It's inevitable: Every time engineers develop a tool to increase business productivity, some wag will find a way to use it to goof off. That rule is now proving true for Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry wireless devices, following the recent release of BerryBlocks, an arcade game from Arilia Wireless.
Unlike the thousands of un-productivity tools available for Palm OS and other handheld organizers, only a handful of games are out there for the newer BlackBerrys. BerryBlocks allows multiplayer, simultaneous play. The game works like the arcade classic Tetris, except that two BlackBerry users can square off against each other, causing blocks to fall down on the opponent's screen, whether he's across the room or across the country.
The game is also a first for Arilia, which usually writes wireless applications for businesses. A company spokeswoman explains that the game began as a just-for-fun project. "Our developers had just been playing around," she says, "Then we all started playing it, and got thoroughly addicted." Since there are so few games for the BlackBerry, the company decided to release it. BerryBlocks has been such a success, the spokeswoman says, that the company now has a Space Invaders-style shooting game in the works.