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Tetris on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) – Best Video Games
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There are actually two versions of the original Tetris game for the first Nintendo console. Tengen made the first copy of the Soviet Mind Game, but Nintendo claimed they had an exclusive copyright for the title on their own system. They won their case in court, and Tengen was forced to remove their version of the game from shelves across America. It was sad, because apparently the Tengen version of the game was in many ways superior to the one coded at Nintendo headquarters. The Tengen version has a clunky appearance, though. I like the fact that the Nintendo-made Tetris allows you to see the 4 blocks that make up each puzzle piece.
The Tengen version of the game has a 2 player mode, which is interesting. It’s perfect if you have friends who want to play – and let’s face it – we all had friends over who wanted to play video games with us. Watching someone play Tetris is almost as exciting as watching your cat clean itself after jumping into a vat of Jello. Speaking of Jello, how come they got rid of Jello Pudding Pops? Those were awesome.
Oh, right. So not only does Tengen have a split screen Tetris mode in their game, but they also have a cooperative Tetris mode! I didn’t even realize that was in the game until just now when I looked it up. That game is hard to come by outside of emulators, since Nintendo forced Tengen to detroy all the copies of their cartridge that they could find. They demanded a recall to destroy the game, too (was anyone dumb enough to send back their Tengen Tetris so that it could be destroyed?). Yeah, and imagine how much it sucked when you got a copy of Nintendo Tetris and had no 2 player mode, and no co-op Tetris. Well, at least you could listen to Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite while you played! Hurrah!
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Tengen's Version had a Cooperative 2 Player Mode! Way Cool! I Wish I Had Had This Version When I Was a Kid!
The NES version of Tetris has more music, I think. I might be wrong about that. That’s the only improvement that it has. A couple extra songs. I like the fact that the blocks are bigger and the game looks better – but improvements stop there. Basically you get a game where it shows you your next block, and one where it doesn’t show you your next block. NES Tetris looks rushed, to be honest. They obviously were trying to capitalize on the late 80s Tetris craze.
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Livin' Hard in the Late 80s with Tetris
Aside from the copyright battle over the NES cartridge rights, Tetris has a moderately interesting history. The game was invented in the Soviet Union by Alexey Pajitnov on his Electronika 60 computer in 1984. Tetris became popular and circulated around the world, but the inventor didn’t receive any royalty payment for his invention until 1996. Money was a finicky issue in the Soviet Union back then. Pajitnov has created an assortment of different puzzle games since the invention of the original Tetris, and his games such as Hexic have even appeared on the Xbox 360.
Tetris is a pretty addicting game – at least, if you’re into puzzles. For me, it got old kinda fast. The game really is only fun when you have other people around, because you are forced to try to beat their high scores. Without any motivation to beat a score, the game kind of flounders a bit. What happens if I become the Tetris master? Nothing. If I beat my friend, at least I can lord it over them all day long.
Nintendo's Version of Tetris for the NES
But this is a game that just appeals to certain minds. Some people can't get enough of it, while others get tired of it quickly. Puzzle games are just like that. I don't think I've ever liked puzzle games all that much. Maybe I'm just burnt out from Tetris in the late 80s still. Yeah - some people lived hard and did a lot of Cocaine in the 1980s. I played Tetris. Man, those were some crazy times.
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For my money, I think Tengen had the right idea. Tetris is just way more addicting when you make it into a multiplayer experience. It gets kind of old and stale via Nintendo’s single player route.
Do you know they actually had Tetris arcade cabinets? Tengen was able to hang on to the rights to make them. Seriously, who was dorky enough to play Tetris in an arcade during the late 80s? That would be flat out embarrassing in my opinion. I’d rather spend 25 cents to play Pac Man.
I never played it on my Nintendo as a kid. I had it on Game Boy, and that was good enough. That used to be the game that you got with your Game Boy. My grandfather bought me a dos version, which I played on my old IBM XT computer, too. That was a sweet old version of the game. You could pick different backdrops, which was fun – albeit useless. Back then, people had crappy computers - so this game gained a lot of popularity on computer systems because it took almost no computer power to run.
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