Blackberries and the sudden popularity of Caro
September 21, 2011
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I’ve written before how the popularity of games always surprises me, how I never know in advance if a game I upload will be downloaded a lot, little or not at all. After a certain time the number of downloads usually stays fairly constant. If a game that has been up for years suddenly gets a boost in popularity, there is usually a specific reason, just as now with Thu Nguyen’s Caro.
Caro is the common name in Vietnam for the game most widely known as Gomoku. The name is probably derived from French carreau, which stands for square, tile, the card suit diamonds, and a fabric pattern similar to plaid. It would be interesting to find out how the game got to Vietnam. It is not played in any of the neighboring countries, and it is played with noughts and crosses on cross-section paper, as in Russia, Poland, Germany, and Slovakia. It may bear a French name, but Gomoku is not very popular in France, as far as it is played it is seen as a variant of Tic-Tac-Toe, which is known as Morpion. Strangely enough, the basic meaning of this word is the same as Mandavoshka.
Caro is thus the natural name for anyone from Vietnam to give to a Gomoku implementation. The two oldest that I know are Thu Nguyen’s already mentioned Caro and Huy Duc Cao’s Carô, both 16-bit Windows games from 1995. Meanwhile there are a lot more, including one for Blackberry. I notice the page of Thu Nguyen’s Caro gets a lot of hits from Blackberries. Obviously people search for it, see the Windows Caro, and check it out. It’s basically the same phenomenon as with Black Box a while back.