Block Party: Tetris Friends

By John Walker on July 28th, 2009 at 11:41 am.

Well now here's a game that doesn't adapt well to our letterbox grabs.

Tetris couldn’t have been designed with more serendipity. Not only did creator Alexey Pajitnov put together the most instantly recognisable and enormously popular puzzle game, but he designed it in the shape of a mobile phone. Now that’s foresight. And while the game is currently selling in its millions of squillions for the handheld market, it’s still reinventing itself for the PC. Tetris Friends is a free, online collection of popular Tetris game types (Marathon, Sprint, Ultra, Tetris 1989, Survival and n-blox, along with sponsored promo versions, currently plugging Ice Age 3). There’s also multiplayer modes, with two and six-player Battle mode, and five-player Sprint game. A few videos have appeared pushing the multiplayer games, which are below.

It works pretty damned well, too. Registering doesn’t require tedious emailing back and forth – just dump details into the form and you’re straight in. And then you can fire up a single or multiplayer game instantly. I played (and won, because I’m so great) a five-player Sprint, and a six-player Battle game, with a waiting time of approximately one second. The music is horrendous beyond belief, as you’ll hear in the trailers, but it can be switched off once you’re in a game. There’s also some sort of currency system, where you can buy meaningless baubles with your tokens, which I’m sure is lovely.

The plan is for the site to both incorporate the casual gamer, with accompanying leaderboards, profiles and all the usual gubbins, and to provide a place for high-end tournaments, with professional players (I know) competing. To get a taste, have a look at the videos (and wonder in horror at who decided leaving the tutorial screens in was a good idea):

Two-player Battle

Six-player Battle

Five-player Sprint

And yes, sure, I KNOW that “Block Party” is the most over-used headline ever, but look, right, see. People use it STUPIDLY. But this is a multiplayer Tetris game! THIS IS WHEN IT WAS FOR!

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34 Comments »

  1. MrBejeebus says:

    I must’ve wasted many hours of school work playing this during lessons this year…

  2. James G says:

    I’m trying to remember the name of a multiplayer tetris game which was popular on a Usenet group of which I was a member in the late 90′s. It was free, possibly open source, and quite customisable.

    :: Googles a bit ::

    Ahh, Tetrinet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TetriNET

  3. Heliocentric says:

    My girlfriend eviserates me in this on facebook. Its probably the reason i barely ever look at facebook. Her high score glaring down at me.

  4. TOOTR says:

    Ye gads. The garish multiple colours! Tetris is only good in original monochrome. Everyone knows that. (remember Blizzard Diablo III in greyscale please).

    Online leaderboards eh? High end tournaments? The missus will seriously love this.

  5. lumpi says:

    Oh god, and I wanted to do something productive today…

  6. Owen says:

    Anyone else remember Twintris on the Amiga (and possibly other formats)?

    Two player tetris but the screen would SHAKE when your opponent got a line. The fury of the shaking depending on how many lines you got.

    ‘Twas fun :)

  7. lumpi says:

    PS: There actually is an authentic, monochrome Gameboy version!

    http://www.tetrisfriends.com/games/Mono/game.php

  8. Schmung says:

    oh god this is gaming crack

    must play more

  9. Optimaximal says:

    Clearly the people clambering for the Gameboy version missed the ‘Tetris 1989′ option.

  10. The_B says:

    This has been a Facebook version for a while – good to see it’s own website recently helpful for people who don’t like it being tied to their other friends. Muchos fun.

    Also on a related note – go read John’s interview with the Tetris creators in this month’s PCG. It’s very good.

  11. Jayt says:

    The only problem is on this site, everyone is terrible and struggle to get past 2 lines in 2 minutes

  12. lumpi says:

    Oh yea, here’s a great documentary on the making of Tetris (in Russia, where no copyright existed): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcBIpn6a4yU

    It’s pretty intense for such a cute, little game.

  13. clovis says:

    no jayt the only problem is everyone is a bot. has nobody noticed the multiplayer pause button?

  14. Schmung says:

    I’m not sure they’re bots – think some of them are other peoples old games or something

  15. Heliocentric says:

    Yes, old games, in face book you’ll face you friends ghost runs.

  16. We Fly Spitfires - MMORPG Blog says:

    Kinda silly but Tetris is probably the best game you can get for the Nintendo DS. The oldies are the best eh.

  17. Gutter says:

    Sounds like a flash version of Quadra (http://code.google.com/p/quadra/)

  18. Wolfman says:

    Quadra almost killed my university degree for me!

    -wolfman

  19. Rook says:

    Remember losing friends over TetriNET

  20. Tanner says:

    The most interesting part about the multiplayer is that you aren’t actually playing against real people. Well, not live anyway. They’re recordings of people’s best games, which is why they don’t quite respond as a real person, and also why the game loads so darn fast.

  21. Owen says:

    Either I’m a lot better at Tetris than I thought (unlikely) or there are a lot of crap players on tetrisfriends :)

    @Tanner: oh really?

  22. Xercies says:

    The music was good at first…and that it just went on and on. I like tetris shame I’m rubbish at it.

  23. MacBeth says:

    10th Rank on 5 player sprint is where it gets challenging. I was undefeated until then…

  24. reaper47 says:

    What’s frustrating about online leaderboards are the top 30: all 999,999 points in classic mode. *sigh*

    And I always was so proud of my 300,000 points on the original Gameboy.

  25. Polysynchronicity says:

    That explains a lot.

    Also, went from Rank 1 to Rank 12 without losing a single game. Guess all that time with Heboris paid off.

  26. Polysynchronicity says:

    Also – where’s my 20G mode? Bunch of pansies.

  27. Cooper says:

    Bloody hell. 5 player sprint is pure crack after rank 10.

  28. Heliocentric says:

    I once programmed a genetic algorithm which learned to play tetris. I wonder if i could program a bot for this.

  29. Wisq says:

    All this instant-dropping and ghost images of where your block will land are killing Tetris, dag nabbit!

    As a Tetris veteran, I demand a return to the days when you had to double-time it all the way down the board if you wanted to get to the bottom sometime this week, and where knowing where your block would land ahead of time was a privilege of experience and not a bleedin’ crutch for babies who fail at figuring out how to fit Legos together!

    That said, it looks pretty. :)

  30. pb says:

    It is too bad that there isnt an option to challenge your friends…

  31. FernandoDANTE says:

    THANKS FOR GETTING ME ADDICTED, YOU JERKS!!!

  32. Margaret says:

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  33. PetitPrince says:

    PS: There actually is an authentic, monochrome Gameboy version!
    Not quite authentic, actually. Apart from purely esthetic issue (the blocks and the music are not totally accurate), there are totally unauthentic gameplay differences: first, the playfield is 18×10 blocks where Tetris Gameboy is 19×10, then the rotations (that is, the way the tetraminos rotate) are more SRS-ish (= like Tetris DS or the other modes of Tetris friends or nearly any other Tetris in the 2000′s) and finally, there is lock delay (you can move a tetramino after it has landed).

    to provide a place for high-end tournaments, with professional players (I know) competing

    I doubt. How can you even think about a tournament when you don’t have any means to do a 1 on 1 match ?

    Anyway, I’d recommend Blockbox instead of Tetris Friends. It is an indie (read: not approved by The Tetris Company – the creator asked them the permission to publish that game, but they never answered…) Tetris game, featuring an equally silly name, gameplay elements from both the official Tetris and the Tetris the Grand Master series (an hardcore and not less addictive variant of Tetris – I’m sure you have seen that youtube video of invisible Tetris) for both mono and multiplayer, and less sucky matchmaking system.

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