Tetris: an ode to a game that makes us happy

It’s the little things that change your day, like remembering the game that came with the Game Boy and provided you with hours of entertainment.

Confession time: I never had a Game Boy.

I had the Sega Game Gear, which tried desperately hard to be a Game Boy, but in colour. It was heavier, had some decent games, but it also had Columns, and Columns could never be as good as Tetris.

Tetris was awesome.

Correction: Tetris is awesome, and even if current owners Electronic Arts still want to make it as freemium as humanly possible, it’s still a puzzle game that we love today, more than any version of Angry Birds (unless of course they make Angry Birdstris, in which case, we may just lose out).

EA's Tetris on iOS and Android mixes 2D and 3D graphics, but tries to jazz up the old soundtrack. We wish they hadn't, and it's so bad, we'll stick with our regular tunes.

Almost 30 years on, the game is still being played across the world, and while we’ve seen versions come and go, including one with dead bodies in 7th Level’s “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” title, it’s the classic ones we love.

We love them so much that some of us (okay, probably only this writer) play a never-ending game of Tetris in their heads when they try to fall asleep, the geeky version of “counting sheep,” because some people never really “got” sheep, but they “got” Tetris.

We love it so much we blindly tried the other games worked on by the creator of Tetris, Alexey Pajitnov, including “Hexic,” “Wordtris,” and even “BreakThru!” the latter of which wasn’t even made by Pajitnov, just merely endorsed by him.

So yes, we love Tetris, and not every variant is created equal, and we’re sure that we’re not the only ones that think this.

Frenzy mode in Tetris Blitz

Oh sure, the speedy version that EA brought out this week – Blitz – has some neat features, and while we’re not fans of the heavy reliance on pay-to-play content Electronic Arts has built into the title, that fact that it’s Tetris for those without time means we’re still going to be addicted, even if we refuse to spend money on frivolous in-game weaponry to improve our high score.

Thankfully, EA still has a version of Tetris that doesn’t require spending more than the initial purchase price – you know, how games used to be before the freemium model took over – so at least we can go home and bust a few more lines out before dinner, and outside of the official version, there are plenty of others on plenty of other devices.

But as we said, it’s the little things, and these make you remember what you love.

Telling the time through Tetris.

Take the package we received from EA’s people, for instance, which included a very cool Tetris lamp that lights up as you connect the blocks, and an alarm clock that plays the Tetris theme while animated blocks fall into position.

Both of these are very basic things, but like the little toys we keep on our desks, they have each rekindled that joy the GadgetGuy team – most members of it, anyway – had when they played Tetris, when they first became addicted to puzzle games.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to scour eBay for a Game Boy and a copy of Tetris. Wish me luck.