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Chapter I - 2000-2005

The game of Blokus, invented by Bernard Tavitian, hit the market some time around the year 2000, and within a short time, there was an online game at blokus.com.

One day, in 2003 I believe, I was searching the web for "Java Games", and came across another French game site which had the blokus applet available. You could only play second, and against the computer, but I immediately loved it. Shortly, I found blokus.com where you could play against other people using the Java applet. It had 12 tables, numbered 1-12, and there were just a handful of people who visited the site.

It basically worked, but had some serious bugs, and it would even completely hang my PC, such that only the power switch would reboot it.

In my opinion, this version had the best graphics of the lot, with very clearly defined pieces.

It also had the feature that you could rearrange the unplayed pieces if you wanted, for example, to put some aside for play later in reserved places.


Chapter II - 2005-2007

Some time in the second half of 2004, it suddenly shut down, without a word from Sekkoia, the tiny French company which owned the game and ran the site.

In the spring of 2005, the second version came online.

Also written in Java, It looked like this:

At that time the game had sold more sets and become more popular so the number of online players grew rather quickly. There were a few dozen regulars and many more occasional players.

I visited their headquarters on the outskirts of Paris in late summer 2005, meeting both Pierres who made up the "company", and Bernard Tavitian himself.

But this version too had plenty of bugs, too, some of which I helped eliminate, and in 2007 Sekkoia commissioned a game building company to make a new version.


Chapter III - 2007-2009

They used Flash and this is the appearance as it was from July 2007, through 2013.

They added lots of features, like team games, and time limits, and among their other 'achievements' were:

- failure to solve the biggest problem of all (player disconnections)
- fuzzy letters everywhere (anti-aliasing), except in the chat, thanks to me
- a board with 'squares' which aren't square and aren't all the same size
- consumption of huge amounts of CPU time
- and, of course, new bugs

Chapter IV - The End

In early 2009, Sekkoia was bought out by the Mattel Corporation.

Being a kid-oriented toy company they instituted some changes, like restricting chat to over-18's and attempting to censor swear words, but never showing any great interest in the site.

From time to time, the game would be unavailable, sometimes for days at a time, without any explanation or apology.

In March and April of 2012, there was a prolonged outage of about 6 weeks, which prompted lots of protests from players, some of whom harangued the Mattel support team on a daily basis. But their Consumer Affairs people were anything but technical support-oriented, and quickly lost patience with the blokus community. In part because of that, and in part because of the behavior of a few "bad apples" on the site itself, on May 18, 2012, Mattel simply shut the whole thing down.

Or tried to.

They were no better at that than they had been at keeping it up, and with a modification to their HOSTS file, players could still access blokus.fr and the online game for about another year. It's not clear whether Mattel was even aware of that.

Finally, in May, 2013, the whole thing died completely. Probably some hosting contract ended and wasn't renewed.

Post-mortem

From May 18, 2012 until some time in the summer of 2014, blokus.com displayed an image consisting of text saying, in essence, "Sorry we had to take down the online game, but we'll keep you updated on our progress producing a replacement."

Of course, there never was any replacement.

In summer of 2014, blokus.com started redirecting visitors to a page on the site mattelgames.com which urged you to buy the game (at Walmart, Target, ToysRUs, or Amazon).

But guess what? They forgot about blokus.fr yet again, and for quite some time, the "sorry" message still appeared over there. By November, 2015, it was finally noticed, and changed to a page that simply displays a big Mattel logo, as if showing pride, rather than shame.

The old blokus forum (along with the rest of the site www.refreshed.be) disappeared in early 2015. [ Another broken promise: the "we're sorry" message explicitly stated that the forum would be maintained. ]