Two Finger Play

iPhone game development, by a college student with a short attention span

Location: Atlanta, GA, United States

I don't wear shoes. If you see a barefoot kid walking around the Tech campus, say hi.


Over, for now

Well — I've received notice from Apple that they've been contacted by The Tetris® Company about Tris. That, I'm afraid, is essentially game over. Do they have a case? No. Not really. I am convinced that if it went to court, the "copyright" claim would get thrown out completely. The trademark, perhaps not — but if I changed the name, to e.g. “Trys”, that would be much harder for them to argue.

The trouble is, I'm a college student, and not an affluent one, and I simply do not have the time, energy, or resources to fight this battle right now. There's a point at which I am willing to give up and be practical, to let the world have its way with that ever-mistreated little ideal of “principle”. Thus, it's with great sadness that I must announce that I'll be pulling Tris from the App Store on Wednesday, August 27th, to remain in Apple's systems but publicly unavailable until I work out a solution to this.

A few last words on the subject, then. I don't believe The Tetris® Company consider themselves to be acting in bad faith. The lack of protection for the idea of a game is troubling, in that it promotes quick ripoffs of a concept that someone, somewhere, spent a lot of effort on. The Tetris® Company are protecting their own interest; without a name that meant something to license, they would have, as I understand it, no significant assets at all.

That said: the approach they're taking seems to me little more than petty bullying. They have little to no legitimate legal claim, and are, presumably, relying on my being a small developer with insufficient resources to defend myself. And — hey ho — it appears to be working. All I can suggest is that, if you have the slightest interest in playing Tris, you download it while you still can.


To clarify: if Apple had not told me they'd “take action” of their own if I didn't resolve the “dispute”, Tris would be staying up. I don't think this will be permanent; when I have the time and can find a good copyright lawyer, I'll be figuring out exactly what my position is and how I can make Tris available again.


To further clarify: several news sites have taken this to mean I consider Apple at fault here. This is completely and totally untrue, and I have received no form of official legal notice, threats, or anything of the sort — indeed, anything other than polite and helpful communication — from them. Apple, as I see it, are making sure they aren't liable for individual developers' mistakes, and they're doing it the right way. Please don't take this up as an “Apple are being evil corporate jerks” story, because they aren't and it isn't.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh's a pity...

is there a chance to get the actual 1.01 version til wednesday?

8/25/08, 9:39 AM  
Blogger mahalis said...

Doesn't seem like it. I could build 1.0.2 and put it up for download here, but that probably violates all kinds of terms and wouldn't work in any case. Sorry.

8/25/08, 10:41 AM  
Blogger Eugeniu said...


Please don't delete it :(:(. I love that app!!

And Tris has existed way longer than the iPhone version of 'Tetris', right?

This reminds me of the feuds between Apple Corps and Apple Computers. Apple Corps was created first, but Apple Computers were allowed to use the name 'Apple,' right?

I really don't see why you can't use Tris anyway. Is it really a trademark of Tetris? I doubt it.

But if you have to, just use 'Trys' or something =/. As long as you keep it up :). (I know, I'm sounding greedy). Or maybe you could use a name like... 'triss' or 'tres', orrrr 'tress'. ^^;

8/25/08, 11:02 AM  
Blogger Sparty said...

But I <3 Tris!


8/25/08, 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a way to fight them, but it would be prohibitive for you (since you couldn't commercialize your app later - which i am quite sure would work - there a people willing to pay for tris)... release the sourcecode! if tris is opensource it basically cant die! :-)

8/25/08, 12:14 PM  
Blogger Petey Esdie said...

The Tetris Company has historically bullied developers over any software that resembles Tetris...yours may be just a naming issue. The same threat was made with Simon Hartel who created "Quinn"...yet after thinking he was going to have to halt development, somehow he found out how to keep distributing the software. His site bears the disclaimer "Neither Quinn nor anything on this site is affiliated with or sponsored by The Tetris Company or part of their Tetris line of products." Perhaps you just need the right disclaimers. Don't give up so quickly. Perhaps you could contact Simon to find out what he did to keep his game from getting taken down.

8/25/08, 12:16 PM  
Blogger mahalis said...

