Tuesday, February 5, 2008


After over 17 years since its creation, I thought it was time for there to be a proper blog about Hextris and the fun I've had since it started. The whole thing has been quite an enjoyable sideline to my life.

It began as my first trial at Xlib hacking and quickly became a better way to waste time in the computer labs at Carnegie Mellon between netrek tournaments and otherwise avoiding homework. I often joked that I was trying to raise my grade average by lowering everyone else's.

After working my way through a myriad of issues and leaning on my fellow hackers late into the night, I finally launched the first version in the fall of 1990. And then I launched the second version a few hours later and the third the next morning... I was getting lots of feedback.

Given that the internet hadn't really come into place yet, I am surprised at how fast the game spread. I bundled it up into a tarball and launched it into a few gaming newsgroups. It was quickly picked up at Berkley, MIT, and the few other schools that were connected. It was also very popular in many offices throughout Japan.

The popularity in Japan is what led Konami to approach me about licensing the game to create an arcade version they named Hexion. For a college student with mounting loans and a lust for arcade games, this was "totally awesome!" I have only recently been able to actually see the game play, since the cost of shipping me a unit would have wiped out any income I may have made.

Needless to say, that was certainly one highpoint to the whole adventure.

I also worked with one of my friends to create a shareware version of Hextris with the tremendously creative name of MacHextris that we released to the world. It was largely my friend who went through the InsideMac tomes and I am forever grateful. The shareware version led to a few hundred people from all over the world sending in their $5. Given that so few people actually respond to shareware, I am very appreciative of the response.

I created the Applet version under Java 1.0 and then quickly had to rewrite everything when 1.1 came out a few months later. That is pretty much the applet that was on my site until just recently.

I tried to recompile under Java 6 and it seemed like time for a bit of a cleanup. If there's time, however, I think it may be a good idea to launch a Flash version. Someday maybe that Flash stuff will really catch on.



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