I feel cheated [Tetris Microcard]

I received my Tetris Microcard yesterday. First impressions - Tetris plays great, and I love the horizontal form factor. That said, I’m very disappointed the second chip was removed from final version of the board. I feel cheated.

I arrived late to the Arduboy scene, first hearing about the device this past summer. Tetris is my favorite game - and I was hooked when I saw the Tetris model preorder was shipping soon (at the time, the site said July or August 2016) - and for only $10 more than Vers. 1, the Microcard was able to play an official Tetris port, and user created games - the choice was simple & I ordered the unit.

And then I waited, and I waited - not as long as most, mind you, but it’s now April. 8 months. 8 months later, and the unit I received is missing a key feature, a feature which forms the basis of Arduboy & it’s community - the second, open chip.

I am most upset about the lack of communication from Kevin & the Arduboy team. Until the Microcard was quietly removed from the Arduboy site, each month the “preorders shipping soon” date was pushed further back. I do not mind delays, but I would have appreciated an email from time to time, with updates regarding the delays.

When I ordered the card, the second chip was a feature:
Oct 2015 post by Kevin: Tetris MicroCard

And continued to be a feature at least as recently as Oct 2016 (when the units were supposed to ship in December):

3 months ago, TeamA.R.G. received a Microcard with the second chip:

Arduboy quietly removed the second chip from the boards. When the preorders were nearly ready to ship, about two weeks ago, the email provided a “friendly reminder,” and stated at the bottom: "As a friendly reminder, the Tetris MicroCard is a dedicated Tetris game. Unlike the Arduboy, it cannot be reprogrammed by users."

How is this a friendly reminder, when I was never notified the unit was redesigned and missing a feature upon which Arduboy was founded? I basically just received a Gameboy with a game super glued into the slot.

The Arduboy team poorly communicated delays (and by poorly, I mean not at all), and quietly removed a key feature from the final product. The team, other customers, and my current disposition, would have benefited from better transparency and regular updates & communications. I’m still interested in a reprogramable Arduboy, but at this point, I have no trust in the team, and am unable to justify another purchase. I hope as the company continues, if they continue, they will better respect their user base and be open with changes or difficulties.

I’m extremely disappointed in the Arduboy team & customer service due to lack of transparency and communication regarding the Tetris Microcard product, and for silently removing the second reprogramable chip from the final release.

  • Joe

I’m not part of the Arduboy company, but I’m glad you’re bringing this to attention. In the past, the system being used to send out e-mails was terrible and most of the time, it did not send out proper notifications. I’ve even seen people get their units before the tracking number e-mail went through. The point that I’m getting at is that if you see that an e-mail did not come through, this may be the reason why. I do know that the Arduboy team was working hard on migrating the entire site and forum to a new network that has better reliability, especially since the person that was maintaining the website kinda vanished behind @bateske’s back.

I do recall it being briefly mentioned on the site that the microcard was losing functionality, but can’t really find the thread it was mentioned in. Even then, I know that’s probably not the only time it was mentioned. Whatever the reason was behind the removal is irrelevant at this point if you’re disappointed. For anyone else wondering, I think I remember some kind of legal issue (from EA’s side) with having potentially different games on an officially-licensed device.

Generally speaking, if someone feels like they didn’t get what they wanted, the Arduboy team has been very good about refunds and figuring out how to move forward to make someone happy. I know there has been a lack of communication in the past because of some of the issues that I mentioned earlier, but I’m just giving you my 2 cents from an outsider’s perspective.

CC @Celinebins, @bateske

Thanks for your input. I also recall a thread where Kevin mentioned the first run in China had faulty devices, and they were working on fixing the issue, but I haven’t been able to find it again.

The last update I found, regarding features, is the Oct 26 update I have above.

I don’t think the lack of updates are due to missing emails. Over the past 8/9 months, I didn’t receive an update (until the units were ready to ship), and I only found 2 shipping updates in the community.

