Tetris TGM: The ‘G’ stands for “gaijin”

Ichiro Mihara, vice president of game developer Arika and designer of Tetris: The Grand Master, the Tetris sub-series infamous for things such as the “Tetris Japan Finals” video and the “Invisible Tetris” video, had this to say on his Twitter account yesterday, presumably as a take-that to the Western TGM community:

It’s been about four years since all the drama that went down involving the cancellation of Tetris: The Grand Master 4 in favor of Giant Tetris and Mihara going on his previous tirade against the Western TGM community for their usage and promotion of clones and indirect promotion of piracy. So why did he suddenly come out with this post, in (attempted) English, no less?

I’m not going to deny that the use of emulators and clones can have an impact on revenue for the games they emulate or simulate. That is the case…in Japan, the only territory where TGM was officially released and where TGM actually exists in a form easily accessible to the public. TGM is only available as an arcade series; the one console game carrying the TGM brand is a spinoff with hardly any of TGM’s signature mechanics available.

Meanwhile, in the United States, and quite possibly the rest of the non-Japanese world, not a single TGM machine is available for play in an arcade. There were a number of arcades carrying TGM, such as Arcade Infinity, SouthTown Arcade, Gamecenter, and Arcade UFO, but all of these arcade have either gone out of business or don’t have the game in working form anymore.

At best, there are TGM enthusiasts who dump hundreds into TGM arcade hardware, all just so they and local friends (and sometimes, friends making long and expensive trips) can play TGM the legitimate way, a way that they hope Mihara will be content with. Several of these owners have attempted to get their hardware into arcades just so the general public can get to play these games, with mixed results. Those who don’t have the knowhow and money needed to find and purchase TGM hardware have to–you guessed it–use emulators and clones, because no convenient legal option exists for them.

If Arika ever puts out a proper port of TGM (somewhat unlikely due to The Tetris Company’s iron grip over games carrying the Tetris name), I will gladly purchase it in order to show my support, even if I don’t have the necessary system to play it.

Stay classy, Mihara.

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