Thursday, March 13, 2014

I am a Tetris addict

Hello, my name is Ken and I’m a Tetris addict. I’ve tried to stop. Or at least take a break for meals, but the game has me too far in its clutches. I don’t know how many hours I’ve spent rotating the shapes as they fall so they align in a straight horizontal line and reward me with points.

To me, Tetris is the Soviet Union’s revenge for our winning the Cuban Missile Crisis and not allowing them to nuke us from 90 miles away.  Damn you, Russkies!

And now, I sit helpless at my computer, wasting valuable time I could be trying to dream up a storyline for the Lincoln Logs movie that is sure to be made. Time I could spend talking to my children or plugging my books (MUST KILL TV, still ridiculously low priced).

And it’s not just playing the game anymore. Oh no. It’s advancing to higher and higher levels, it’s trying to get the maximum number of points. It’s playing one game so long that my bladder bursts.

Oh, I’ve tried other games. I play Free Cell, but it’s… it’s not the same. Endorphins are not released when you win at Free Cell. Your hands don’t shake and you don’t risk a full grand mal seizure after a half hour of Free Cell. Free Cell is for pussies!

Newer games like Angry Birds have a “cute” factor that us hard core computer game players find distasteful. So you kill adorable birds? Who gives a fuck? But reaching level 71 without suffering a stroke, that my friend is an achievement. I see these people winning Olympic Gold Medals and think, anyone can ski. Try racking up points when you don’t get a skinny piece for five minutes, bitches.

There are no Help Lines, and what good what they do anyway? I’d talk on speaker phone and have my hands free for Tetris.

I need an intervention. I’m very close to getting a hand-held device for when I’m away from the computer. Thank God the GPS screen on my dashboard doesn’t have an app for this. I’m starting to dream Tetris. Erotic dreams where Sports Illustrated swimsuit models are naked and I’m beating them all in head-to-head competition. I can’t eat English Toffee without rearranging the candy pieces in the bag. I’m thinking of making the Tetris theme my ringtone.

I know that admitting I’m an addict is the first step. And with your support, hopefully I can get on the 12 Level Plan and break this vicious cycle. I’m bad and getting worse. It’s to the point that when I get the sudden urge to play, no matter what else I’m doing on the computer, I just have to stop and

38 comments:

An (is my actual name) said...

LOL I have to ask: When did you start playing Tetris?? I went through a similar Tetris phase in 1989. #TBT

ODJennings said...

You should take comfort in the fact that, according to The Onion, MIT scientists are hard at work solving the Tetris mystery:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/modern-science-still-only-able-to-predict-one-upco,35394/

Carol said...

Maybe this Friday Question will distract you from Tetris.

What do you think of the news that Big Bang Theory was renewed for 3 years? Personally I think it means that the show is going to be painfully bad by the time it limps off screen, but maybe I'm wrong. I just think there are only a handful of shows that really maintain high quality after about 6 years, even shows that still kind of went out on a high note I think could have ended two years earlier than they did. (ex. Friends, How I Met Your Mother)

What is your opinion?

Brian Phillips said...

In Angry Birds, one kills off grunting pigs, not birds.

This will, of course, change your mind about things.

Vickster said...

I've dreamt of falling Tetris pieces! Here's a video of human Tetris you might also enjoy...:)
http://www.notsonoisy.com/tetris/index.html

Mork said...

Dreaming of falling Tetris pieces is pretty well documented:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetris_effect

mmryan314 said...

Been there with Tetris but as most of my periodic addictions and obsessions go, one day, it just went away.I will boast a bit here though- I was the first one in my household to capture the princess in Nintendo Mario Brothers. No small feat for the mother of five children I'll tell you.

Nevin ":-)" Liber said...

You might have to get yourself one of these business cards that lets you play Tetris with them

benson said...

I seem to recall you having a similar problem at one time with Freecell. You must have a certain type personality, Ken. Lol

With me it was Windows solitaire, then Freecell, a now Golf solitaire from a Russian app developer on Iphone.

Mary Stella said...

Give yourself completely over to the force of Tetris and be happy your addiction isn't to Candy Crush.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

My wife claims her Tetris skills help her pack the suv when we travel. See? That's a good reason to keep playing, isn't it? Maybe?

Covarr said...

But can you play like this? (Make sure to watch the whole thing, it just gets more and more impressive)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YOR-nAnj4I

Curt Alliaume said...

I can feel for you, Ken. My first year at college was 1980-81, when video games hit big (Space Invaders, Asteroids, Pac-Man), and I spent far more time in the arcades than at the library. As a result, my cumulative GPA was a 3.2 (1.66 the first semester, 1.54 the second). Fortunately, I joined the fraternity the furthest off campus, and managed to graduate on time.

I've gotten better at recognizing which games are addictive to me (Tetris, Bejeweled Blitz, Angry Birds, Flappy Wings) and which are not (Farkle) - and I keep them only on my iPhone. If it's addictive, I delete it. (Well, except Bejeweled Blitz.)

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more.

tb said...

Lincoln Logs Movie!! HAHA! No doubt

Cap'n Bob said...

Tetris came with the game package on my old computer--or maybe I installed it--but now all I have are card games and I'm fine with that.

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

There is a solution:

Play the game to the point where it becomes unwinnable (probably after Level 30).

Even if you play with computer reflexes, there comes a point where the blocks' vertical speed surpasses their horizontal speed. Therefore, even a computer is unable to shift the blocks' lateral positions fast enough to hit their marks.

After this, you'll be so sick of Tetris, you'll never want to touch it again.

MikeN said...

Level 71, just a 7 digit score?

