The Best Version of the Best Game
By Jared Petty
Tetris enchants. It’s a poem in a language only revealed to the human imagination after the dawn of computing, a game that wouldn’t, couldn’t have occured to the imagination until there were glowing screens to model it, CPUs to power it, and buttons to control it.
It began life in the strangest of places: on a cold-war era Soviet clone of an archaic American mainframe, in a research laboratory given over to advancing the practical applications of computing, an ambition both subverted and accidentally furthered by creators experimenting with the joyful possibilities such devices enabled: a settling not unlike that which birthed Spacewar! in 1962 Massachusetts. Tetris began life without the benefit of a bitmap field, birthed in monochrome character graphics, and for years locked behind the wall of the U.S.S.R.’s legendary bureaucracy.
That changed when Spectrum Holobyte, Nintendo, Bullet-Proof Software, Tengen, and others obtained (or thought they obtained) various rights to reproduce the game in capitalist markets, a riveting and bizarre story better told in detail elsewhere. Tetris was spectacularly successful on PCs and consoles alike throughout much of the world, earning a place of distinction of the Game Boy’s American pack-in and as a Microsoft Windows 3 staple.
It’s the game you’ve played, your kids have played, and your grandma's played. Instantly comprehensible, infinitely replayable, it’s been iterated on in so many ways that simply tracking ports, sequels, and variants is dissertation-level stuff. It’s been played on the sides of office buildings, crammed into electronic keychains, and optioned for a feature film. Almost four decades after its birth, Tetris remains compelling.
Tetris Effect is arguably Tetris’ ultimate iteration… it’s without question the most overtly beautiful and artistic take on the game. Tetris Effect sometimes feels like it’s playing you. The rhythmic audio and visual triggers are so finely timed and integral to the gameplay that there’s a kind of groovy naturalism at work, a synesthetic, almost symbiotic vibe. Synched to dynamic, interactive music by masters of rhythm game design, gorgeously optimized for virtual reality, and including popular gameplay tweaks implemented after the classic era, it has a definitive air about it. Really, the only place Tetris Effect could be found possibly wanting was in multiplayer, especially in the context of a post-Tetris 99 world. And now, even that small omission has been addressed.
Tetris Effect: Connected takes the already superb Tetris Effect and adds cross-platform multiplayer, including competitive and cooperative modes. Wanna team up? Play Tetris together with two other people in a giant playfield well to overcome an AI-controlled enemy. It’s whipped cream with a cherry piled onto a delicious tower of ice cream scooped onto a giant banana split balanced on a warm chocolate lava cake brownie. It’s a layered, scrumptious cacophony of video game goodness. Also, I’m hungry after writing those sentences, so hungry I’m mixing my metaphors.
The Collector’s Editions come in red, blue, or green Tetrominos representative of Switch, PlayStation, or Xbox versions. Yes, LRG makes Xbox games now. Whatever system you choose, these CEs are something to behold
Limited Run Games:
is a subsidiary of “Freemode”, an operative group comprised of gaming and entertainment companies owned by Embracer. Limited Run Games is the industry leader in the production and distribution of premium physical video games. Limited Run seeks to celebrate the legacy of gaming through its award-winning collector’s editions. Founded in 2015, they have published over 1,000 physical games, exclusive merch, and collectables. Limited Run is the gold standard in bringing digital games to physical form and now re-releasing retro titles on modern platforms via their proprietary Carbon Engine. Visit limitedrungames.com for the latest offerings and to learn more about Carbon Engine development. Follow the brand on your social media platform of choice for all LRG-related updates:@limitedrungames.