I understand delays and changes, but I find the lack of clear communication incredibly irritating.

Hello. I have created an account (I am a customer) because this issue has bothered me so much. 14 months after paying and they are finally shipping but still slipped dates on the last “reminder” email. To be honest, I wasn’t going to register and post here until my order had left out of of Arduboy ownership.

Call me paranoid, but given the searches I have done, some of the contradictory comments made about the Tetris microcard have been archived from searches. I believe. Is because I was following and never got responses to the email I sent asking for an update. My shipping address for my original Arduboy was changed (by me) after I wrote to Kevin asking how to do so. The change never took effect and had attempted delivery for some two months (yes really) at my local post office (despite paying for the official mail redirection service my country offers, it doesn’t not work with “packages”). All because Arduboy didn’t update my address when I told them I moved during another exceptionally long development period.

Seriously not impressed. I don’t want a refund, I want what I agreed to purchase. My feeling is that it was faster/cheaper/easier to release a single flash Tetris unit than continue with the switchable version.

Thanks Mignone for starting this thread (until it is closed or “archived”). The link to the post with the photo of the Tetris unit, box and confirmed switching is here:


I find it insulting the amount, quality and justification (“reminder” first notification) of communication by this team. I have sworn of Kickstarter and crowd funding in general as it cannot be trusted to provide on time and/or what is expected/agreed.

To everyone who reads this, search archived Reddit articles about playing Tetris on a normal, portrait programable Arduboy or better yet DIY Arduino with a screen.

Edited for spelling only

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Without editing history, I should note that I don’t believe I ever received tracking for my original Arduboy package to chase up where it had been attempted delivery to. It is some effort that after eight attempted deliveries of the package that my local postal service decided to redirect the attempted delivery to my new address was the only reason my order wasn’t returned to sender or more likely “lost” in the system. All while I didn’t even know/have tracking I could use to find it!

The Tetris on Arduboy is called SPARK Tetris. There was a Reddit thread that I assume was shut down but here is the link to the project.


Long live open source! You can’t stop the signal!

BTW, given the esoteric nature of this device in people willing to put money down months (a year plus) in advance, just how many of these do we think were made and/or sold? With the activity here I cannot imagine that many sold after refunds.

I am not writing this for speculative or profiteering reasons. I love Tetris to the point I have a Nintendo Virtual Boy with both V-Tetris and 3-D Tetris, bought new myself in the 90’s (which I still have).

Let’s not forget the interest and buzz that Kevin created by making a business card that plays Tetris (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JeAlyfv9_Ug), in what looks like is own YouTube channel, some three full years ago (February 2014)! If I am not mistaken, he had not asked for permission to licence Tetris from The Tetris Company.

Edit: Incorrect video linked but it looks like it is from the same hardware version of video below where clone unlicenced software is running on prototype hardware.

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Same situation here, and thanks to @dailyskeptic for opening this thread.

@crait: no, there was no communication on this at all, removal of the programmable chip comes totally out of the blue.

Kevin’s remark at the end of the mail is unclear to say the least, as if he wanted to hide the change or make it as few words as possible for the customer not to notice.
This is very bad communication (let’s call a cat a cat) and I hope for the sake of this young company it is the first and the last mistake of this kind.

I’m waiting to receive mine (still curious) but I hope the Tetris experience is really outstanding, at least 25x as good as a $2 chinese clone…

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Actual Arduboy playing (Gameboy-ish?) clone of Tetris from March 2014 but not Kevin’s account:

Was the original video removed/made private when the Tetris deal was signed?

This is devastating news. I was all ready to start programing. I had all my software installed on every of my machines. Links for tutorials and functions list, read extensively on the matter. I was Getting pumped. Now I’m learning no programmable chips. And this change without notice. WTH. I guess this community will be loosing multiple of potential amateur programmers. This is terrible new. I couldn’t care less about the tetris part. It’s cool but it wasn’t the main decision for buying in the first place. Why would anyone play tetris on this when we all have phones that can provide a better tetris experience.

