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Game company's big mistake? Solve this puzzle, get a free iPhone

Imagination Games tells early iLine waiters that they'll get a free iPhone if they solve a Tetris Cube. Never do that when you're dealing with geeks.

Mark Conn (#10) takes a stab at solving the Tetris Cube. Caroline McCarthy/CNET Networks

The hot topic at the front of NYC's biggest iPhone-waiting location right now: whether or not the early "iLiners" will even have to pay for their phones. As I reported earlier, the game company Imagination Games has a bit of a publicity stunt going in the 5th Avenue Apple Store "iLine." Someone claiming to be a company rep handed out "Tetris Cubes" (think Rubiks cube, but Tetris) to the first dozen or so people in line, along with a press release that said anyone who could solve it would get his or her iPhone for free, along with a service package.

It sounds way too good to be true, right? That was the same thought that the line-waiters had when about a half dozen of them managed to solve it.

Two of the early "iLiners," Vincent Nguyen (#8, who blogs at and and Benjamin Sherman, called up Imagination Games to investigate. This morning they were on the phone with the CEO, asking if the deal was legitimate. Apparently, it is. The problem: Imagination Games didn't actually think anyone would solve the puzzle. The company seemed to underestimate the fact that people waiting in the line for a $600 Apple phone might tend to be smart, nerdy, and good at figuring stuff out.

"They legitimately thought that no one would be able to solve it, because it usually takes two months for the average person to solve," Nguyen told me after getting off the phone. The guys in line have apparently been giving the Tetris Cube challenge some press buzz for the zillions of news anchors who have shown up, but who knows if that would make up for the financial and emotional drain of having to buy a dozen iPhones and give them to nerds who had been fully expecting to pay for them.

We'll see if it actually materializes.