You know less about Tetris than you think
June 12, 2008 10:02 PM   Subscribe

Tetris has changed over the years. The latest game mechanics are well-documented and allow for techniques more complicated than those of us used to earlier iterations could possibly imagine. And of course, you can have it any way you want it. [via]
posted by silby (40 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I can see the Matrix!
posted by Artw at 10:10 PM on June 12, 2008

My introduction to Tetris was the PC game Nyet.

Who remembers Nyet?
posted by alexei at 10:18 PM on June 12, 2008

Bastard Tetris is a pretty amusing variation. For like five minutes or so.
posted by Galvatron at 10:18 PM on June 12, 2008

I remember playing Gameboy Tetris for hours nonstop in one sitting during a road trip as a teen. After I beat the "verus" mode a few times and saw the space shuttle and dancers my brain had some kind of weird switch into something that could be described as quantum consciousness. That or forebrain seizure. To-may-to vs to-mah-to.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:26 PM on June 12, 2008 [4 favorites]

This place need more YTMND links.
posted by GuyZero at 10:31 PM on June 12, 2008

So I downloaded Nyet.

And I remembered my scoreboard name: jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj.

And if you'd played, that would be funny.
posted by alexei at 10:36 PM on June 12, 2008

Human Tetris (previously)
posted by Poolio at 10:45 PM on June 12, 2008

Magic Eye Tetris.
posted by tula at 10:47 PM on June 12, 2008

Tonight I played Tetris DS while listening to a podcast and feeling crappy because of a stomach virus, and beat my high score by almost double.

I've had the Mac Tetris clone Quinn for about as long as I've had a Mac. Frustratingly, I can't beat the high score I set back in 2004.
posted by danb at 10:54 PM on June 12, 2008

They could have stopped developing computer games with Tetris and I'd have been perfectly happy.
posted by fshgrl at 10:57 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

I met Alexey at a Christmas party some years ago, and gave him a small model of the Gyrobifastigium. I suggested that he could make a three dimensional version of Tetris using space filling solids. He seemed intrigued, but sent me an e-mail later to the effect that "Only eggheads like you and me would play it", which I guess was sort of a compliment...
posted by Tube at 11:03 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

I love Tetris and still have an original NES just so I can play the original, and my favorite, version. I thought for sure that it would be one of the first games available for the Wii and I'm very excited to see that its finally coming later this year on WiiWare - and perhaps with support for the Wii Fitness Balance Board!
posted by jeffmik at 11:12 PM on June 12, 2008

My current cellphone has a hold box. It made the game so easy I could literally play until I just got bored and gave up.

One of the biggest problems with tetris for me is that the once you get to the highest levels, you'll have a situation where you don't even physically have time to move the block all the way to one side before it lands. And if that doesn't happen then the game becomes dull.

If you wanted to make a truly hard-core version of tetris, you could set it up so each key on the keyboard moves the block to a specific column, and then one of the keys rotates it into one of the four positions. That way, you would only physically have to press two keys to position it.

If anyone tries that and is successful, I'm filing for a patent (if it's in the next two years, which is the window for filing patents on things that you've published)
posted by delmoi at 11:16 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Good gravy these people are serious about their Tetris.

Well I was going to say that since one of their conditions is that a random generator is used, they would eventually get a run of useless pieces, but apparently they have a special meaning for "Random Generator"
posted by delmoi at 11:22 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's only one kind of Tetris. The pieces "click" down the well, they don't scroll smoothly. You can't rotate pieces through other pieces or the walls or floor, but you can slide for a moment after a soft landing. You can rotate one direction or both directions with one or two buttons, respectively. Pressing down does not immediately drop the piece, rather it accelerates down, but holding the down button down will drop it immediately for a "hard" landing. There are only 4 tetrominos, and none of them are bombs or modifiers.

They can be clones, but they should aggressively mimic the mechanics laid out in the Tetris coin-op software, and/or the mechanics of the original Gameboy Tetris, which was a superb implementation.