Thanks for nothing Arduboy

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It’s sad to hear about false advertising/missing features/lack of communications.
The Arduboy itself is still a beautiful platform to learn and develop for and we welcome you all.

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Thanks for the link @JayBay, this is the thread I was looking for - confirmation thru January that the system will have 2 chips, and a clear picture of the device with 2 chips. Tetris system! are they still releasing the unit? [Yes]

And to be clear, I’m not seeking a refund. I want the device I paid for: the multi-chip Tetris MicroCard https://imgur.com/a/9Edhr
If I wanted a dedicated Tetris device, there are other options: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B004UQVPVI/ref=mp_s_a_1_28?ie=UTF8&qid=1491220725&sr=8-28&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=tetris
I want an Arduboy, with an open-source option, that also plays an official Tetris.

Last I had heard the device had two chips. I didn’t order one so I didn’t follow it too closely but I’m pretty surprised that feature was removed (especially after preorders were already in). I hope they’re able to find a solution for you! I’ve heard of at least one community member that was trying to create a tetris type clone that would skirt copyright laws for the regular Arduboy.

Hello everyone, I’m really sorry that some people are not totally happy with the product so I want to make a few things clear:

  • If you aren’t 100% satisfied with your purchase contact us here for a full refund
  • We did try to make it have 2 chips, but this was never advertised on the sale page
  • The post about having 2 chips was probably a mistake, I tried to do something and it failed
  • Later on in the post I did confirm that the attempt had failed
  • In the email notification about the product we proactivly notified users and offered a refund at that time

So please understand that in good faith we did try to build this 2 chip solution, one you would have been able to re-program. But we couldn’t do it, and in some ways I feel like we failed you. My electronic engineering and system design skills were not good enough and it sucks to see these negative reviews.

I tried my best and in the end this is what we came up with.

@dailyskeptic It seems like according to your comment there is nothing really I can do. The unit that you saw we sent to another user @JO3RI doesn’t even actually work fully. It can only be reprogrammed. There was a fault in all 1,000 circuit boards we built that would fry one or the other chips.

So again I want to say, we can offer you a refund if you’re unhappy or perhaps if you just really want to reprogram a device we could send you an extra Arduboy. But if just complaining because you are unhappy and if there is nothing that we can do to help then that just really sucks but this forum is not going to be the best place. We look for solutions here.


Kevin, thanks for the reply. I’m not looking for a refund, but I would accept the extra Arduboy to actually be able to participate in the community. While having 2 units is not ideal, I understand you had difficulties putting everything together. My goal with my post here and on Reddit (thank you for reaching out there, too) was not to complain. I want to back and believe in Arduboy, you, your team and the community - and while you have a great idea, awesome product and forum - there’s a definite lack of communication & transparency causing a lack of trust. I was most upset about how everything was communicated (or the lack of communication) and not about the loss of functionality. Sometimes shit doesn’t work - trust me, as a maker, I get that.

Again, I appreciate your response, let me know how to proceed.

Edit: spelling

Is not having 2 chips a condition of it being licensed by the Tetris Company?

I nearly ordered one but I’m glad I didn’t.

Thank you for your response.
And with that we can start to understand how deep the problem went and can have closure.
Getting my hand on a programmable device would be awesome.

PS: My older post(rant) may had went to far, you know spur of the moment of excitement and feeling of dissatisfaction conflict.

It’s Ok! We understand the excitement and emotions are high. It’s been a long process but the important thing to remember is that we are always here to help.

Please use the contact form and reference your order number and we can work with you to get everything resolved. If you don’t know your order number that is ok, we should be able to look you up via your email.


if your going to give up that easy … EDIT if i dont have anything nice to say i wont say it at all

did edison give up just because tesla made a better lightbulb before he did? NO

most of us wouldnt be able to play your game anyway as most of us have the arduboy not microcard

get the real arduboy

You are right emotions got the best of me. I’m looking to get the Arduboy now.

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