@anonymous — I don't really see how that would fight them; if sued (and if they won) I'd still have to take the source down as well. It'd be in violation of Apple's NDA, too, which is somewhere I definitely don't want to be.

@petey — I've heard of Quinn, and Haertel's disclaimer was what inspired me to add my own. I'm not giving up, exactly, just giving myself more time to figure out what I should be doing.

8/25/08, 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bullying developers? Why do you think this app received a half-million downloads? I'll give you a hint - because it's TETRIS and it's free.

Apple should have never allowed it in the store.

Why don't come up with your own game concept and see if it'll get a half-million downloads.

8/25/08, 12:35 PM  
Blogger Nirav said...

Crap, that sucks. Here's to new games just as good from you in the future!

Also hopefully this will get sorted out so I don't have to be scared of accidentally deleting Tris from my phone.

8/25/08, 12:42 PM  
Blogger mahalis said...

@ anonymous — A million, actually, as of this morning. Thanks for the hint; I believe it's so popular because it's a well-done recreation of a really good game concept. And, similarly, thanks for the advice; I have a variety of entirely original ideas that I've been shuffling around, but I have another clone from the jailbreak days — Minesweeper — that I may well release too.

8/25/08, 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please Noah, rethink about it!!

Give Tris another Name und put it back in the Store!!

Tris has so much potential!! It's would be more handsome with the features you think about it as the Original Tetris in the US Store...

8/25/08, 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just try to sell Tris to the Tetris Company...

8/25/08, 1:12 PM  
Blogger Eugeniu said...

Why would they buy it? The whole point of trying to eliminate Tris is because they have a Tetris game for the iPhone themselves, which, I might add, was created looong after Tris.

8/25/08, 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


yeah, they have a own Tetris developed by EA mobile Games.... but it's only in the US App Store available... till now.

8/25/08, 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So about the open source idea ...
There are enough fans of Tris out there that if you freed the code, you might be able to lure the Tetris company into a game of whack-a-mole. I, a sympathetic developer, compile Tris and upload it to the app store (maybe under a different name). When Apple makes me pull it, the next sympathetic developer does the same. Of course this leaves open the possibility that some greedhead will try to charge money, but it only takes one active free version to keep the greedy in check.

8/25/08, 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Change the name to boogerBlocks and make everything green. How could they fight that?

8/25/08, 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It certainly seems that the only thing they have a claim on is the name; the gameplay has been cloned countless times before. Still, while I love Tetris on a myriad of platforms, I don't think it works that well on the iPhone. Spend your time creating new games instead of fighting over a 20 year old one.

8/25/08, 3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyway you could email the 1.0.2 version? I was really wanting the setting to rotate the piece in opposite direction.

8/25/08, 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a damn shame, Noah (though they have no case, I understand your predicament). You really a great developer; I used Tris ever since the jailbreak days and it's hands down my favorite game on my iPod :]
That said, I hope it will eventually make a glorious return to the App Store (or be it a repo; I'll jailbreak for Tris) and if this game is any indication of your talent, I look forward to the aforementioned Minesweeper and original ideas! Best of luck with this and all your future endeavors!

8/25/08, 4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quinn - a tetris game for the mac ( - had problems with the Tetris Company at some point as well. You may try to contact the developer and hear how he resolved them. I believe it was a matter of not using the word 'tetris'.

8/25/08, 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, you're afraid of the Sovjet Communists? Pussy!

8/25/08, 6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Noah,

I played Tris FAR MORE than anything else on my iTouch when it Tris was available through the Installer app. My kids would catch me playing it all the time!

I tried other similar games when I got my iPhone in July -- none was anywhere as good. I caught wind of the Tris release on the App Store last week, and immediately downloaded it. I think your remarkable download stats are a testament to the quality of your game.

I like your implementation just fine, and hope you can find a way to keep it alive.

Could you re-release it at $0.99 before Wednesday and gather enough coin in the interim to put towards some legal support? It's surely worth getting the community to support ...

Just an idea ..

