Today, let’s talk about Tetris. I spent a few hours this weekend staring blank-eyed at a computer screen, watching Tetris video after Tetris video. Did you know there’s a condition where if you play enough Tetris you start seeing blocks appear in your dreams? Haunting your every move? Popping up in the corner of your eye, daring you to play just one more game? It’s called the Tetris effect. When I woke up this morning, I was treated (by treated I mean TORTURED) by visions of negative-image Tetris blocks and the sound of an ominous announcer booming, “T-SPIN.” T-SPIN. T-SPIN. T-SPIN. T-SPIN.
MAKE IT STOP.
So. Tetris. Who hasn’t played at least one game of Tetris in their lives? If you say that you haven’t then I am going to assume you are lying. Come on, guys, don’t lie to Rinnie.
It was designed by a Russian game designer named Alexey Pajitnov and released on June 6, 1984. That means Tetris is 33 years old. This is just another game that is way older than a lot of us. The name is a combination of the Greek prefix “tetra,” which means “four” because all of the game pieces are made up of four blocks, and the word “tennis,” because…Alexey liked tennis. Even though tennis doesn’t really have anything to do with stacking blocks on top of each other and making lines disappear.
Tetris is everywhere. When I got my very first flip phone in middle school, guess what game was on it? When I played with my dad’s Palm III that he used for work? When my mom was bored and had nothing to do after cooking too much for lunch? Tetris. Tetris. Tetris. It is everywhere, on almost every console and every operating system. This devilish game has even made its way onto graphic calculators and oscilloscopes. It tops a lot of “100 Greatest Video Games of All Time” lists even in the 21st century.
A lot of game journalists credit Nintendo with the popularization of Tetris. In 1989, console and handheld rights for the game were signed over to Nintendo. That led to an agreement where a Tetris game came bundled with every Game Boy. Due to that fateful coupling, Tetris made its way into millions of households.
The really cool thing about Tetris is that it makes your brain more efficient. The more you play Tetris, the better your brain gets. Your critical thinking, language, and reasoning skills show improvement too. Maybe if you decide to become a competitive Tetris gamer, you can tell your mom that playing video games actually is making you smarter! Tetris is so important and so famous that a film is even being made about Tetris: and it’s supposed to be a trilogy! It’s going to be shot this year in China.
Now, let me show you the video that started my weekend-long descent into madness. Halfway into the video, they start the second part of this competition, which is the invisible Tetris stage.
That’s right. Invisible Tetris. Like seriously guys, I can’t even play regular Tetris without falling apart, flapping my arms, and screaming at the screen as blocks fall and fill up the screen. And here are these two geniuses somehow managing to play Tetris where they can’t even see where they’re putting the blocks.
Here’s a video from last year’s 2016 Tetris World Championship. See, I wasn’t joking when I said you could become a professional Tetris player! I don’t know how many hours it would take practicing the game to get to the level that these guys are at, but I bet it’s over 9000.
And here’s one more video!
You can play Tetris Battle on Facebook! It actually trended a few years ago when I was a student. Everyone in all my classes was battling each other and trying to send lines to each other during class. I tried playing, but I stayed at the lowest rank because let me tell you, I suck at Tetris! This mode of Tetris is timed (you get 2 minutes to make lines, which sends them to your opponent to bother them) and competitive–you can’t play by yourself! I think the most lines I ever sent to someone was 3. And somehow, the person in this video sent over 600!
So, how many of you guys have played these different versions of Tetris? Does invisible Tetris sound like a nightmare or a challenge for you? What about trying to send over 100 lines on Tetris Battle? If you’re anything like me, stay away from Tetris! If not, you might just get stuck for hours staring at the ceiling and trying to figure out if you should give up and just stick to easier games.