NES – #15 – Tetris (Tengen)

I’ve played Tetris. I’ve not played “this” Tetris.

I mean, it’s Tetris. I expect falling blocks, catchy music and generally a good time.

So, I love the history of the Tengen version of this game. Short version is that this was the technically superior version of Tetris on the NES, but due to licensing snafus it only lasted on store shelves for about a month before being recalled and destroyed. As a result, this is a bit of a collectors item. Now I thought long and hard about going out and spending $70 on a copy of Tetris, but ultimately I couldn’t do it, not for Tetris. In the end, I decided to break my rule just htis once, and emulate.

Day 1:

Upon starting the game I’m instantly saddened by the lack of the classic Tetris track! The music is fine but it’s not what I was looking forward to. That said, the gameplay is totally solid. I started off in standard mode.

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The game actually plays incredibly well! Having played the official version of Tetris for the NES I think I can safely say that I like this version more. The controls just feel better, the game looks a little better, and it just seems like this version had more polish applied to it. Above you can see my first tetris! I learned from this year’s AGDQ that a tetris is when you clear four rows in one move. I had no idea that was a thing!

Eventually I cleared the first stage, and little people came out and danced for me…

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Sadly my victory would be short lived…

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Finally I went ahead and tried playing versus against the computer. I can’t say it added much to the game, and I can’t really say it would have been that much more fun against a human opponent, but just having the option is nice.


I should take this opportunity to mention I actually suck at Tetris.

On Emulators:

I have absolutely zero issues with emulators, none whatsoever. I have built more than a couple emulator machines over time, and they definitely have their uses. I’m particularly pleased with the quality of the screenshots I can provide for my posts. Those things look amazing compared to me snapping pictures of the TV with my phone!

That said…

Going from playing the last several NES games on an actual NES with an actual NES controller, to sitting at my desk and using a Logitech gamepad at a computer screen, there’s just no comparison. Still, getting a proper screen capture device for better screenshots and even annotated videos is sure looking might appealing right about now…


Fun game! That’s to be expected, Tetris is a fun little distraction of a game. I’ll not be devoting any time to mastering it of course, but it’s still a fun game to pick up from time to time. This version in particular has a much nicer visual appeal than the official counterpart, and some very nice game options. Still, I do miss the classic soundtrack…


– The game looked really nice
– No play issues at all. It handles like Tetris should handle.
– Great additional modes, especially multiplayer


– While nothing’s particularly wrong with the music, I really missed the original.
– Man… I suck at Tetris!


One comment on “NES – #15 – Tetris (Tengen)

  1. Pingback: NES Retrospective 20 – 11 | 600 Games

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