8/25/08, 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definitely go for the rename. I would assume that's the biggest problem with it. It's an awesome idea and a new twist on an old game. :)

8/25/08, 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this game (tris)! Thank You very much for programming such a nice iPhone game!!
Renaming might be a step in the right direction. Perhaps you can ask Apple if they have an idea?
Thank you very much again for such a genius game!

Best regards from Germany..


8/25/08, 10:20 PM  
Blogger Fernando said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/25/08, 10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Fernando, back off. First of all, don't speak if you don't even know what you're talking about; Tris is, and always has been, free, so he's no trying to make a quick buck. Even had he charged a small sum, it would have been well worth it for the quality of game, had you ever played it as I'm sure you haven't. He's providing a great free product and a million plus people appreciate it. If you don't have anything nice to say, just stay quiet.

8/25/08, 11:03 PM  
Blogger Fernando said...

My bad, I misunderstood. I didn't realize it was free.

8/25/08, 11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was initially upset over this blatant clone. Now knowing that its free, I really don't care.

But, by the way, calling the Tetris Company a bully isn't fair. Tetris' inventor was denied compensation for over a decade, so protection over his rights is justifiably fierce I'd say.

8/26/08, 12:11 AM  
Blogger Sparty said...

Go back to your hole anon, You really have no say in copyrights if you will not even submit a name online

8/26/08, 12:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was one of the better games on the iPhone. I hope you get it back up one day.

8/26/08, 12:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What did you think? You blatantly copy the game Tetris and "cleverly" call it "tris" thinking you're some hot **it developer with creativity coming out your ears? You took a chance to make a quick buck by plagiarizing someone else's property!
Dumb ass.

8/26/08, 1:57 AM  
Blogger Bryan said...

Hey Noah, being a college student myself, I can completely understand the decision you've made. I can't comprehend doing anything else when faced with something like this. However, I think that considering a re-title, and asking the Quinn dev how he has ducked out of the bully's reach unscathed would be a good idea. Heck, you guys could team up and make Quinn for the iPhone!

Thanks for what you've done so far, and good luck for the future! :D

8/26/08, 2:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You people are crazy, who would fight a big company just for the right to distribute an app (which is an obvious clone) for free? Tetris has every right to bully someone who has copyed their software and beat them at distributing it at the same place. Why not put it back on Installer/Cydia where the law has no power (LOL)? Idk. It saves a lot of money, stress, and brain power.

8/26/08, 3:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can understand all points of view here. However, the official Tetris game is not evn available on the UK app store - so The Tetris Company haven't lost my sale... yet.

8/26/08, 4:41 AM  
Blogger Ssargon said...

People who think there should be laws to discourage clones of games dont support the idéa of a free market.

If your game is really good, people will buy it. If its crap you should not have any protection to allow you to sit on your behind for 20 year while noone is allowed to compete with you within the same genre.

Thats why a free market works best. The Tetris corporation is just a bunch of monopolists bullying their way through the creative world of computer games.

What would have happened if the first FPS have been gamemarked (like trademark but for the game idéa)? Is there anyone here who actually think the gaming market would have been better off?

Trademark is okay btw. Its mostly there for making sure the consumer dont get suckered. Althou there are some trademark laws (like the one in Italy where you can get fined for about 17000$ if you buy a copy of a trademarked mechandic) that are totally unjustified as well.

8/26/08, 5:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, and lots of others, would like some of the refinements promised in the newer version (rotation direction!)...

I say just rename it, re-release it, charge 99c (1/10th the cost of EA's slow version) and buy a nice Porsche ;)

...and have plenty left over for future legal defence.

8/26/08, 5:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia Cydia

8/26/08, 7:01 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

That sucks. Tris was the best app to come out of installer, and it was ten times better than the crappy official Tetris.

I'm agree with "change the name and make it 99cent". It's worth it.

8/26/08, 7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best game on the iPhone. I'm glad I got to download it in time.

8/26/08, 8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that you should view this as a learning experience. I know there is a sting to it. You have created a wonderful clone of a game that plays well and interaction is intuitive. Take this to the next level if possible and offer the source code the the Tetris folks for a price. You may not get a lot of cash, but it would be a chunk of change in your pocket for a used car or a couple years of books while you study. Good luck to you and I hope to see a lot more of your stuff in the future. :-)

8/26/08, 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you checked if your college offers free legal services? I just graduated from the University of Illinois and they have a $14 fee included in your tuition that goes toward providing legal services to students. You might check if your college has anything comparable.

