November 5, 2008 - What I've learned from playing Tetris in its various forms over the years: play for too long and there's no escaping it. Once Tetris hooks its line clearing tendrils into your psyche, you just can't stop the block falling action. No matter how hard you try to shut it out. You know a game is addictive when you lay down to go to sleep and can't shake its images from your brain. Even today, after only a few rounds of Tetris, I close my eyes at night and dream of descending blocks, disappearing columns, sweaty palms, and high scores.
Initially, finding a home for the falling tetrominoes is a nice and orderly affair. A leisurely pace lets you carefully fit the pieces together to wipe out lines and rack up points. Soon the speed increases, and the stress begins to set in. Even the most OCD of players will find themselves caring less about where they fling the pieces, as long they can keep the stack from reaching the top.
Getting a "Tetris" - simultaneously clearing four entire rows of blocks in a single move - is a highly satisfying feat. For some, the bright flash and the instantaneous blast of points it provides is reward enough, but getting rid of so many blocks in a single move is the real benefit. They take out nearly a quarter of the screen, giving you more room to maneuver. It's fortunate the developers did not assign personas to the little puzzle pieces. Otherwise, eradicating them would elicit a certain measure of guilt.
Efforts to hybridize the gameplay have been surprisingly successful. Tetris Worlds injected personality and new modes into the formula, while Tetris DS offered some wildly different ways to play the game. Even with fancy changes, none of them completely beat classic Tetris. The lines are calling.
CCC Staff Contributor / Pixel Artist