The pride of Gameboy: Tetris. The puzzle game that forces you to place blocks in a narrow field trying to complete solid rows. Fill in a row and it disappears. Fail to clear the bricks and they pile up to the top of the screen and you die. The more you play, the faster the pieces move. Hold on tight as we dive straight into the 8-bit madness that is Tetris.
First, let’s get to know the bricks. All are made of 4 square units assembled in different shapes. We have your long piece, your square, your steps, your right hockey stick, your left hockey stick and your S-shape and backwards S-shape. Players may rotate the bricks to help them fit into the tight spaces. You seriously don’t know this game? Let me guess, you were born after 1999.
You may say this isn’t a sport, but you’d be wrong. There are fakes, jukes, strategy and all the athletic movement of a pro game. And if you are playing it correctly, you should probably be sweating pretty hard. The experts know that if you clear four rows at one time you get a wicked bonus. But this is also the trap. Waiting for that long piece may doom you. You’ll be on hold forever, stacking bricks all haphazard like, until you get your lengthy savior. But before you know it, you’ve got pieces up to your eyeballs and your game is over.
My advice is grind it out. Take the points when you can get them and just stay in rhythm. The speed will increase but if you are in the zone, it shouldn’t matter. Take the Tetris (clearing four rows at once) if it presents itself but don’t tie your success to the slam dunk. That’s a rookie mistake. If your thumbs get a cramp then try and play through the pain. This game may be lost, but you will be training your body for a marathon in the future. Look, those blocks aren’t going to sort themselves. In that sense, it’s kinda of like some OCD nightmare but with Tron level animation and graphics.
Tetris launched a million copycats and that speaks to the strength of concept. This is what makes this video game a real sport. It taught a generation about competition, practice, training, and the reward of hard work. If that isn’t true nature of athletics, then I don’t know what is.
Stay tuned for a full breakdown of the best sports video games of all time. Until then, play Angry Birds—just don’t see Angry Birds. And don’t wait forever for that long piece.
Launch that rocket.