8/26/08, 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad to hear about Apple's decision.

If one were to believe the article, Tetris makes no patent claims and goes after any trademark infringement.

Perhaps contacting the company itself would be a wise move, just to clarify the basis for their cease-and-desist letter.

Provided that there is no copyright claim and TTC agrees to withdraw their C&D order if the game's title is changed, you should not have any problem with Apple.

Good luck!

8/26/08, 10:20 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

It is a pity the game is being pulled, but the Tetris Company has every right to have the game removed. You didn't change the game play at all and you barely even changed the name. In other words, it doesn't appear as if you made any effort to even differentiate your game from the classic Tetris, let alone to innovate or make your own game.

I wouldn't be happy in your shoes either, but if the roles were reversed you would be rightfully furious and the community would be up in arms.

8/26/08, 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, they have no legal basis to challenge the "look and feel" of the game.

The name "Tris", however, is very similar to "Tetris" and since he's not distributing some totally unrelated software product under this name, they have the right to claim trademark infringement.

8/26/08, 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom and others, please don't talk about what you're ignorant about. The Tetris Company does *NOT* have "every right" to pull the game. US law has nothing in place that protects game mechanics. The only protection you can get is copyright for artwork or text and a trademark of names and terms. See this copyright office page.

8/26/08, 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Trism? How can you mention one without the other?

8/26/08, 11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sucks. I love Tris.

Good Luck.

8/26/08, 11:54 AM  
Blogger Ssargon said...

Why not call it "sosumi" in praise of Apple practice when it comes to dealing with litigious MFs? ;-)

8/26/08, 12:10 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/26/08, 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but you seem a little confused, Noah. In the same post in which you lament the fate of your app at the hands of the greedy copyright Nazis, you talk about the "troubling" lack of protection for game concepts, because " promotes quick ripoffs of a concept that someone, somewhere, spent a lot of effort on."

Quick ripoffs like ... Tris.

Someday, you will come up with an original idea for a game for which you will have the justifiable right to earn a profit.

When that day comes, I will be interested to hear your take when some college student knocks it off, offers it for nothing and, in essence, steals the bread out of your mouth.

8/26/08, 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Concerning the opensource idea:
A opensource project is not operated by a specific person - so if you upload the source to for example google code, everybody who is interested could imediately fork it and upload the source to another sourcecode hoster.

plus it would be a very good learning project.

the nda issue is valid, but you could give your source to someone who is also under the nda (which is allowed under the nda) and who does not care.

look at the wordpress guys... they released their source, too - and apple dont cares.

if i had the tris sourcecode i wouldn't care about the nda and release it :-)

but you decide. maybe you should blog about the opensource idea and collect some opinions/suggestions

8/26/08, 12:48 PM  
Blogger mahalis said...

@carroll — I would argue quite strongly that Tris is anything but a “quick” ripoff; the current version is the culmination of months of work. I acknowledge that the Tetris concept was brilliant and original at its inception, but it has been twenty years and I consider it completely fair game. I, personally, would be truly flattered if a game idea I came up with was still being imitated — let alone played by any significant number of people — two decades after I thought of it.

Also, I have neither referred to nor implied that The Tetris® Company are either greedy or Nazis; being Jewish, I would consider the latter claim in extremely poor taste, and perhaps the former to some degree as well. ;)

@ anonymous “What did you think?” — Did you notice that Tris is free? If I had been making “a quick buck” off it, I would, I suspect, be in far more trouble.

@ anonymous “Have you checked if your college offers free legal services?” — I haven't, but I doubt it. It's a pretty large school.

@ anonymous “Sad to hear about Apple's decision.” As per my response to Carroll — the situation you propose is unlikely. I know of no innovations The Tetris® Company has made on the original concept in all the years they've owned it.

@ anthony — It's a possibility, but I doubt they want any further dealings with me, and I'm near-certain I want no dealings with them.

