Warning: All questions on this site are answered by a dog with a passion for science. Science Dog holds no human doctorates or credentials and is not responsible for your inevitable injury or death.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

How do I beat Tetris?

Dear Science Dog,

I just heard about this game called Tetris. It's loads of fun, but I can't figure out how to beat it. I thought science might be able to help me. What should I do?


Lineless in Lancaster

When it comes right down to it, Tetris is just like sex: all math. Angles, speed, size, length, foreplay, buttons; the way to approach Tetris is like you're approaching a fine woman, man, or female dog. And I don't mean from behind. You've got to use your mind.

Let's science this bitch.

Tetris was created in Russia, by Russians. It is a game of small squares, all of which can be aligned to a grid. These squares are all the same size, but they are combined to make different "pieces" of four squares each. These pieces are:

The Big Square
The Big Square is exactly what it sounds like: a shape with four equal sides that is uncool. Some people have made the argument that the square is "hip," but this Quadrilateral Quasi-Cartel is made up of quacks and should be wholly ignored or, at the very least, marginalized. Hip to be square? Really, it's laughable.

The L
The L piece looks like the letter L, the twelfth letter of the English alphabet. This, however, is not the reason the piece is named as such. The real reason for the name is that the L piece was discovered by Leonid Lenovsky, a programmer working on Tetris who had too much vodka and tripped over the prototype for the "line" piece. Through his potato-liquor-induced haze, Lenovsky saw the potential of the L as a viable Tetris piece and named it after himself. The resemblance to the letter L was a lucky coincidence. The other programmers wanted to name it "angle piece." They sucked.

The Fucked-Up T-Thingy
The Fucked-Up T-Thingy gets its name from the fact that it looks like the letter T from one angle and a fucked-up t-type thingy from another. It's something of a paradox that modern science has yet to explain.

The Line
The Line is the most boring piece in Tetris.

The S/Z
The S piece - Z if you're feeling nasty/dyslexic -- looks like a Big Square that got punched in the face. It is known for its ability to be wedged into small holes, sideways, kind of like John Holmes or some kind of wedge device from the future modeled after John Holmes.

Learn these pieces. Love them. Take one home and give it to your wife -- then, when she's sleeping, cheat on her with it. These pieces are the key to Tetris. Without the pieces, it would just be a screen without porn on it -- that is, a screen that is useless.

The gameplay in Tetris is deceptively simple. Random pieces fall into some kind of jar, one at a time, and the player must move them left or right and stack them. The pieces can be rotated as they fall. The point of the game is to form solid horizontal lines with the pieces -- forming such a line erases it, creating more space to stack the continuing barrage of pieces. God help you if you try to form a vertical line. You're thinking, "but a line is a line, right?" This is the kind of thinking that can get you thrown in jail in a post-9/11 world. I'm a little sickened that you even brought it up.

The trick is to create horizontal lines quickly while making vertical progress as slowly as possible. Since you can see the next piece that you're going to get, you have the opportunity to plan ahead. This means that instead of putting a piece where it might look best, you should put it somewhere that creates a place for the next piece to form a line. It's kind of like Feng Shui, except it makes sense.

Tetris is kind of like torture, save for the fact that you have to pay money or search Google to participate. Also, it's kind of fun. Tetris is a game that's all about solving puzzles, and puzzles have amused man since the beginning of time. Somewhere, during cro-magnon times, a primitive man was trying to figure out a seven-letter word for "triceratops" to solve three down. Solving a puzzle is therapeutic. The more lines you create in Tetris, the better you'll feel about yourself. You'll also discover the answers to timeless questions like:

  • How many lines can I create?
  • What level can I get to?
  • Is a communist society possible in the real world, or does human nature negate that possibility?
  • Can I use the spaces to form a penis?

To succeed at Tetris, you must never lose your cool. The pieces will never stop coming, and until you accept this fact, you are nothing. You will not succeed. Banish the thought that someday, if you are good enough, the pieces will stop falling. You are a fool. Only when you accept this will you be able to beat Tetris.

That being said, it is impossible to beat Tetris. Thanks for your question.


tepples said...

In some Tetris games, you "beat" Tetris when the game realizes that you could play with your eyes closed. To understand what I mean, watch this video.

gooseman said...

Spare me

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Jock Doubleday said...

Dogs: neotenous wolves. Humans: neotenous apes. Neoteny translates, "playful," but means, literally, "retaining juvenile characteristics." Play is how we create art, science, starships.