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The following is by David Brailsford
(The Hope Diamond of Fuck Upped-ness)


Tetris and Game Boy: The Portable Aspects of Tetris

I remember being about seven or eight when I first bought a Game Boy. Tetris came with the unit. I also bought a copy of a game called Dexterity, as at that time I was not a Tetris fanatic. I really don't know what led me into the Tetris addiction but one day, I think it was raining, I found myself playing it for hours and hour on the Nintendo. Well I became hooked. One day I was The Price is Right, and one of the prizes was a Game Boy version of Wordtris. Being a fan of both Tetris and Scrabble I went in search of this game. My first search did not turn up Wordtris, but did turn up another Tetris offspring known as Hatris. Hatris is a fun game (though to this day I still do not know how you get a "double hatris"). I eventually did find Wordtris and was not disappointed except that they put in a feature so it would not except swear words (how about an off/on option on that feature!).

Shortly after Wordtris came out another game came forward claiming to be the successor to Tetris. This game was Tetris 2. Tetris 2 is essentially a hybrid of Tetris and Dr. Mario. There are numerous things I like about Tetris 2 such as its catchy tunes it played while you played, numerous modes such as an arcade mode, a puzzle mode, a two player mode, and a version of the 2 player mode that you could play against one of 3 different AIs. I admit I made the mistake of jumping into his game the first time without reading the manual and got confused about why the pieces were not disappearing.

A little bit longer a wait, but not that much longer, two more Tetris games came out. First Tetris Blast came out and then about two weeks later Tetris Attack. Tetris Blast is a new game. Your blocks no longer would explode unless you used at least a bomb in the sequence. Putting for together made a mega bomb. The game relies on the player's ability to set off chain reactions as well. It has 3 modes, Practice, Marathon, and Fight mode. I really liked fight mode since it pits you against little creatures that created junk blocks and had other interesting powers to make clearing their level. The object was to completely deplete their energy or clear the screen. You could deplete their energy by dropping blocks on them or setting of an explosive by them.

Tetris Attack really has no real link to Tetris other then it is a puzzle game here you destroy blocks to keep them from reaching the top of the screen. Other then that, it is nothing like Tetris which is probably why Alexy Pajitnov's name appears no where in the game or on the box which really annoys me (they take his game's name but don't even say thanks). It does inspire some aspects in future Tetris games, like dropping trash blocks. All in all it was a very well done puzzle game with seven different modes.

Tetris Plus first appeared for Playstation and for awhile came with a Tetris Junior unit as a promotional. This game had a classic Tetris mode (with more then 30 levels of varying speeds) and a new puzzle mode where you try to guide the Professor (hey, doesn't he look a bit like...?) to the bottom of the screen before he gets squished by the spiked ceiling. It sound easy but some junk block configurations can be quite hard to get holes big enough for the Professor to fall through; he needs a width of two to fall through. I also like how this game offers an puzzle editor mode so you can make your own puzzles.

Not long after Tetris Plus, there was another cry for a color unit. Calculators starting with the TI 85 started offering games with speeds and in some cases graphics that exceeded the capabilities. There were numerous versions of Tetris on both the TI and HP Calculators. (These are unofficial, arguably blasphemous versions of Tetris. - Ed.) Z Tetris was a version of Tetris that I prefer to the original version of Tetris as it was easier to move the pieces and combined "A type Tetris" with "B type Tetris" creating endless Tetris games with junk block options. They also included Two player options that allow communication with all other TI calculators that support Z Tetris or 68K Tetris. 68K Tetris added grayscale that made it look graphically comparable to the original Game Boy Tetris with better control of the pieces making higher game levels easier to play. Another advancement came along specifically for the 89/92+ in the from of another clone, called queue, which added further playing element to the game including a mode that added gravity as a gaming element meaning that unattached blocks will fall if they are not connected. This made chain reactions and clearing 5 or more lines in a turn possible.

When the Game Boy Color first came out, a new version of Tetris was not far behind. Known as Tetris DX, this game consists of a greatly improved version of the original (control wise), several new modes and a mode where you could challenge an AI.

Yet another Tetris (this one specifically for the Game Boy Color) came out. However this one was not to be a disappointer. Like Tetris Attack, Magical Tetris has a bunch of cutesy characters that may make you question the seriousness of this as a Tetris game, but trust me this game has some excellent variations on Tetris that I have yet to find anywhere else. The story mode might be a bit corny, but it is fun anyway. Although at the time I am writing this (not far off though) there is not a Tetris for Game Boy Advance, there is one scheduled for release in September. While I personally am looking forward to its release, some people think it will just be another boring remake. I think if they stop using the creativity common in the creation of almost every version of Tetris for the Game Boy thus far, then they may be right. I hope they are wrong though.




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