A Talk with Threes App Designer Greg Wohlwend (New Disruptors 74)

Greg Wohlwend co-created the popular game Threes. He talks with host Glenn Fleishman about the joy of success, the burden of being independent, and the problems with parasites.

By Glenn Fleishman


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The New Disruptors logoGreg Wohlwend developed the popular game Threes with his colleague Asher Vollmer. Greg is a games illustrator and designer who was part of teams that made Hundreds, Gasketball, Solipskier, and Ridiculous Fishing. Threes is his breakout game — and has inspired lots of admiration, frustration, and imitation. He and I talk in this episode about the joy of success, the burden of being independent, and the problems with parasites.

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Things we mention in this episode:

The Oatmeal's Matthew Inman was nominated for two 2014 Eisner Awards. Greg wrote this post to the hobbyist on the ledge. Greg designed the logo for Indie Game: The Movie; the creators of that film are two-time guests on the show, first in December 2012, and then a year later for a check in.

The money in Minecraft is in YouTube videos of people playing through levels. We ran a story about this in The Magazine. The Scratch programming language leads to the Pencil programming language which led to JavaScript for my older son. CoderDojo uses Scratch to mentor kids in programming.

Max Temkin baited a Los Angeles Times reporter who wrote an uninformed piece about the Threes ripoff 2048. The extended account of Threes development reveals the exhaustive and useful process of iteration, testing, and killing one's darlings.

The Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast had a very nice discussion at the end of an episode where one panelist recommend 2048, and another explained kindly that Threes was the original and the thing to which one graduates as it's tougher. (Listen around minute 37.)

Greg recommends the Indomie brand of ramen.

The New Disruptors is a podcast about people who make art, things, or connections finding new ways to reach an audience and build a community. Glenn Fleishman is the host, and he talks with new guests every week. Find older episodes at the podcast's home.

Published 12:36 pm Thu, May 8, 2014

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About the Author

Glenn is a veteran technology journalist based in Seattle who contributes heavily to Macworld, including as a columnist and co-host of its podcast. He writes about science and technology regularly for Economist, Boing Boing, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, and other publications. He's been blogging since 2001 at his Glog. In October 2012, Glenn won Jeopardy! twice. He tweets — a lot — @glennf.