Retro: VC Weekly #188

Welcome to VC Weekly, N-Europe's guide to the wonderful world of Nintendo's download service. Written by Sam C Gittins.

I can't think of anyone who won't have played this latest re-release at some point in their lives but if there's anyone left who hasn't then I feel I must warn you of this titles addictive tendency, if you crave the perfect time-sink then look no further.Anyway enough from me and on with the game!

Available for download this week we have...

  • Tetris

Price: GB �3.60, EU �4
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Bullet-Proof Software
Released: 1990
System: GameBoy

If you were to ask a group of people to name a popular puzzle game more than likely the survey would say 'Tetris' as it is easily the most successful puzzle title ever released thanks to Nintendo including it as a pack-in with their original GameBoy, a move which many may have questioned at the time but regardless it was clearly the right decision. Now some twenty years on Tetris is bigger than its ever been, making an appearance on almost every console or mobile 'gaming' device under the sun in recent years and it's all because of the hugely successful GameBoy version which just happens to be the favourite of the games original creator Alexey Pajitnov which is the best endorsement the game could ever hope for.

For those unaware of this fantastic game the concept involves rotating falling blocks of various shapes � but always made up of four squares � then placing them on a playing field which is ten small squares across plus almost as tall with the goal being to get as many horizontal lines as possible; managing clear many lines in one go will earn you more points, getting four lines at once is called a 'Tetris' which will earn you the most points possible. Of course it sounds simple, it is simple but advancing each level will increase the speed so when you start you'll be slotting in pieces at a leisurely pace perhaps even pressing 'Up' on the d-pad to make the blocks fall faster but towards the later levels you're almost certain to have made a fair few mistakes ending up with blocks nearly filled to the top of the screen with more falling faster than your brain can cope until the inevitable 'Game Over' screen appears.

That's the simple brilliance of Tetris in a nutshell because basic as it may be it's actually frighteningly addictive... no sooner has one game ended then another one begins almost automatically as you try to better your high-score; there are two main game variants which include 'Game A' which is essentially the aforementioned elements with the choice of how fast you want to blocks to fall and 'Game B' which places a load of 'junk' blocks on the screen which you have to clear, then once you've cleared twenty-five rows your score will be counted up based on how many rows you can clear in one go. While the second option may not be as exciting as the main 'endless' game it's still worth investigating if you're short on time, sadly the two-player mode is absent from this version for obvious reasons which is a shame when you consider that there are more modern downloadable versions available for not much more which include full online multiplayer.

While the visuals are very basic indeed they still offer a nice amount of detail on the blocks themselves which makes it easy to distinguish between the different blocks, indeed to a certain extent because I grew up with the original game I even prefer to monochrome to the more modern colour versions as I consider them to have a certain charm to them that holds up well even today which is impressive for a launch-day original GameBoy game. The music of Tetris is perhaps one of the most iconic elements about the title as anyone who has played the original will no doubt have the original instrumental of the Russian folk tune 'Korobeiniki' forever stuck on repeat in their heads not to mention the other excellent renditions of songs by famous composers which you may well recognise.

Quite simply this is one of the best puzzle games ever made so if you've never played it then I'd recommend buying this right now so you can see where it all began, aside from that anyone looking for a nostalgia trip may also be interested in this as the gameplay still holds up after all these years being that the gameplay from every version of it released since is nearly identical. For what it may lack in colour it more than makes up for in style but if you know deep down that you can't deal with the monochrome then just wait for Tetris DX which feature full colour graphics and a handful of extra modes, it will almost certainly see release on the 3DS VC at some point in the future.

Verdict : The original block-buster can still break bricks with the best of them.

That's it for another installment of VC Weekly which will return again soon. So until then, enjoy the rest of the week and Game On!

Sam Gittins
[email protected]

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