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I would very much like to build a game that is known as 'Unblock' or 'Yellow Out'. It is a puzzle game in which the task is to move a car out of a parking space by moving other cars in certain directions.

These are links where the game can be played:

My questions concerning this game are:

  1. Is this game actually licensed? I see it's available under two names (perhaps even more). Does this mean the game idea can be used freely?

  2. Is there an article about it? I have not been able to find it on Wikipedia. I would like to gather some information about the game so as to understand more details of it.

  3. Is there some database with puzzles available? I can just check the puzzles of existing games, but that's a pain because I have to finish a level to get on to the following one. I was wondering whether there is a general list of puzzles somewhere.

Thanks!

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I had a board game of this called Rush Hour. –  The Communist Duck Jun 30 '11 at 14:20
    
@The Communist Duck: Thanks, that's exactly what I'm talking about indeed. But if it is available as a board game on the market, isn't it a commercial game? –  pimvdb Jun 30 '11 at 14:23
    
It doesn't matter if the game is commercial or not. Non-commercial games are still protected by intellectual property laws, if that's what you're concerned about. –  Josh Petrie Jun 30 '11 at 14:35
    
Most of these games attempt to remove a red piece, not a yellow piece. –  Amplify91 Jun 30 '11 at 18:37
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Is this game actually licensed? I see it's available under two names (perhaps even more). Does this mean the game idea can be used freely?

I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice; you should consult a lawyer for proper legal advice. That said, the idea itself for the game is unlikely to be protected in any capacity as it is very difficult to do so. What you want to avoid is copying the name, artistic assets, and probably the puzzles, of any other instance of this game that is out there.

Is there an article about it? I have not been able to find it on Wikipedia. I would like to gather some information about the game so as to understand more details of it.

I don't think there is a whole lot of complexity behind the type of game. It's a relatively simple block sliding puzzle where the goal is to free some specific block from the play field. You aren't likely to find deep tomes of lore on such a simplistic concept.

Is there some database with puzzles available? I can just check the puzzles of existing games, but that's a pain because I have to finish a level to get on to the following one. I was wondering whether there is a general list of puzzles somewhere.

You could look for solutions or spoiler guides for existing games (for example, all of the solutions for The Heist, an iOS game that has a sliding block puzzle mini-game, are available online. But I wouldn't recommend that because you'd then be copying their puzzles.

Instead you should invent your own. Use a different grid and different block sizes to help provide some uniqueness.

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Thanks very much. I'll try to come up with a replacement for the cars or some other additions. –  pimvdb Jun 30 '11 at 14:38
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I'm not a lawyer so take my legal advice with that in mind, but I did make a version of this game. It's an Android game called Obstruction and I used it as a project to teach myself programming. I did not seek out any kind of licensing because, with so many clones available, it seemed that this wasn't an issue. I realized the puzzle doesn't have to use the usual 6x6 grid, so I made levels that are a little more abstract. Any shape works as long as it's made with right angles and the puzzle is solvable. I hand drew the designs for the 100 levels in my game, so I, personally, would recommend doing the same as opposed to copying other puzzles. Also, Obstruction has 7 different themes, none of which have anything to do with cars. The cars concept is what the very first game of this kind, Rush Hour, used and it's very over done. So my advice is don't worry about being the same, but try to be different.

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