8/26/08, 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need to change the game to something that doesn't have "tris" or "tetri." Every time TTC has taken down a clone, it was because of these prefixes/suffixes. Don't mention the trademark anywhere in your game or website (except in your disclaimer), and you should be fine. By using "tris," they can argue that you are confusing the consumer that your product is actually their product.

8/26/08, 1:34 PM  
Blogger Nathan S. Monk said...

Whilst I understand your predicament, put yourself in the shoes of the true inventor of the Tetris game.

8/26/08, 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about coming up with your own idea for a game and not ripping someone else's off? It doesn't matter if you're selling it or giving it away free: you still took the work of someone else without their permission.

8/26/08, 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen the BBC documentary "Tetris: from russia with love"? It's very good, and gives an interesting account of the authors, nintendo, and the russian governments involvement. It's well worth a look.

Thanks for a great game btw... Maybe you should rename it Scrabulous, just for twice the fun?

8/26/08, 2:06 PM  
Blogger xylonic said...

A game cannot be copyrighted (see, only the method of its execution can. Therefore changing the name is all what is necessary, as to avoid trademark infringements.

8/26/08, 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just make your own game. The part of copyright law you are missing is right here.

[i]Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles.

Some material prepared in connection with a game may be subject to copyright if it contains a sufficient amount of literary or pictorial expression. For example, the text matter describing the rules of the game, or the pictorial matter appearing on the gameboard or container, may be registrable.[/i]

8/26/08, 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might also want to look up "trade dress".

8/26/08, 2:40 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Change the name - tell Apple that if they remove the game due to a DMCA complaint, that you will sue them. Universal have just lost a case where they abused DMCA, and I'd be surprised if you couldn't find a lawyer wanting to make a name for themselves.

The only infringement is the Tetris trademark, and similar to Scrabulous you traded on the name similarity. That's where they have a case. Rename it and they have no legal standing as far as I can see.

8/26/08, 2:48 PM  
Blogger mahalis said...

@ anonymous “Just make your own” and “You might also want to look up” — I'm not sure what you're going for here. The first quote seems to refer to product packaging and rule descriptions; the second, to packaging alone. I've never written any form of rules for Tris, and it's "packaged" only inasmuch as the application icon (a relatively generic pattern of colored blocks) and the name (which, as I've acknowledged before, is probably the most infring-ical aspect of the game).

8/26/08, 2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trade dress is what I would guess TTC would claim on the blocks. Similar to how Coca-Cola claims trade dress protection for their hourglass shaped bottle.

The other point was this:

"developing another game based on similar principles."

that isn't the case here. The author has not created a game based on similar principles. He's simply copied Tetris.

8/26/08, 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tris is not the first game beeing pulled fpr legal reasons.

This game

has been removed to. Probably because of problems with

8/26/08, 3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


its a shame that you have to pull it down due to bullying, I do hope it returns. In the meanwhile, I hope you work on another game - if it is as well done as Tris, I'm sure it will be very popular.

8/26/08, 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your troubles -you've developed a great app that I enjoy using - hopefully you'll have some other great ones to develop in the near future - thanks for creating a fun, attractive game!

8/26/08, 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I apologize for any offense at the turn of phrase used to describe your characterization of the forces arrayed against you.

But don't be disingenuous -- you have pretty clearly proclaimed yourself to be the poor underdog college student up against the corporate legal monolith. And why else would they pick on a poor college student except greed?

The guy who invented Tetris spent 11 years getting zip for his work. Being "flattered" was all he got for his brilliance -- the Soviet government and its licensees made off with the gold.

All the courts have left him and his company is the copyright to the Tetris name, and you can't even fully respect that!

You were right when you talked about the troubling lack of protection for game concepts. Tetris is Exhibit A. But by knocking off Tetris, you are contributing to the problem and you can't absolve yourself simply by wringing your hands about it.

In my view, repackaging others' ideas as your own is stealing, and the passage of time doesn't validate that theft so long as the victim is still being harmed. You may think it's "fair game" -- I don't.

That said, the solution is clear and inexpensive: Change the name and your "months" of backbreaking theft will be sanctified as perfectly legal.

