What has seven shapes (or Tetrominos, if you prefer), each consisting of four blocks, falling down a welland disappearing when lines are formed?

Obviously, a great concept for a video game – one of the greatest of all time, but unlike a Pac-Man or a Mario, there doesn’t seem to be much more you can do with it, right?

Well, as it tends to do (for good or ill), the worlds of licensing and pop culture disagree. As such, the phenomenon that is Tetris has exploded into many different facets of the landscape, many in unex- pected and bizarre ways.

For instance, you would think that the only way to play Tetris – a game where blocks literally vanish from existence – would only be achievable in a video game space, right?

That hasn’t stopped several board-game companies from trying to adapt the premise into something a little more tangible. Milton Bradley’s 1989 version (licensed by Nintendo) featured players blindly taking Tetrominos and placing them on a board from the bottom up, passing off unwanted pieces to other players, all in the name of having the fewest open spaces left in the end.

Another version from around the same time by Tomy is based more on claiming territory, and yet another from Radica in 2003 called Tetris Tower 3D uses lights and sounds to create something a little closer to the actual video game yet looks like a hybrid between Tetris and Connect Four. Throw in mini-jigsaw puzzles, a version of Jenga, and other offshoots like Tetris Dual and Tetris Link, and there’s been a surprising amount of variety and life found for Tetris in the physical game space.

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David Oxford David Oxford (113 Posts)

Lover of fine foods and felines, as well as comics, toys, and... oh yeah, video games. David Oxford has written about the latter for years, including for Nintendo Power, Nintendo Force, Mega Visions, and he even wrote the book on Mega Man!