These days I have very little time for playing games, and even less time for replaying games. The first game that I thought of was Madden, but I don’t want to be too NFL focused so after a bit more thinking time I remembered a game I used to play when I was probably about 13 or 14 every lunchtime at school.

We’d go out onto the field and play two player games (linking our Nintendo Gameboys with a physical wire) and play endless game after game of the classic falling blocks game – tetris.

Classic Tetris – two bits per pixel allows for four shades – white – light grey, dark grey and black

Games would last for a very long time, and often we’d play with headphones on, but would pull the jack out whenever we achieved a “tetris”, destroying four lines in one go and triggering the associated tetris sound that spelled out impending doom for the other player, letting them know that four extra lines were headed their way. Sometimes we’d do this two or three times in a row to really put the pressure on.

This sort of classic gameplay really makes me think it’s worth studying computer games, and what makes them successful and fun to play (and even what is fun anyway). We didn’t need games with huge budgets, full of expensive art, sound assets, models and direction that the cinematic epics produced today rely on.
Tetris created a compelling an experience that held our attention for hours; the question is how?