8/26/08, 6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's always the jailbroken community *wink* *wink*. Installer is in beta 4 right now and should be released very soon. As for me I'm so glad I was able to snag a download before the cease and desist order...damn shame.

8/26/08, 7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

got your game today, it's awesome..thanks and good luck in the future going again Tetris

8/26/08, 7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In my view, repackaging others' ideas as your own is stealing, and the passage of time doesn't validate that theft so long as the victim is still being harmed. You may think it's "fair game" -- I don't."

Oh please, your going to consider a million-dollar a year game service a VICTIM? I'm sure your the same sort of person who downloaded MP3's on Napster in the late 90's, no complaints about the lack of money going to the multi-million dollar record labels, right?

That's like suing anyone with some sort of menu or start bar in their Operating System because Windows has it in their GUI and it's copyrighted.

Sheer bogus.

8/26/08, 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to see Tris go I was very happy when I came upon it in the App store yestereve and downloaded it immediately. This is really too bad coz I was hoping for updates.

8/26/08, 8:47 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I fail to see what exactly he is stealing.

Anytime you play any sort of game someone came up with the concept for it. Whether its Solitaire on the Computer, Paper football or even Jumping jacks.

If you come up with a concept for a game do you really own anything? Most everyone can come up with a game concept, but VERY few can successfully implement it. Why is it that every OFFICIAL version of the game SUCKS?

Why does Kevtris totally freakin rock? If you think tris is good you obviously should try Kevtris if you have a windows mobile device. Yeah, the creator of Kevtris was also sent a letter, and yet somehow the game is still available years later.

Do you really think that the tetris company should get money every time a new device comes out, and someone wants to create a Tetris game for it?

Would we even be having this discussion if it was breakout or pong?

We're having this discussion being its tetris and its has the amazing simplicity to it that makes it seem that there is more to it than there is.

Its been proven time and time again that the only thing the tetris company owns is the trademark to the name Tetris. That you can't copyright/patent simple game mechanics. You can copyright artwork, sound effects, etc.

So in short he HASN'T STOLEN anything more than any of you steal every day.

8/26/08, 11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My recommendations to avoid being the first person ever successfully bullied by the Tetris Company

Change the name of it to something really silly that has nothing of tetris in it.

Charge $4.99 for it. This isn't to make any money on it , but to reduce its popularity. The goal is to fly under the radar. Maybe even specify that your donating all earning to some child charity. Let the tetris company try to go after that.

Improve some of the game mechanicals that the hardcore users have had issues with such as the control to drop the block. Have a separate way of doing it as an option.

By the time you re-release it the app store will have over 1000 games, and a huge signal to noise problems.

Just remember that its EA that your worried about, and not the Tetris Company. There are tons of other tetris clones that they don't care about. They went after you because EA complained, and quite frankly the name wasn't different enough.

Maybe you can find someone else willing to release the game for you. They can earn the money and absorb the risk that you unwilling to take.

I'd just hate to see it go when it has so much potential. I was going to buy the EA version just so I had two versions of Tetris, but now I can't.

What you created is a beautiful piece of work. Sure its in the spirit of someone else's previous work, but thats how most people start.

8/27/08, 1:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is Capitalism in its nature... People love it, I hate it!

You're fatter and bigger? You win!

For a stupid concept created more than 20 years ago, that 20 million clones exist, and they want to live from it, doing *nothing* but recieve royalties. I do nothing, but recieve money... That's cool.

Change the damn name, and put it there again. Forget the greedy a**holes...

8/27/08, 7:41 AM  
Blogger ouimetnick said...

That is sad. I can't believe EA is odering you to pull it because yours is so much better. I love yours. Please give it a new name like trix or tryx or even trys Check out my blog,
Thank You,
Nick O

8/27/08, 11:30 AM  
Blogger Robbie Williams said...

I only got an iPhone yesterday, and Tris was the first thing I put on it, for reasons of nostalgia. However, today it simply stopped working, so I guess apple have spiked it in some way. How come there are other (paid) Tetris clones available? Have they somehow got past the copyright? Are they paying a licence fee?

8/27/08, 5:47 PM  
Blogger Sebastian said...

i loved it! =(

8/28/08, 4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your hard work an sharing it for free all this time.

