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Videogame: Tetris
Come on, where's that I-block...

I am the man who arranges the blocks that descend upon me from up above
They come down and I spin them around, 'til they fit in the ground like hand in glove
Sometimes it seems that to move blocks is fine, and the lines will be formed as they fall
Then I see that I have misjudged it! I should not have nudged it after all
Can I have a long one, please?
Why must these infernal blocks tease?

Contrary to popular belief, the Russians did invade during the Cold War — it just went unnoticed, because they were crafty about it. Their invasion was called Tetris (Russian: "Тетрис").

The concept is exceedingly simple. Tetriminoesnote  (puzzle pieces made from four square blocks) are falling down the screen, and you must arrange them into lines by moving them around your workspace and rotating them. Once you form a line, all blocks in that line vanish, and everything above them falls down one level. You gain more points for making multiple lines at once — in the standard rules, the maximum number of lines that you can make at once is four, a "Tetris".

As you continue to play, the blocks fall faster and faster. If they reach the top of the play area, the game is over.

According to legend, the game's creator, Alexey Pajitnov, nearly didn't complete the game; he was too addicted to playing the prototype. More on the game's long, weird, complicated history can be found on the Analysis page

First released in 1985, Tetris products or other programs implementing the same game rules have appeared on nearly every video game console, computer operating system, graphing calculator, mobile phone, and PDA ever released, as well as the lighting systems for a couple of buildings (its simplicity makes porting it very easy). By far, however, the most famous and popular version was released on the Nintendo Game Boy in 1989, bundled with the system upon its release (and becoming its Killer App at the same time, long before Pokémon was created). The first of that version's three musical options, a Russian folk song called "Korobeiniki" (although the game just referred to it as "Music A"), has become an iconic (and catchy) piece of video game music.

Tetris may well be one of the most beloved video games in the history of the craft, enjoyed by everyone alike. There are few gamers who haven't stared at a screen and muttered, "All I need is one straight line... just one..."

Arika's arcade version of Tetris, called Tetris The Grand Master, features a few deceptively simple changes that transform Tetris from a classic action puzzle game into nothing less than the most cognitively strenuous high-speed twitch game ever devisednote . But, due to the creator's frustration with clones of that game, its future is bleak.

As you've probably noticed, The Advertisement Server is currently promoting a website called Tetris Friends Online Games. No, this is not one of those cheap cash-in websites it generally displays (what's with Yoda wearing makeup, by the way?), it's an actual official Web-based Tetris game site. No fooling!

See also: Tetris Wiki, The Tetris Effect.


Tetris and its derivatives can contain examples of:

  • Allegedly Free Game / Bribing Your Way to Victory: Has become a staple of official Tetris games since around 2007 or so. Tetris Online Japan, Tetris Friends, and Tetris Battle are all "free" but hide piece previews (except for Tetris Friends) and cripple your controls (in all three games) to slow you down; to remove these handicaps require either paying real money or several hundred hours of Forced Level Grinding.
  • The Backwards R: Both Atari arcade and Tengen's NES version spell the title as TETЯIS.
    • The Atari version goes even further by substituting Я for the regular R in-game, for example, showing "GAME OVEЯ" when you lose.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The name comes from the Greek word "tetra," meaning "four." All tetriminos are made of four block, and the line-clearing combo cap is four.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Most games give each piece its own color; these were standardized across games in the 2000s. See Rainbow Motif below.
  • Comeback Mechanic: One item in Tetris Axis switches your playing field with that of the opponent. This is most often used to transfer what should be an inevitable loss to your opponent.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Averted. Early players complained that the computer was cheating and refusing to drop the one piece they needed. Pajitnov added the "Statistics" bars at the side of the screen to prove that the game was fair over the long term. In more recent versions, the Random Generator deals all pieces seven at a time and is guaranteed to generate an equal number of each piece.
    • On the other hand, there's Bastet, a "Bastard Tetris" that does specifically deny you the pieces you want.
    • Up to Eleven: Wesleyan Tetris will give you an absurdly shaped piece, then shuffle the landscape while you're trying to place it. It will lie about the next piece just seldom enough that you can't afford to ignore it. It will place an Invisible Block right where you were about to clear a line, and greet your failure with a Rimshot. Welcome to Tetris Platform Hell.
  • Crossover: With Puyo Puyo for Puyo Puyo Tetris.
  • Difficulty By Acceleration
  • Disney Owns This Trope: The Tetris Company claims trademark on tetrominos themselves (the shapes made with 4 square blocks) when applied to games.
    • While the Korobeiniki song is public domain, the Tetris Company's specific arrangement of the song for the games is trademarked.
  • Dummied Out: The NES version has an unfinished co-op mode.
  • Endless Game: Many Tetris ports come with several modes, one of which (usually "Type A") is this (the others are aversions requiring you to clear a specific number of lines).
  • Fake Difficulty: If you're migrating from a newer version to an older version, the latter becomes a retroactive example. Usually, you have no lock delay, let alone infinite spin, and stiffer controls. See also the aforementioned Bastet.
    • Also, the video iPod version has notoriously touchy controls. The slightest movement as the piece is about to drop will move it out of place (or rotate it, depending on your game settings).
    • Original version was optimized for the Elektronika60 mini, but these were big and expensive, so mostly it was run on smaller and cheaper DVK PCs. These were quite a bit slower, though, and with unpatched E60 binaries the controls were notoriously unresponsive.
  • Fan Remake: Numerous ports of Tetris have been made over the years, including a handful of fan-made ones.
  • Filk Song: Brental Floss' Tetris with lyrics! and Tetris Suicide.
  • Follow the Leader: Tetris has innumerable clones, knockoffs, and imitators.
  • Intermission:
    • The Atari arcade game featured a dancer after clearing every third round. Push the rotation button to give him the hook.
    • In Tengen's version, several dancers can appear based on the number of Triples and Tetrises cleared during a level. They take a bow after either completing the act or if you wish not to see it.
  • Jack of All Stats: The T block. Because it has the most sides out of all the other pieces, and it's the only one able to T-Spin, you can practically put it anywhere on the board, granted there's an open space.
  • Konami Code: In Tengen's NES version, inputting the code while the game is paused replaces your current piece with a straight piece as seen in this video. It only works once per 30-line section.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: The Minos in Tetris Worlds.
  • Multiple Endings: Tetris DX's endings feature attempts at launching something into space. If you play well enough a rocket is launched successfully.
  • Near Victory Fanfare: Tetris DS has its Push Mode based on Donkey Kong. As you come closer to victory, the 25m music gains an upbeat drum beat, adds a melody, and then becomes the hammer theme from the same game. The reverse also occurs if you're on the losing side.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The "Random Generator" used to deal out pieces in later iterations is, in fact, very restrictive and predictable.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Most iterations of the game.
    • Excuse Plot: Tetris Worlds.
      • Tetris Plus involved trying to clear the floor so that a gem-hunting archeologist could get to the exit and treasures at the bottom before the slowly-descending spikes reached his head. That's it.
  • Nostalgia Filter + Complaining about People Not Liking the Show: Some people will look at you funny if you don't think the NES and Game Boy versions are the best Tetris games of all time.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The NES version used Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy", while the Game Boy and most later versions are known for the Russian folk song "Korobeiniki".
  • Public Medium Ignorance: Some people think all versions of Tetris play exactly the same, and as such cry "Fake!" whenever they see a TGM video.
  • Rainbow Motif: The current color set up for the Tetriminoes follows this, except with violet replaced with cyan. For the curious, these are red for Z, orange for L, yellow for O, green for S, cyan for I, blue for J, and purple for T.
  • Rank Inflation: Present in Super Tetris 3, Tetris Worlds, and possibly others.
  • Sampling: The New Tetris for the Nintendo 64 has an impressive amount of this for a cart-based game. The soundtrack samples everything from vocals, to drum breaks, to chords, and even to melodies.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: In most games, the music speeds up if the stack gets too close to the top of the screen.
  • Spell My Name with an S: What mathematicians spell "tetromino" the Tetris Guideline spells "tetrimino".
  • Stalked by the Bell: Fail to complete an objective in Tetris DS's "Mission" mode, and your playfield gets bumped up by four lines of blocks before your next objective is given.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The spinoff BomBliss.
  • The Tetris Effect: The Trope Namer.
  • Updated Re Release: "Tetris & Dr. Mario" for SNES, which featured remixed graphics and sound, plus an exclusive "Mixed Match" mode.
  • Up to Eleven: One of the numerous spinoff games out there is called "Not Tetris", which ramps things up by adding a Physics Engine into the game. Even if you do manage to properly align a Tetrimino, it'll bounce around before it settles.
    • I present to you Hell, which was inspired by the xkcd comic of the same name, and which features a "U" shaped bottom. It is genuinely playable, but enjoy your hell.
      • There's also Ntris, which is a tetris game that can make pieces with any number of squares. It does not seem to be ridiculous until you are faced with six and seven square pieces that just do not quite fit.
    • First-Person Tetris. If you're prone to motion sickness, beware.
    • Full HD Tetris. This is actually the second of three versions of Full HD Tetris made by this person and is by far the most insane - the playfield is so large that even committing suicide takes ages.
  • Video Game 3D Leap: Welltris, also created by Alexey Pajitnov. Notable that it did it without Polygonal Graphics.
    • The slightly obscure Tetrisphere also was this, and is a surprisingly good game, though gameplay admittedly matches up little with conventional Tetris. It's about quickly matching same-shaped pieces to form chains, and some of those pieces are made with 3 blocks instead of 4.
      • The even more obscure Virtual Boy game 3D Tetris, which was also a surprisingly good game. Featured genuinely challenging puzzle modes along with the "normal" play. Blockout by California Dreams was similar.

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alternative title(s): Tetris
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