Original coin-op version
Copyright c 1989 ATARI Corp.
This unofficial ATARI ST version by
This is NOT another TETRIS clone! I emphasize NOT a CLONE! THIS TETRIS
is the real thing! Well, as close as I could come to it on my own. I spent
weeks as the arcade studying the official ATARI game in order to get every
detail just right. So why hasn't this been done before? Well, it has, I
think, but there have been several complications due to the interference of
some unnamed corporation.
You see, soon after ATARI released TETRIS into the arcade, software
developers for all kinds of computers and video game systems started working
on home versions of the game, as is the norm for most arcade games. However,
in the meantime, some guys from the unnamed company went to the Russian authors
of TETRIS and asked for exclusive rights to TETRIS on home computers and video
game systems, which (for some people at least) comes separate from the rights
to the arcade version. Why or even if this is so I can't say. This whole
story is hearsay, anyway. But when those guys got the rights to the home
version, they made everybody else who had the official version already on the
market take it back off the market. If you haven't seen them before, there
have already been versions out for the ATARI ST by Spectrum Holobyte and for
the Nintendo game system; these are no longer available. But apparently,
these guys stopped at taking the real games off the market. I haven't seen
any other TETRIS release -- in fact I haven't seen any TETRIS release at all,
since I was out of the country when all this took place. Like I said, I only
heard the story myself after I had started working on this game, since I was
wondering why in the world all the TETRIS clones were so blasphemously
different from the real thing. You know, I'm not even sure whether those
Russian guys created the full arcade implementation or just the idea of fitting
blocks together or whatever inbetween ....
So that's the story, as far as I know about it. Since I can't release
TETRIS commercially (Spectrum Holobyte should have that right), I'm releasing
this version of the game into the shareware market. As I said, it is almost
exactly like the arcade game. The main differences are missing features:
there is no background music (yet); there are no russian dancers (I'm a
terrible artist); and it doesn't have an autoplay feature to demonstrate the
game (I'm working on that one). But the playability is good, two players can
compete at once, and the scoring is exactly the same as the arcade version.
How to Play
If you've never seen TETRIS or it's clones before, the object is really
simple. Sort of like a puzzle, there are seven different shapes of blocks,
each made of four squares:
** **** *** *** *** ** **
** * * * ** **
square line 'L' 'T' 'J' 'Z' 'S'
(text doesn't do any justice to the awesome graphics.)
Randomly picked blocks will fall one at a time down a pit, which is 10 squares
wide by 20 squares high. The object is to fill entire lines without leaving
any gaps. When a line becomes full, it disappears from the pit and all the
blocks above it are moved down in its place. When you complete a certain
number of lines, the round is finished and you get to move on. Simple? It's
not as easy as it sounds for a beginner, but it quickly becomes easier with
To control the blocks as they fall, use a joystick; the player on the left
side (the one-player side) uses port 1, so you don't have to unplug your mouse
unless you have two players at once. Moving the stick left or right will move
the block left or right. Moving the stick down will accelerate the block's
fall. Pressing the trigger will rotate the block one quarter turn counter-
clockwise (Note: using an auto-repeat firing mechanism is a very bad idea).
Just like it is in the arcade.
To start a game going, press the asterisk (top right) key on the keypad to
give yourself some 'credits' (inserting coins in the arcade game), then press
F1 for a one-player start or F2 for a two-player start. If you wish to join
somebody who is already in the middle of a game, press F1 to start the left
player or F2 to start the right player. Simple. As close to the arcade as a
computer can get.
If you make it into the top 16 high scores, you will be asked to enter
your initials when your game is over. To do this, move the joystick left or
right to the correct letter, then press the button to go to the next letter.
Don't make a mistake, because you can't backspace, and you only have 25 seconds
to finish entering your initials.
The only other controls in the game are the ESCape key to pause the game
and the UNDO key to quit. These features are obviously not found in the arcade
game, but are necessary for a computer version.
That's everything you need to know in order to start playing. How the
scoring is done is left as an exercise to the game player (I spent weeks in
figuring it out, so I'm not about to give out the formulas for free!) but I
will give you some hints: The more lines you can clear at once, the better
your score will be. And keep the playing area as low as possible, since you
get a bonus after each round for the empty lines your leave on top.
This program is being distributed as shareware, which means that if you
think this game is worth playing often, send a small donation (I'll take
any amount -- whatever you think it's worth) to help me continue developing
programs for the ATARI ST. Also, feel free to send any comments, suggestions,
or bug reports (very important!).
7690 Dell Road
Salt Lake City, UT 84121
Updated versions of this game will come out whenever I can find the time
to make improvements (I'll hurry if somebody requests it $$ :-> ).
Since the first release of this program, I have added sound effects and
fixed a few bugs. The bugs I fixed were: joining another player having less
than five lines to go would freeze the second player forever; when one player's
game is over the other player should proceed to the next round; the player
start key got stuck once for some reason; and high scores 10-16 were all
numbered 1. Many thanx to my beta-testing friends who brought these to my
attention. There was one other time when the whole screen went screwy for no
apparent reason, but I have never been able to duplicate that bug so I have no
clue where it's hiding ...
OriginsBased on Atari Games 1989 coin-op. Unofficial conversion.