Note: All this is based on the Gameboy version with the sound on.
Tetris is one of my favourite games. As a player.As a designer it seems unspectacular now. As a critic with my philosophy I feel its conflicts far stronger than I feel its compliance.
As a player: It is a perfect thing to pick up and put down, particularly due to the portable nature of the Gameboy. Mode B (trying to get 25 lines with an existing mess on the board) is a fun distraction, while Mode A can be an engaging challenger of trying to get a high score.
As a designer: For a distraction it can often take quite a long time to get a high score, and though a pause function exists it isn’t huge useful because one will be lost when one unpauses it; a necessary evil to keep people from cheating. In addition the change of speed from the simple 11 to the unmanageable, perhaps I’m just bad, 14 could be improved; perhaps by exorcising the unnecessarily slow (1 etc) choices to allow a lesser gradient.
As a critic: THE SQUARES THAT MAKE UP THE BLOCKS ARE TOO DISSIMILAR. The the black-and-white 2×2 block is quite cool, I concede, but generally I think the yellow blocks all being pure yellow (like the I) and the red blocks being all red would make a far prettier affair. As it is, the purity of the background gives most of the moments when its a cross. I can’t fault its place in my nostalgia driven heart, though.
I think that’s made it clear. I’m going to crystalise more of my philosophy for myself, but after Christmas (Merry Christmas, by the way), I’m going to do a countdown of the most interesting five games of 2014.
[Disclaimer: No guarantee there will be 5, they’ll all be games, they’ll all have been released in 2014 and certainly not guarantee they’re interesting.]