • Tony Griffin

    Does any version of Flying Colors exist for a more current Mac OS (high sierra and up)? I use the program for my art classes on antique candy-colored macs with OS 9. It’s a great program for art instruction, but these computers are slowly dying, and it would be great if I could put it on new macs.

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