So you got this for the Game Boy, too, right?

Mistakes were made...

Where were you when you first played Tetris? I can't remember, but I know for certain that it was on my Game Boy and it was on my Game Boy an awful lot. If ever I got bored or frustrated with Super Mario Land, in went Tetris - so long as the batteries still had juice.

Tetris is everywhere, you can't have not played it, so we'll keep this post short and sweet so that we can all get back to playing. Ready?

Satisfying no matter when it comes during gameplay.

Fun Times

Your goal in Tetris is simple. Blocks of various shapes fall down the screen. If you complete a whole line across the screen, the line disappears, you score points, the game continues. You can remove one, two or three lines at a time, but everyone's favourite is grabbing a four line 'tetris', as shown above.

The game will get faster, lines will get harder to complete owing to mistakes and poor decisions, and eventually there will be no more room for pieces to fall. Game Over.

Believe me, I will.

So you try again, because failing at level 1 is pathetic, and you get better and better and better, and you fail and fail and fail, and you restart again and again in an effort to get higher and higher scores. And you will. You'll find yourself in the zone soon enough, and the earlier scores you set will rapidly sink down the top-score board.

I'm just warming up. Honest.

If you're ever bored with 'just making lines', there is an alternative mode where you have a mess of leftover pieces on the screen which you have to clear. You can consider this a kind of practice for tricky situations you may face in the 'main' game type, or you can think of it as an entirely separate kind of game. It doesn't matter, because it's Tetris and it's awesome.


Do yourself a favour: don't play Tetris with any controller with a crappy D-pad, like this Xbox 360 attempt.

Beyond that, what frustrations are there? There are a great many versions of Tetris out there, some official, some unofficial, but many have their own peculiarities that you might not see as 'true Tetris', whatever that may mean to you. Try them out for yourselves.

Oh, and sometimes you'll swear the game is out to get you, refusing to give you the piece you need. My advice? Practice, and adapt. It's not the game, it's just you.

Final Word

Right now, I'm watching Kyle Bosman play Tetris in an attempt to beat Steve Wozniak's score of 546,145, 'despite having never come remotely close'. I can have it on in the background and know what he's going through. I can have it on in the foreground and watch a man progress from dunce to damn good in a matter of hours. It is enjoyable to watch someone play Tetris because Tetris is so enjoyable in the first place.

Tetris is so good. You know it, I know it, we've all played it, we know it belongs on this 1001 list. The music won't leave our heads, the shapes of the pieces will forever be known to us. In fact, Tetris has made such an impression in my brain that I think I've found myself playing it while daydreaming. I'm sure I could play any game in my head, but I play Tetris and I lose. It's common enough to be called the Tetris effect, making Tetris worth studying for many more reasons than you might think.

For all the wonders of what goes on in the brain while gaming, I think it's time to wrap this up and play Tetris again. And lose again. And play again.

Fun Facts

The first version of Tetris was played on a text only screen, so the shapes were made of letters. When lines were completed all they did was fill up the screen, resulting in very short sessions. By deleting completed lines, Tetris could be played for a whole lot longer before getting a Game Over...

Tetris, designed by Alexey Pajitnov, first released in 1984.
Version played: Game Boy, 1989, via emulation and childhood memories.
Probably more, but I know where my Tetris heart lies.