Yesterday was a sad day for the tetris community. A popular multiplayer tetris game, Tetrinet, was shutdown by The Tetris Company. Simultaneously the website and game servers were shutdown with little to no warning. The news is still circulating to game operators and players. This shutdown marks the end of a decade of free multiplayer tetris with unique and challenging game modes. Through the years there were various tetrinet tournaments which included some of the best tetris players in the world. It is believed that the latest attempts to shutdown multiplayer tetris clones is because of The Tetris Company’s first game release, Tetris Splash, which is available for download on Xbox Live Arcade (with a cost of $10).
It is unfortunate that the current owners of the tetris license are attempting these intimidation tactics again. In the 90’s they attempted to remove all free copies of tetris from the internet but were faced with the following challeneges. In the US a game can not be copyrighted. Only the name can be trademarked and the music can be copyrighted. This is effect means that the only thing that can be prevented is the use of a name like tetri* and the distribution of a clone of the original tetris music. I for one hope the tetrinet admins fight this shutdown through the use of a new name and stripping the included game music but at this time it looks doubtful. Lack of time and funding will likely spell the permanent demise of what was once regarded as the greatest multiplayer tetris game ever written.