Round Table: The Authoritative Tetris

The Nintendojo staff sounds off on which version of Tetris (on Nintendo hardware!) is the definitive best.

By Robert Thompson. Posted 07/16/2010 10:08 3 Comments     ShareThis

Tetris DS

Tetris is an undisputed gaming classic, spawning multiple imitators and styles. For WiiWare, we’re blessed with the more group-centric Tetris Party, while Tetris DS puts a Nintendo spin on the falling blocks. The Nintendojo staff sounds off on which version of Tetris is the definitive best.


Aaron Roberts

Tetris DS ScreenshotTetris DS.We all know what everybody’s going to pick, so I’m going to be the odd man out and go with the DS iteration of Tetris. It may be slightly less iconic than one of its handheld forerunners, but it did, in fact, reinvigorate the franchise and present one of the best online Nintendo experiences even to date. There’s nothing less infuriating than losing just barely to an unseen opponent in a one-on-one online match. And if you’ve got friends with DSes, you only need one copy of the game with multiplayer deathmatch (it seems weird saying “deathmatch” in regards to Tetris) featuring Mario Kart-esque items to alter play.

The DS game also gave us many different variations on the theme, including the Touch and Puzzle modes, both of which were intensely addictive, and involved NES games and characters in each mode, unique to each style of play. The addition of the game’s music tracks as a sound test was icing on the cake. If you make it to the end of the single-player campaign mode, you even got to see apocryphal backgrounds like Devil World and the final level of the original Game Boy Tetris — which most of my peers will likely choose as tops.

Tetris DS is really the whole package, though. It builds on the foundations of the original 1980’s game and introduces tons and tons of replayability, both for one or several players. I’m thinking about going and breaking it out right now.


Tetris DS ScreenshotAndy Hoover

Tetris DS. I have to agree with Aaron, the original Game Boy version might have been the most significant Tetris release, but the DS iteration did so much more, adding in numerous variations on the classic formula, awesome multiplayer, and a visual style that pays homage to just about every classic Nintendo franchise. If I could only own one version of the game, it would definitely be that one.

However, what I really want to talk about is Tetris on phones. I don’t do too much gaming on my phone, but I made an exception for the claasic puzzler My old phone was as bare bones as could be, but it could handle Tetris and that was the only game ever put on it, and boy did I ever play it. Nowadays though, I have a more powerful phone with many more features, but it can’t do Tetris to save its life. It is quite ironic that the iPhone, which many hail as the future of handheld gaming, has one of the worst versions of the game ever made thanks to the lack of real buttons. Dagging and twisting the blocks via a touch screen just doesn’t work.


Chad Margetts

The New Tetris. I’m sure there are many who believe the original Game Boy or Tengen Tetris are the best versions. However, those same people most likely never experienced The New Tetris for N64. It is unfortunate, because those who have never played it have really missed out.

The New Tetris Screenshot

I originally purchased it because I just wanted Tetris on my N64, but I will never forget the first time I made silver and gold blocks, then watched as my score multiplied when I cleared the lines was just awesome. You could use those points to build the 7 Wonders of the World, which made for great competition within our family as to who could unlock the Wonders first.

Sure I have purchased Tetris games since then, but when our family wants to play the best version ever created, we skip all the other versions and dust off our trident controllers. We keep hoping for a Virtual Console release, but I know there’s virtually no chance of that happening.


Tetris DS ScreenshotJames Stank

Tetris DS.These days we have plenty of Tetris games to choose from, with titles on Wii and DS. However, out of all of our choices, one stands above the rest. If you are a hardcore Nintendo fan, Tetris DS is the title for you.

Tetris DS takes the classic Tetris formula and adds a Nintendo twist. You’ll get to see Mario, Link, Samus, Donkey Kong and more as you venture through the game’s numerous modes. Every mode is different and each sports a unique Nintendo look and challenge

After you’ve mastered all the modes in Tetris DS, you can connect to the Nintendo WiFi Connection to test your skill worldwide. If you love Tetris and you love Nintendo, there really is only one choice; it’s Tetris DS. To date, it is the authoritative Tetris.


Matthew Tidman

Tetris Attack. I know that this is not a traditional Tetris title. There are no blocks falling from the top of the screen, it’s a match-three puzzler, and in fact the only connection it has with the puzzle classic Tetris is, in fact, its name. But darn it if Tetris Attacks isn’t absolutely the most fun game I’ve ever played to have the Tetris name attached to it.

