Let the blocks fall where they may

by guest columnist Jason C. McLean

They were all locked together, intertwined in ways none of them thought imaginable. Feeling coerced into this position, some wondered to themselves whether or not this was all part of some strategy, some master plan of whose making they were not sure.

They knew, in their confined position, that if enough of their brothers and sisters fell on top of them, it would surely be curtains for all. The same situation has been repeating now for decades. Not to this group specifically, but to tens of millions of their fellow blocks of various shapes.

The oncoming apocalypse, thin and rectangular in appearance

Suddenly, it appeared in the sky. Thin and rectangular in appearance, it was long enough to cover four rows of its fellow blocks in one shot. They all knew what this meant and sure enough, as if guided for a purpose, it fell right beside them. Then, it was blissful oblivion for all with only this sound to signify their demise:

Invented in Russia in 1984, Tetris is one of the most (if not the most) widely known video games in the world today. A version of it is available for every gaming console and has been since gaming consoles started.

Personally, I was introduced to Tetris via the gameboy as, apparently, many others have as well. Now, I play it on my cellphone. It’s really a great way to wait for the bus.

Over the years, developers have tried, in vain, to improve upon the game. Usually, this involves painting some sort of backdrop or attaching characters at the side of the play space that feel pain when the blocks disappear (thanks for the info, Mike). All of this is superfluous, though harmless.

Other times, they try and change the game play itself. If this involves giving other options, like most points or quickest time, it’s fine as long as the original version remains an option. There has even been quite a debate over the introduction of infinite spin into the game which is something I’ve never played with but am not completely opposed to.

If, however, it’s an alternate version completely, say one knockoff I played where there were blocks there to begin with and there was nothing you could do to get rid of them, then it’s time to give up on the knockoff and go get one of the many free (or paid) versions of the real game available.

Tetris is rare in the video game world because no matter what you do, adding to the game doesn’t make it better. No matter how many times you play it, there is always room for improvement in your Tetris skills. Skills, which according to one researcher, actually improve brain power.

If you like this game and want to know more, including the developer’s legal struggles, the possibility of endless play and the reasons why it became so widely available in the first place, there are plenty of links on the game’s Wikipedia page.

If, on the other hand, you just want to play what is still one of the best video games out there, please do so. Chances are it won’t be the first time you do.

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