Mental Floss

The Quick 10: 10 Variations on Tetris

Stacy Conradt
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Everyone's favorite line-building, time-wasting, procrastination aid video game turns 25 on Saturday. Yep, our friend Tetris is a quarter of a century old. Although technology has certainly advanced in 25 years, gameplay really hasn't changed much at all. And why should it? The beauty is in its simplicity. But that's not to say that marketers haven't tried to change the game "“ below, you'll find 10 variations on Tetris that have entered the market over the years. But you'll notice it's the original that still endures.

hatris
hatris /

3. Tetris Elements. Picture the design-a-disaster element from Sim City and there you have it. Five game variations offer five ways to destroy your hard work - "Stratosphere" had meteors, "Earthquake" featured tremors, "Tempest" switched between screens at inopportune times, "Ice" had falling icicles and "Fire" had intense heat that would melt rows.

4. Tetris Plus included a little professor guy that you needed to get to the bottom of the screen. The game starts with pre-placed tetrominoes, so it wasn't as easy as just starting the game and letting him drop. There's a decidedly evil element to this game "“ instead of just hitting the top and losing the game like usual, a loss in this game happened when the professor's skull came into contact with the metal spikes at the top of the playing field. Whoops.

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well /

7. Tetris Worlds included a backstory about a planet called Hadar 4, objects called Tetrions and little beings called Minos. To rescue the Minos from Hadar 4 as it has become uninhabitable, and to do so, you have to "“ well, play Tetris. Their story is a little more convoluted than that, but that's the drift. The fun part comes in with the variations, including "Sticky Tetris," "Fusion Tetris" and "Hot-Line" Tetris.

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splash /

9. Tetris Party is the newest addition to the Tetris family and is available via WiiWare for the Wii. I had no idea this existed and now I'm pretty sure I have to have it. You can play in several different modes, even using the Balance Board in one of them, which sounds really hard. You can also play co-op "“ working together to clear lines "“ and Stage Racer, in which the player guides a single tetrimino through a narrow maze without touching any walls.

10. Tetris 1-D. This isn't an official Tetris game, but I kind of got a kick out of it. Check it out for yourself.

Has anyone played any of these? Or do you have fond memories of playing Tetris for days on end? Share in the comments! I can tell you that my cell phone version of Tetris definitely got me through boring lectures in college on multiple occasions.

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