Bob Claster said...

I have a theory about Tetris. I think that it busies up only a very specific part of the brain having to do with spacial relations, and leaves the rest of the brain free for other things. I have had some of my best ideas while playing Tetris. I think it has the same effect as TM for some people. I have no facts, stats, or research to back this up, it's just a theory.

MikeN said...

Try TwoThree and I Love Traffic on Yahoo, last one with no errors at all.

Also GoldWell on addictinggames, and goldminer.

Walter Guyll said...

I, too, have suffered carpal Tetris syndrome. Fortunately, I ran out of quarters.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Carol: I think HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER could have usefully ended at season 4. The quality began to plummet in season 5.

Friday question: a little different from Carol's but along the same lines. If you're in season 7 of a show, do you welcome or groan at a three-year pickup? Is it an opportunity to frame larger stories or a mountain of work when you're already beginning to run out of ideas? (I imagine it's a nice problem to have, like not having enough garage space for your yacht, but still - you have to go on and do the work.)

wg

Alec said...

What does running out of quarters have to do with playing Tetris?

RG said...

This post reminds me of a Woody Allen short story about a person who somehow can become a character in the books he is reading and at the very end he rather unfortunately ends up as the Spanish verb "to be." I guess both essays are entirely built up for the joy of reading the last sentence while not knowing it. I enjoyed both.

Johnny Walker said...

Covarr: That video is terrifying.

I think we should have a Tetris league. No wait, that's the opposite of an intervention. Oh well, who's with me?

Johnny Walker said...

Speaking of videogames, Ken, have you ever played any others? I was playing through an old adventure game recently (The Curse of Monkey Island), and I was reminded how genuinely funny the dialogue was. (The game series was actually the original inspiration for the Pirates of the Caribbean movie -- but it ended up being "based" on the ride instead.)

When there's games out there that shine through great characters and witty dialogue, it seems they would be enjoyable and rewarding timewasters for fans of good comedic writing.

Ever played any of the "classic" adventure games? (The Secret of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, etc?) Or are all those just a bunch of really bizarre titles to you? :)

For readers who remember the above games fondly, you might be interested to know that one of the writers of the above games recently resurrected the genre and created the sublime Broken Age.

Anita Bonita said...

Here, Ken. Enjoy. :-)

http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/f034/

SharoneRosen said...

I confess, Tetris and Bejeweled Blitz own me... on my laptop, on my Kindle, on my phone. I am helpless in the light of their tumbling objects.

jbryant said...

Only computer game I ever got addicted to was that one from several years ago in which the object was to pie Bill Gates in the face. I had nothing against Bill Gates, but loved getting better and better at it. I got so fast my mouse couldn't respond quickly enough.

I don't know if this is a good Friday question, because I suspect you'll write something about it anyway, but how about this new version of THE ODD COUPLE for CBS with Matthew Perry as Oscar and Thomas Lennon as Felix? Perry's co-writing the pilot with FRASIER's Joe Keenan. Is there life left in this premise? Will it just be the same old thing, only with more sex jokes?

404 said...

Alec--many are not aware of this, but Tetris did actually appear in local arcades as well. Hence the need for quarters.

For me it was Spider Solitaire. I still have to be careful to watch the clock if I start a game, otherwise I'll get sucked in. And it's such a frustrating, disappointing game! At the "hard" setting" (4 suites) I can't even break a 10% success rate, so I'm basically playing with the full knowledge I'm going to lose most of my games.

Don't judge me.

Alec said...

Oh, didn't think about arcades.

gottacook said...

RG: In "The Kugelmass Episode" Kugelmass doesn't become anything; he's thrown into a Spanish textbook in which... oh, what the hell, let me just transcribe the wonderfully vivid final sentence:

"He had been projected into an old textbook, Remedial Spanish, and was running for his life over a barren, rocky terrain as the word tener ('to have') - a large and hairy irregular verb - raced after him on its spindly legs."

Hamid said...

I hear ya. I was addicted to Tetris in the early 90s when I had a Nintendo Gameboy, back in the those dark, medieval days when hand held consoles were monochrome.

It's funny you mention the theme music. It was released as a single in the UK in 1992 and went Top 10.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Spin

Get your Tetris on!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJKsn_OkOQ0

Hamid said...

Just read the sad news that one of the best movie trailer voiceovers ever, Hal Douglas, has died.

In a world without Hal Douglas, movie trailers are less awesome.

RIP

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8Yi93AFBJM

Johnny Walker said...

In a world without Hal Douglas...

...maybe Ted Williams can step up?

Paul said...

I can't see that anyone has linked this: the history of the Soviet Union told via Tetris. Fairly amazing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWTFG3J1CP8

AAllen said...

I actually saw Alexey Pajitnov once, the inventor of Tetris. I had a temp job at Microsoft Studios, moving their tapes in my own car to the archives in another building. In that building it looked like Microsoft was developing a games division, even though the Xbox hadn't come out yet. One time when moving the cart between my car and the elevator in the underground garage, I stopped a car driven by a bearded person who looked a lot like the pictures I've seen of Mr. Pajitnov. The car had a Washington State license plate bearing a variant of "TETRIS." Even Alexey Pajitnov couldn't get TETRIS itself. Just a few years before I had programmed my own version of Tetris in BASIC for the Apple II, just to see if it could be done.

Personally I like Columns better. It's like Tetris, except just when the stack seems full, you might cause a chain reaction that clears most of it away.

dml said...

Was this an archived post from the 1990's? Did you start Tetris after you recently reached the final level of Frogger? You really are hard-core. Bad ass Man, bad ass.