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The Problem With Tetris

This post is written for a very niche community, so if you have never done a hard drop or don’t know what a T Spin is, then I forgive you for glossing over this post.

Second of all I got a new keyboard. The last one got doused in pepsi for what I think is the third time. Last time I did that I wrote a song about it. Consequently it now thinks everything is a hot key and that W is backspace. So now I find myself having to get used to a new keyboard, which doesn’t feel quite right in comparison to my last one. The backspace isn’t extended like my last one was so I find myself hitting the “” key quite a bit. So this is a writing exercise more than anything.

Tetris: A Brief History

I’m a tetris fiend. I gobble those Tetrimos (the name of the little blocks) for breakfast ever since my brother had one of those 9999 in 1 Brick game hand helds. He wouldn’t let me play it much because I sucked cause I was 4 or 5 at the time. Since that personal DOS attack I have sort of obsessed over the game. I got back into playing it a couple years ago when I found one of the official Tetris games on a friends cellphone. I sat in the corner of the room while everyone else socialized, I was going to give it back when I had lost… I eventually had to top myself out (lose the game) because he had to go and it was a little weird cause we were pretty much the last people there.

The Iterations

I got a DS and after I had gotten through most of the decent games I was left playing Tetris DS, which is pretty much all my DS is used for now. Then they released Tetris party for the DS, and while it had cool multiplayer support, the play area was reduced and the feel of the blocks moving around felt far clunkier than the previous game.
Tetris on my phone is also clunky, but it makes full use of the screen and all that. And to be fair, my phone is not exactly top of the line, it lags just getting around its own OS, it can hardly be expected to shift colours around without giving it a good think first.
I haven’t given it a hard out play on any touch devices, and what I have played I have been pretty ham handed at, so I won’t comment on those ones.
Tetrisfriends.com is where I have been getting most of my tetris jollies from. But since its introduction of 30 second interactive video ads every couple of games I’ve been turned right off it. Seriously. That site is getting worse than all those torrent sites with the warpy shaped girls. Fortunatly multiplayer “arena” only gives you one of those ads when you start up and after that you can go nuts.
Also on the upside is that facebook has a decent working version of the game which is made be the same guys.
“What?” you say, “Aren’t all tetris games made by the same people?” To which I reply, Nay! There are 5 companies responsible for all the digital Tetris products (not including the real world Tetris toys) that Tetris Co. Licences to. EA / EA Mobile, Tetris Online Inc, Nintendo, and Blue Planet Software. Now I don’t know why they decided to let that last company get a hold of their game, because the PC/Mac desktop version stinks way out loud. I mean, look at this intro screen! Maybe in 1991 this would have been acceptable. But it’s not, so it isn’t.

The Crunch

So maybe it’s my design lectures on brand identities that has brought this on, but I need to know that when I open a game that is officially “Tetris” and not one of those cheap clones then I need to know I’ll be getting quality rather than “hopefully a bit better than a cheap clone.”
There seems to be no real standard at which companies need to be held against to create a Tetris game. This may sound ridiculous, it’s just blocks sliding down a screen, how can you screw that up right? Well it’s possible, and it has been done more than once.
A lot of this can be construed as personal opinion. I have a very nuanced taste for Tetris. I just feel like they aren’t being very careful with their product. When it isn’t clunky feeling it’s tacky looking.

Anyway, I hope there are some other enthusiasts out there who can relate to where I’m coming from on this. See you in the arena sometime.

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