The ISA-Bus

One blog to bind them all.

The Schenk & Horn Tetris games

Nowadays, Lars Schenk and Frank Horn produce a software that creats and prints barcodes ActiveBarcode. Before 2004, they ran a company called ShareDirect which published shareware. In 2002, there was a school shooting in Erfurt with 17 dead. As a reaction, the German parliament decided, two years later, on tougher laws to prevent access of minors to violent video games (don’t you love politicians’ logic?). Every computer game sold in Germany henceforth had to have an official age rating, a costly process, too costly for a small shareware company. ShareDirect closed down, the domains are for sale, currently they redirect to, one of Lars Schenk’s hobbies.

ShareDirect published many games by Digital Nightmares, but also several programs Lars Schenk and Frank Horn wrote themselves. Among these are four Windows Tetris games with 256-color graphics that are interesting because some of them are variants rarely covered by shareware authors.

ColorStar 2000

ColorStar 2000 is the least unique, it is just Columns, which is not exactly rare, still it is only one of two 256-color Columns for Windows 3.1 that I know (The other is Columns Max, by the author and in the style of Bricklayer).

Magic Words

Magic Words is Wordtris, avery rarely implemented variant on any platform. With the same update I uploaded a demo for a game called Wordtriss, but that demo allows only 45 seconds of gameplay, so it hardly counts.

Pogo's Dreams

Pogo’s Dreams is Puyo Puyo, not something you encounter very often either, though there are some Columns clones (like Gemstorm) with a certain Puyo Puyo feel. This is the real thing—without the competitive aspects of course.


But the most interesting and uncommon is WinBlocker. It is based on Quarth, a 1989 Konami arcade machine only ever ported to Japanese platforms. It combined Tetris with shoot ’em ups: You shoot single squares into the dropping U- and L-shaped pieces, they vanish as soon as a square or rectangle is full. Apart from this unique gameplay Quarth is interesting for having a certain steampunk feel before the word was even invented. The export version, Block Hole, was devoid of the steampunk elements. Quarth never got particularly well known outside Japan.

These games do not need any DLLs. They have two nag screens when you start them and one when you exit. According to the help files there are also some ads during gameplay, but I never encountered them. I uploaded them in the course of a larger update with twelve new Windows 3.1 Tetris games. There are now 40 in total, and I’ve uploaded nearly everything I know about and have on my hard drive.


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