8/29/08, 9:47 AM  
Blogger BinaryFX said...

First of all great game.

Second, I understand your situation.

It may not be worth the trouble, but if you do decide to fight it I think you have a chance. I did a search for Tetris in the trademark database. They do not have anything on the actual idea of the game, and the name does not include any variations. I do however think that a name change would go along way. Just my two cents, and I am not a lawyer.

9/2/08, 11:34 PM  
Blogger roguewatch said...

The flick, drag, tap, etc. was yours well before "The Tetris Company" slaps a couple of tweaks and a copyright on it. But, if you can't beat the better game, cry copyright.

9/4/08, 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey i just wanted to say nice work you definetly have a way change the name of the app to something that has nothing to do with tri and maybe not even trys and maybe the design which i dont even think looks close to tetris but this comes to the second thing i wanted to say the way copy rights work is more to protecting the way something looks rather than what it does you can't copyright ideas,concepts or functionality then other way there could be another touch phone like the one in verizon dont remember the name or there couldn't be another hammer you can make a touch phone or a hammer just dont make it look like another one that is already copyrighted. you know is not like fifa is the only soccer game

9/10/08, 1:44 AM  
Blogger Michael Vick said...

Very disappointed to hear about this. Tris is one of my favorite apps, back since before the app store. I downloaded it as soon as it came out in the app store, but with the recent update to 2.1, I lost it. I went to look for it, and found it was no longer in the store. :-( Any chance you'll upload it to Cydia or to Installer? I love this app. Either way, thanks so much for hours of fun.

9/14/08, 3:06 AM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Dude, Tris is like the best game ever. I'm so sorry to hear this. Luckily, I downloaded it already, so hopefully apple's killswitch doesn't get me. Would it help if someone cracked your app (since it was free) to distribute to others with a jailbroken device as a .ipa file? I of course still have my .ipa, but it is not cracked. I'm really sad to hear this again, and to make you feel better, I got a cracked version of that $8 tetris.

9/20/08, 9:24 AM  
Blogger Granger said...

Noah, your little game is my absolute favorite app. Thank you for taking the time to create it. You did a great job. I'm sorry it was removed from the store, I recommended it to so many friends.

EA games might have thrown its weight around on this one, but I know your ingenuity will win out in the long run. I look forward to your future Apps...Good work

9/22/08, 5:51 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This was my favorite game on my iPod Touch. I just bought a new laptop and moved my iTunes over to it, and synced my iPod to it, and everything transferred smoothly -- except my apps. So I went to the App Store to re-download all my apps, including Tris, only to learn just now about this nonsense.

I do hope you can repost it under some other name. In the meantime is there any way to get a copy of it at all? I found Tris on but it looks like an old version and I can't download a ZIP file using my iPod's Safari and don't know how otherwise to get it onto the iPod.

10/14/08, 2:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please, go ahead and put this game on Cydia. There's no way the Tetris company can shut you down there.

10/22/08, 6:15 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Would you be opposed to starting a paypal donation pool for legal fees? Once it gets big enough, you can get a lawyer to do all the work for you, and you don't have to deal with any of it...

11/13/08, 4:38 AM  
Blogger Stefan said...


"In my view, repackaging others' ideas as your own is stealing"
In my my view, I believe Noah was working for everyone when he created Tris. He is essentially the Robin Hood of Tetris® in your view which still makes him the good guy. You cannot accuse him of stealing this idea to propagate himself or to try and rip-off Tetris® when you yourself somehow know about Tris and that's more-than-likely because you're one of more than a million people who enjoy this game so adequately provided by our "hero," Noah. If I am mistaken, and you just came on here to bash Noah, then I hope to meet you one day so I may tell you to your face some things which I believe are best left unsaid in a publicly viewed blog.

Noah is a friend of mine and has been for a long time and I know for a fact that his intentions were honorable and the way that he handled himself (in the face of companies much larger and more intimidating than he) deserves applause. Great work with Tris, Noah, and along with everyone else, we can't wait to see an original of yours hit the market!

12/7/08, 7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really Love Tris. Please update me when this game is Up again.


2/5/09, 3:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you allow me to publish Tris as a cracked ipa on appul*?
And, if not, yould yout put it on Cydia, please?

