Genre: Puzzle
Year: 2006
Developed by: Nintendo SPD
Published by: Nintendo
Platforms: DS
Feeling Like: Tetris’d

Tetris is perfect. It’s a miracle. Much like Chess, Go, or Sudoku, it taps into something primally enjoyable. We’re designed to recognize patterns and colors and we gain satisfaction when things fit. Tetris is an immediate dopamine hit, it’s superbly easy to understand and control. There’s only a few shapes, they fall, you spin them, try to form a complete line which erases the line. You gain more points the more lines you erase in one go. If any of your pieces hit the top of the screen, you fail. If you’re reading this blog, there’s a very good chance you already know this.

Every iteration I’ve played has been amazing; Tetris Effect is sublime, but I played it too late for it to be on the 500. Regardless of the same core mechanics, slapping a new coat of paint on a winner still yields a winner, and is still worth playing. Tetris DS was specifically special for one very good reason – multiplayer.

There’s a reason they advertised on the box “Nintendo Wi-Fi connection”. The absolute chaotic joy of playing this with seven other players was a rare treat indeed. I don’t think it’s possible to stay quiet during the competition. You’re constantly trying to focus on your own lines, attacking others by getting Tetris-es, hollering when you’re under attack, all while being elbow to elbow with some of your best friends. Since you only needed one copy of Tetris DS collectively, it was very much a “bring your DS over” kind of event.

One evening we were exceedingly early to a movie. Circumstances meant that we had advanced notice of the advanced drop-off, so we all brought our DS’es. The rest of the sparsely populated theatre didn’t mind our sporadic shouts and we even noticed a random patron had joined in. That kind of spontaneous, temporary friendship could only be facilitated through something like Tetris DS (or Mario Kart DS).

A large group gathering was difficult to organize, even in our 20s, so most of the battles I participated in were 1 on 1 with Matthew. Usually during a waiting period together, like when we’d ship off to Vancouver for a Canucks game or a random night of drinking with friends. Or both. BC Ferries during hockey season are often delayed, but as long as we had our handy DS and a nearby outlet, we were immune to inconvenience.

Not much else to say. Each “new” Tetris adds a few bells and whistles because they don’t dare mess with the basics. Why would they? It’s one of the most perfectly designed puzzles/games and a pinnacle of human creativity. There’s a reason that a game released in 1984 still gets updated versions; each subsequent generation needs a reminder of how wonderful it is, and that this masterpiece gets its deserved attention. The DS was but another medium to experience Tetris.

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