TETRIS!!!!! and a first post…

8 December, 2009

TETRIS is perfection. The interface is simple, it doesn’t take long to learn, and it is addicting. Maybe I should have started that off in a different way, not revealing the name and letting you decide which game the description fit…

_______ is perfection. There! Are you excited?

The answer is TETRIS!!!!! (If you answered Diablo II you receive partial credit)

Now you might be talking out loud to your computer like I am inside of the monitor (I am, that green light is there for a reason). You might be saying, “Now, I know that Tetris has had a lot of hype over the past few decades, but come on, its just a trend.” Or you could be saying, “Now, I know that Tetris is perfection, can we get some tacos?” to which I will gladly join (I am not liable for any damages caused to your monitor while you feed me tacos).

To those naysayers out there: I don’t know who you are, but Tetris is not a trend, it is here to stay. Unlike its counter part Rock and Roll (which was just trying to imitate Tetris for years, but then faded away into the abyss of drugs and sex).  In fact Tetris has spawned many silly games that try to add on to its simple perfection. Though these games may have enjoyed the spot light for a while, anyone want to play Hatris…actually, that sounds kind of fun. Anyway, a lot of Tetris games are a bit far out, like Tetrisphere. I never actually played Tetrisphere, but the title just gives me shivers. This video might clear things up  Tetrisphere. Man that looks boring. I think there might ba a planet somewhere where aliens are trying to arrange blocks to reach the precious metals inside. Maybe this should be an inquiry for NASA. What do you say now naysayers?


Let me finish first!


Tetris has many different modes and re-makes, but the one I currently have on all the time is “Tetris DX” for Game Boy Color. Yes, this article is just a shameless plug for Game Boy Color, a proud sponsor that I wish could be supporting me (hint hint). Tetris DX is slightly better than the original Gameboy version, which is just called Tetris. In Tetris DX the pieces move fluidly, the music stinks, and people can play it until they reach an inhumane score. For these reasons I play Tetris DX. However that isn’t why Tetris is perfect.

Simplicity is perfection. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Just overpower them with your voice. Tetris is so simple, there are only 6 pieces that fall endlessly in a limited space. With skill and luck a player can form complete rows to remove pieces that are stacking up on each other. Thus there is always clear danger, as well as an easy way to remove the danger. This is critical in games. If a player does not understand the danger, then how can the player proceed? If a player does not understand how to handle the danger, how can the player proceed? In Tetris it is so simple, a basic understanding that is almost primal.  It is telling a kid not to steal those cookies that are on the counter. They know if they steal the cookie they will be punished, but they try anyway because the benefit of having the cookie outweighs the cost of being punished. That analogy has nothing to do with danger in Tetris. The danger in Tetris is more like: OH NO THERE IS BACON FALLING TO THE GROUND!!!! WHAT DO I DO? In fact, maybe those pieces are strips of bacon and when they disappear someone is eating them. Yeah, some Russian. I hope the bacon analogy hits home with you reader, because it is primal instinct to reach out and grab that bacon before it hits the ground. Thats what Tetris accomplishes with simplicity. Natural reaction, and if you play Tetris and don’t have a natural reaction you haven’t played it enough.

Also, the whole design of Tetris is simple. There is a box which shows the next piece that is coming. This is essential for planning a next action. While you wait for the current piece to fall you can plan for where the next piece should be placed. This is also an essential part of games. There needs to be enough information, and time to process that information, so that a player will know how to proceed once the task at hand is done.

The playing field itself is simple. There are “columns” and “rows” where the player aligns pieces. Once the pieces reach the bottom they stay there until a whole row or column is full. Each intersection of row and column can be designated as a square. These squares are either occupied or empty.  Visual perfection. As the individual pieces fall they form one mass at the bottom.  It doesn’t matter what piece went where, it only matters that there are empty blocks and occupied blocks.  Each are equally important. A sort of balance.

Tetris can last forever, and no one will ever play the same game twice. This is also what makes Tetris perfect. Infinite replay value. There is no plot that repeats when you play it again. There are no moments where you want to skip a cut scene. There is an end screen, but that only lasts a few seconds. Tetris forces the player to experiment with new techniques constantly. There are always similar patterns, but the order in which the pieces drop are never the same. This provides an infinite source of challenges for infinite game time. I’m not exaggerating.

There have been studies on how Tetris helps the brain. One is about how Tetris aids patients in overcoming PTSD. Another study shows increased cognitive skills.

This is why Tetris is perfection.

I could keep writing about the perfection of Tetris, but I think I smell bacon…I mean Tetris pieces…falling my way.


2 Responses to “TETRIS!!!!! and a first post…”

  1. ribs Says:

    Diablo II gets partial credit? What about the expansion, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction?

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