3/10/09, 2:25 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

"some1" if you would provide an email address, i might be able to help you, but I don't want to talk about it publicly

3/10/09, 7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the app, but others dont have it:P

3/11/09, 12:32 PM  
Blogger mahalis said...

Hey Some1. I've considered posting it on Cydia, but the lack of other falling-block games there (as far as I can tell) seems rather ominous and suggests The Tetris Company are paying attention to that as well. Am I missing something? Are there games out there that suggest doing so wouldn't simply end up a repeat of this incident?

3/11/09, 12:34 PM  
Anonymous John said...

In case you ever pick it up again, I found a bug in my countless hours of playing tris (I still play all the time). I only mention it because it's kinda cool yet worth fixing if you continue with tris.

If you pick up a saved game and it was on a high level and you screw it up, you can just go to the menu, tap new game, wait for the game to lose on it's own without touching anything (this only works if you don't get any points), then it will say enter name, hit submit and it will temporarily freeze, then press the home button and after a few seconds the app will quit. Open it again, press resume game, and you will be where you left off before you screwed up the game in the first place. A free second try. Can be repeated as much as you want.

Hopefully you can pick up this game again!

4/28/09, 12:30 AM  
Blogger Kyle said...

John, it's been 8 months, let it go.

4/29/09, 3:48 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, I can't believe I didn't hear about Tris being forced off the store until today! I also dl'ed the game in the early days of the Appstore, and even before through "Installer". I hate to hear what happened to it. I really hope you'll find the time and support to fight back, I'd totally consider supporting that financially through a donation, as someone else expressed here before.

8/26/09, 10:08 AM  
Blogger mattj7 said...

I really love tris! It's great, and today I experienced severe nostalgia because of it! I was listening to "you know my name" by chris cornel while playing tris, which is something I did a long time of go back when in the old 1.1.x firmware days. I have rekindled my ipod hacking flame and got tris on my jailbroken touch. I just wanted to say, that no matter what legal bullshit happened, you made an exceptional game and distributed it FOR FREE you touched peoples lives and gave them something to do whenever they were bored or watever.

Anyway, I was just wondering about the global scores. I'm really good at tetris, and I got a score of like 16,000 just now. I'd be suprised if thats a record or anything, but I was wondering if there was something I could do to get the global scores working. I'm on firmware 3.0 on a first gen ipod touch, running version 1.0 of tris according to the "about". I can ssh into the directory and am pretty tech savvy. If there's any way I could get it working let me know. my email is

also, I love mines!

10/21/09, 6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The tetris company has no right to pull shit like this on any developer. I would most certainly look for a way to stay out of their reach while still keeping my app on the apple store. There's always a solution, and the tetris company should know it by now as they have lost many a fight like this one.

The EA version of the game sucks monkey balls, to be honest. Oh, and the only time you head about Tetris Company is when they complain about some clone of their idea. But they are commercially dead. They do nothing, create nothing. Simply pitiful.

4/16/10, 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello I am looking for your Tris Games I saw it was removed for the apps store but I would like to know if I can download it for a other way. I had the games in my first iPhone but I lost it and now I can't play to my favorite game. I try the original Tetris but your it lot of better.

8/22/10, 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello I am looking for your Tris Games I saw it was removed for the apps store but I would like to know if I can download it for a other way. I had the games in my first iPhone but I lost it and now I can't play to my favorite game. I try the original Tetris but your it lot of better.

8/22/10, 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello I am looking for your Tris Games. I would like to know if I can download it for a other way. Your Tetris is the best!!! Please... what can I do? I need it!!!
Thank you!!!

12/14/10, 4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My second comment for spin!

8/15/11, 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Chris Johnson said...

Tris is AMAZING, noooo :-(


9/12/11, 8:26 AM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Is Tris still available??


9/12/11, 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Ross said...

I'm not happy about this at all :-(

My Site: Jes Extender

9/28/11, 11:47 AM  
Anonymous John said...

Noooo, Tris was awesome!!

Please bring it back....

My Site: jack3d reviews and jacked 3d

10/10/11, 11:38 AM  

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