#36: Tetris

Format: Game Boy Genre: Puzzle Released: 1990 Developer: Nintendo/Bullet Proof Software

This was the game that started my gaming habit. I may have dabbled with gaming before this, but in 1990, at the tender age of 11, video games finally smothered me with their all-suffocating love. No more Airfix kits for birthdays please mummy, give me Nintendo.

Tetris Game Boy Box

Picture the scene: Christmas morning, 1990. Having been whipped into a frenzy of excitement by Nintendo’s relentless primetime TV ads, my sister and I had asked for a Game Boy for Christmas – and because it was such an expensive present, we’d agreed to share it between us. But wait, what’s this? TWO presents under the tree? Could it be…? YES! Our wonderful parents had given us a Game Boy EACH! AND an extra game each too! (Duck Tales and SuperMarioLand if you’re curious). Even now the recollection brings a smile to my face, and opening that present still ranks as one of my fondest childhood memories – who says kids can’t be bought?

Tetris Game Boy Screenshot 1

A joyous Christmas morning followed as my sister and I got down to the serious business of two-player Tetris while mum and dad cooked the turkey. Happy days! The only sadness arose when mum tried to get us to stop playing and eat our lunch. Alas, had she known that her children would be turned into gaming zombies, perhaps she would have bought us something else for Christmas instead. Possibly Meccano. Actually, were they even making Meccano in 1990? Come to think of it, what do kids get for Christmas nowadays if not computer games? iTunes vouchers?

Tetris Game Boy Screenshot 2

But I digress. Having dipped my toe in the gaming waters, I proceeded to dive headlong into the hallowed pool, and for months afterwards I could be found with my head buried in various gaming magazines, excitedly plotting which games to save up for with my £1 a week pocket money. To be honest, I grew bored with Tetris fairly quickly (I can almost hear the sharp intakes of breath from the readers – sacrilege!), but I think it deserves honouring as the game that really kick-started my fascination with games, as well as my long-held playground allegiance to Nintendo.

Original Game Boy with Tetris

Before I finish though, I have to mention the fantastic music. Of course, everyone remembers the main Tetris theme, but the other two tunes in the game were pretty damn good as well (if not better). I’ve included YouTube links to all three tunes below so you can judge for yourself – I think they’re some of the best (if not the best) 8-bit music out there. Can anyone think of any better 8-bit soundtracks? The only music I can think of that comes close is the soundtrack to Super Mario Bros. 3…


Tetris A-type music.

Tetris B-type music.

Tetris C-type music.

Tetris gameplay video.


Filed under 1990, Bullet Proof Software, Game Boy, Nintendo, Puzzle

3 responses to “#36: Tetris

  1. The only console that I have ever owned was a Gameboy – and it spent most of its long life with Tetris slotted in the back.

    IMO – it’s the only game you need.

    RE: Meccano – it’s still being made now – but by a French company who bought the business in the 80s. (Thank you James May!).

  2. A Moomintroll

    What a coincidence, I picked up my copy of Tetris a few days ago for the first time in years.
    Also, you’re lucky. My parents got me a Gameboy, but the only game they ever bought me was Toy Story.

  3. Old Gaulian

    I’m pretty cold on Type C – but I’ll agree with the other two tunes.

    Surely Contra would rank as one of the greatest soundtracks on the NES? In terms of the Game boy I’d have to say that Mega Man soundtrack sticks in my mind – even if the game doesn’t live up to its NES counterparts in the game play stakes.

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