Acceptable variants included three-dimensional Tetris with a top-down view of the well, but these variants still follow the mechanics indicated above, with appropriately scaled dimensions and tetrominos. (See: Welltris, blockout, 3Dtris.

Anything else is not only not Tetris, but a crime against humanity. No, really. There are these limitations in the original variants of Tetris for a designed reason. It's to make you think harder about the problems. It's not supposed to be easy. You're not supposed to be "saved" by some funky bonus piece that magically clears away a bunch of rows for you.
posted by loquacious at 11:23 PM on June 12, 2008 [9 favorites]

(if it's in the next two years, which is the window for filing patents on things that you've published)

The clock runs for one year, actually.

Anyhoo, if I ever get sucked into a time warp and find myself in the years 1970-1983, the first thing I'm doing is "inventing" Tetris.

Then, next, MtG.
posted by tachikaze at 11:27 PM on June 12, 2008

Bastard Tetris is a pretty amusing variation. For like five minutes or so.

Ha! I just tried it out, and it is really amusing. Unbelievably infuriating, but only if you take it seriously.

And this post's title is very accurate.
posted by spiderskull at 11:51 PM on June 12, 2008

Oh, and is there something that is the opposite of Bastard Tetris, where it tries to guess the piece you want most?
posted by spiderskull at 11:52 PM on June 12, 2008

Bastard Tetris is a pretty amusing variation. For like five minutes or so.

The fun in Bastard Tetris has nothing to do with the traditional way of playing Tetris and everything to do with figuring out how to trick the game into giving you the pieces you want.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:08 AM on June 13, 2008

Remember WellTris (Tetris on the inner walls of a cube), which used the flags of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union as passwords, and featured screens with happy Soviet citizens enjoying life under Communism?
posted by Phanx at 2:28 AM on June 13, 2008

I'm with loquacious. Variants on Tetris aren't fit to be played. There's too many memories of playing to remotely enjoy it.

For one, the only music I can associate with the game is the Russian music (or maybe it was just classical music with Russian backdrops?) that played with whatever version I had (something for the Mac, at the time). Second, I reference how I'm doing compared to what I remember my high score as. For a while I had 9K something and couldn't beat my dad. Then one day I broke that ceiling, and hard, and there was no question after that who the Tetris champion in the house was.

How could I even play anything else after that?
posted by artifarce at 3:17 AM on June 13, 2008

But yeah--no idea there was a Tetris Company or guidelines.
posted by artifarce at 3:18 AM on June 13, 2008


But seriously, if you ever wanted to play an awesome non-official Tetris, you need Eitris. It's like the evil two-player Tetris where you do mean stuff to your opponent (or yourself, if you screw up). Much eviler than the "garbage" options from N64(?), like switching L-R keys, the "psychedelic" screen with flashing background and trails behind the pieces, or flipping the screen upside down. Ahhh awesomeness.
posted by whatzit at 5:16 AM on June 13, 2008

There are only 4 tetrominos

posted by danb at 6:46 AM on June 13, 2008

Five, actually. But the purist's point is proper.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:00 AM on June 13, 2008

Well, if you want to get technical, there are seven; S and Z aren't the same piece, and neither are J and L.
posted by danb at 7:26 AM on June 13, 2008

After Game Boy Tetris, I'd never really touched another version until I got Tetris DS. Ignoring the "novelty" modes (puzzle, mission, etc.) I was initially pleased to see that good ol' Tetris was same as it ever was, until I realized that, really, it wasn't at all.

The ability to move pieces indefinitely after they're down, so long as you keep moving them without pause, really changes everything. By the time you get past Level 15 or so, you really have no control over the piece before it hits the stack. But you know, even though it's a totally different game than GB Tetris, clearing 200 lines on Marathon starting on Level 20 is a great way to kill ten minutes.