Tetris Attack Screenshot

I’ll wax a little more eloquently in another feature this week about what made the game great, but countless hours were spent playing this game against my sister and mother. In fact, it’s probably still sitting in my SNES at the moment waiting for me to fire it up and match wits with my sister, my Raphael the Raven (“CAW!”) versus my sister playing Poochy (“WOOF, WOOF!”).

It may not be Tetris, but darn it if it’s not my absolute favorite– and therefore the best– version of the formula that has been emulated– and shaken up– many times.


Greg Wampler

Tetrisphere ScreenshotTetrisphere. I can definitely agree with all of the staff who mentioned the original Tetris on NES and Game Boy, but the one Tetris game that stands out from being like the rest is Tetrisphere.

Tetrisphere brought Tetris and the Tetriminoes into a 3D environment. That’s rendered 3D and not the new craze of real 3D. However, the new modes were very new for their time like being able to let out little creatures stuck inside spheres made of tetriminoes. It was a very addictive game and probably one of the more underrated games on N64.


M. Noah Ward

Tetris DS ScreenshotTetris DS. I’m really surprised that Aaron assumed none of us would pick Tetris DS. There’s no doubt it’s the best Tetris game released, surpassing even the magic of the Neil Voss-scored, multiplayer-rich The New Tetris on Nintendo 64. The reasons why? More game modes, online multiplayer and nostalgic Nintendo window-dressing. I even purchased Tetris Party on WiiWare hoping it would come close to the magic of Tetris DS, but it doesn’t.

I didn’t expect much of Tetris DS— I thought the NES-styled decorations would be out of place and had my expectations very low after THQ, bless that developer, released about 10 craptastic Tetris games over several preceding years. Yet how glorious Tetris DS proved to be– like peanut butter and chocolate, Nintendo franchises visually merged with Tetris in a charming way. Mario Kart-themed power ups made versus mode all the more engaging, the Donkey Kong-embellished Push mode made for devilish online versus games with superstar gamers in Japan, and the stylus-specific, Balloon Fight-styled touch mode was calming and didn’t feel like an odd-ball inclusion.

The game’s so good it became my daily cool-down routine after work for about six months. Why Nintendo didn’t print more copies of this game is beside me, but I think it had something to do with the licensing loophole that allowed this game to be made in the first place. If you have a copy, consider yourself lucky.


Robert Thompson

Tetris (Game Boy) ScreenshotTetris. When I say Tetris, I’m meaning the wonderful 8-bit entry that was packaged with the original Game Boy, and must admit that I am shocked how none of my fellow staffers considered it such as well. When you think of a version of Tetris that truly defines the franchise, this will be the version that comes to mind most.

When I think of Tetris, I don’t think of a gimmicky (while admittedly still delightful) mash-up with a Nintendo classic. I also don’t think of knowing which piece will be coming five moves from now, or seeing exactly where the Tetrimino will land, which piece I have on hold, or even the ability to have a piece on hold for that matter. No, I think of four squares connected, each by at least one face, falling down into a quickly amassing pile.

I own Tetris DS, and it’s certainly one of the best games for the system, if not one of the best games ever made. I also have what could be considered the best WiiWare title with Tetris Party, offering other unique modes of gameplay and online multiplayer. But when you get right down to it, Tetris for Gameboy will not only stand out as the first Gameboy game I ever owned, but also as a game that is perhaps nearest to my heart, and what got me into gaming in the first place.

3 Responses to “Round Table: The Authoritative Tetris”

  • 183 points
    Williaint says...

    I remember tetrisphere… Yes… About as well as I remember Iggy’s Wreckin’ Balls. I think I had to have rented those games at least twice.
    Tetrisphere was addictive and interesting, but, It just didn’t seem like tetris. A sequel with the Wii-mote would have been fun, if not, better!
    I think the New Tetris just seemed boring. Though Multiplayer was fun… Maybe I’m just bad at Tetris.
    The GB version is just a simple time-waster, I Can’t disagree with.

    Thumb up 0
  • 441 points
    Terr says...

    Of all the Tetris I have tried, the original is still the one I enjoy the most.

    Thumb up 0
  • 186 points
    Aaron Roberts says...

    See, that’s what I thought EVERYBODY would say.

    Thumb up 0

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Log In 0 points Log in or register to grow your Ninja Score while interacting with our site.
Nintendojo's RSS Feeds

All Updates Podcast
News Comments
Like and follow usFacebookTwitter Friend Code Exchange + Game with Us Join the Team!