But I really, really, really miss sitting in the backseat on long road trips, my sister and I each with a GB in hand, whipping through Game Type B, Level 9 High 5 as fast as possible, cranking the Russian Dancer/Space Shuttle theme to full blast every time we won (including one memorable occurrence where we were about a quarter second apart and it created this really nauseating phasing effect.)

DOO doo doo DOO doo doo DOO doo/DOO doo doo DOO doo doo DOO doo
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:37 AM on June 13, 2008

Nope, only 5.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:38 AM on June 13, 2008

Oh, snap. I'm a tard. Seven it is.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:39 AM on June 13, 2008

I really admire how people have refined and polished this game. It's a curious sort of evolution, particularly since only 1% of the gaming market could ever appreciate or care about all the detailed tuning they do. But it's quite some artistry.
posted by Nelson at 7:48 AM on June 13, 2008

Tetris DS is cool, but I hate that it plays the music of the old nintendo classics. Give me back my Type A, Type B, or Type C music. Gahh.
posted by reishus at 9:59 AM on June 13, 2008

My favorite (free!) implementation is Tetratris True. It gets all the basics right (no kicking walls, no infinity), and has some crazy variations to play with. Plus: a combo meter, rewarding fast play without the need for a timer.
posted by LogicalDash at 11:39 AM on June 13, 2008

There's one acceptable Tetris variant...A--hole Tetris, which was apparently removed from the web at the creator's request. Not in the least bit fair but very amusing!
posted by Sand at 1:51 PM on June 13, 2008

Err, right, five, err, seven tetrominos. I wasn't bothering to remember to count them while recalling game mechanics.

Really, is it even fair to count the I piece as a piece? If you're doing it right that thing is just gravy. You use it to make a Tetris. What, you didn't keep well open? What happened? *keeps playing Tetris as he's talking, suddenly losing concentration* Damnit, where's the I! Hello? I'm running out of room here! *furiously trying to keep the pattern going, three free lines left, then two, then suddenly an O piece followed by the long missing I piece*

Well, fuck. Nevermind.
posted by loquacious at 3:49 PM on June 13, 2008

I'm sorry to say I've known about all these things before. (Once again, a piece of esoteric knowledge I've come across that could make a great Metafilter thread went ignored until someone beat me to it. Dammit.)

In Japanese arcades (and even in a few American ones that have imported the machine) there is a series of games produced by Akira called Tetris The Grand Master. It could be considered the ultimate Tetris geek-out.

As in normal Tetris, there are mutliple levels. But unlike normal Tetris, the level doesn't go up every ten lines. It goes up every piece drop. It goes up an additional level when a line is made.

There are 1000 levels. The game gets steadily faster through the first 500 of them, though with perhaps a more gradual increase than older Tetris versions. But level 500 is really something special. That's the point at which the game hits "20G", at which time pieces appear on the surface of the bin the moment they are generated. At that point, it becomes a different kind of game. You rely on the NEXT window to tell you which pieces are coming up, and must build the bin in such a way that you can use the half-second grace period before lockdown to get the piece where you need it. You also must rely on the fact that the game lets players "pre-rotate" pieces by holding a rotation button when one's generated.

It also attempts to play fair with the player by making attempts to avoid giving pieces that have been generated within the last four chosen.

While it's definitely an interesting variant (if one has HUGE AMOUNTS OF FREE TIME AND An OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE PERSONALITY), I still prefer Atari arcade Tetris. I like the music.
posted by JHarris at 7:56 PM on June 13, 2008

Cuyo can also be quite satisfying. These screenshots don't really do it justice.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 11:33 AM on June 14, 2008


Shivering Kittens

. . .is better than Tetris.
posted by flotson at 8:50 PM on June 15, 2008

And the ultimate tetris clone would be Heboris Unofficial Expansion, which includes all these modes, including The Grand Master's 20G mode.
posted by squidlarkin at 4:51 AM on June 16, 2008

This site gives me an idea for tiling my bathroom floor...
posted by Eideteker at 5:10 AM on June 16, 2008

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