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000001 I like Tetris, but my brain is slow and my reflexes are slower. -CasualCart

One of the most classic action puzzle game was in the center of attention this week as players tackled NES Tetris! Host @BeaIank showed that she had a soft side as she decided to have players start at

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1 hour ago, Makar said:

Even tetris.com is better and I never thought I'd say that lol. The game has apparently changed quite a bit. Can't tap a repeatedly until you're ready to place it, can't hold pieces, the pieces are totally random whereas in later ones you get each different piece once all in the first 7 pieces, you can't see the next several pieces in the original Tetris, and probably a couple other things too. It's a very very different game than the one nowadays. They have massively improved this game over the years.

I can't really approve of any of this. NES Tetris has a bunch of issues, and Tetris.com and the other Guideline versions might be more approachable for casual play, but they only really work as a competitive game when you're going for weird unintuitive T-spin stacking setups, which changes the game to something else entirely, and just isn't fun in my opinion. These versions work exclusively as a versus game, becuase it's very easily playable infinitely without much skill required. This completely eliminates the risk-vs-reward stacking where you are at a constant risk of topping out, which is my favourite part of Tetris.

The pieces in NES Tetris are not completely random, unlike most other Tetris games before and after it. It has a one-piece memory that prevents overload of repeated pieces, and it improves the game a lot. It's still highly random and is often unfair, but a skilled player knows how to stack against that, which is the absolute core of the game. The 7-bag randomizer of modern guideline Tetris games is one of the worst ideas ever, honestly. A 21-bag or even a 14-bag would have been a lot better, considering the game is all about not knowing what's coming up (something that the hold button also eliminates tragically). That said, the best Tetris randomizer is in my opinion Tetris The Grandmaster 2, which is both highly unpredictable yet never unfair. It takes the formula from NES Tetris and improves it to perfection.

9 hours ago, CMR said:

It wouldn't be so bad if not for the controls.  That's the worst part IMO.

Yeah, the controls is what really breaks NES Tetris, they are essentially buggy. As it happens though, if not for these oddities the game would have been way too easy, and not the highly competitive game it is today. It's one of the only "early" Tetris releases that's still considered a high level game today.
It does have the problem that for a pure high scoring contest, once you hit a sufficiently high skill level a lot of the achievements you can go for are essentially about grinding for that one lucky game while not screwing it up. In my opinion, there should be no achievements over the maxout score, as any other metric is too luck dependent. However, for a 1-on-1 match with both players given the same piece sequence, it's an absolute riot, and one of the most entertaining competitive video games to watch!
Part of that being due to the fact that despite the high skill ceiling, it's still slow enough for most people to easily follow, which can't be said about vs. guideline Tetris or the Grandmaster series.

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4 minutes ago, Sumez said:

I can't really approve of any of this. NES Tetris has a bunch of issues, and Tetris.com and the other Guideline versions might be more approachable for casual play, but they only really work as a competitive game when you're going for weird unintuitive T-spin stacking setups, which changes the game to something else entirely, and just isn't fun in my opinion. These versions work exclusively as a versus game, becuase it's very easily playable infinitely without much skill required. This completely eliminates the risk-vs-reward stacking where you are at a constant risk of topping out, which is my favourite part of Tetris.

The pieces in NES Tetris are not completely random, unlike most other Tetris games before and after it. It has a one-piece memory that prevents overload of repeated pieces, and it improves the game a lot. It's still highly random and is often unfair, but a skilled player knows how to stack against that, which is the absolute core of the game. The 7-bag randomizer of modern guideline Tetris games is one of the worst ideas ever, honestly. A 21-bag or even a 14-bag would have been a lot better, considering the game is all about not knowing what's coming up (something that the hold button also eliminates tragically). That said, the best Tetris randomizer is in my opinion Tetris The Grandmaster 2, which is both highly unpredictable yet never unfair. It takes the formula from NES Tetris and improves it to perfection.

Yeah, the controls is what really breaks NES Tetris, they are essentially buggy. As it happens though, if not for these oddities the game would have been way too easy, and not the highly competitive game it is today. It's one of the only "early" Tetris releases that's still considered a high level game today.
It does have the problem that for a pure high scoring contest, once you hit a sufficiently high skill level a lot of the achievements you can go for are essentially about grinding for that one lucky game while not screwing it up. In my opinion, there should be no achievements over the maxout score, as any other metric is too luck dependent. However, for a 1-on-1 match with both players given the same piece sequence, it's an absolute riot, and one of the most entertaining competitive video games to watch!
Part of that being due to the fact that despite the high skill ceiling, it's still slow enough for most people to easily follow, which can't be said about vs. guideline Tetris or the Grandmaster series.

I'll agree to disagree. Maybe I'll change my mind when I play the original Tetris a lot more. I should look up videos about old Tetris strategy. I'll admit this is my first time playing this version in 20+ years. I'll also add that I never do t-spins in modern tetris, and despite that, I've won just under 20% of my Tetris 99 matches after playing over 500 total games.

Both original and new Tetris involve skill, but different kinds of skills. Old Tetris is more about adapting on the fly and knowing how to use every single piece the best you can in the moment. It's also a lot more luck based that new Tetris. If you go through a long dry spell of no i pieces, you're screwed imo. That never happens in new Tetris since you can hold an i piece. Even if there is a dry spell, just swap out your held piece. New Tetris is more about seeing the next several pieces and thinking several steps ahead and knowing which pieces to hold, and when to swap. 

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The original Tetris is pretty crappy, I'd just stay away from that. Sega Tetris or NES Tetris are the first ones that refined the game to something truly playable.

6 minutes ago, Makar said:

It's also a lot more luck based that new Tetris. If you go through a long dry spell of no i pieces, you're screwed imo.

That's not true. You'll have a lower scoring potential, which can be an issue in certain situations, that I've touched on, but if you're screwed from getting an I piece draught, that's your own fault as the player. 🙂

6 minutes ago, Makar said:

New Tetris is more about seeing the next several pieces and thinking several steps ahead and knowing which pieces to hold, and when to swap. 

I agree with that, it's about adapting to more information on the fly, but that should also be matched with a higher skill requirement IMO, which you only get from playing against another human player. It's really a different game entirely.

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3 minutes ago, Sumez said:

The original Tetris is pretty crappy, I'd just stay away from that. Sega Tetris or NES Tetris are the first ones that refined the game to something truly playable.

That's not true. You'll have a lower scoring potential, which can be an issue in certain situations, that I've touched on, but if you're screwed from getting an I piece draught, that's your own fault as the player. 🙂

I agree with that, it's about adapting to more information on the fly, but that should also be matched with a higher skill requirement IMO, which you only get from playing against another human player. It's really a different game entirely.

Yea I just need to play the NES Tetris a bit more to adapt my modern day strategy. I usually leave the far left or far right wide open and go for back to back or even back to back to back tetrises. That isn't really possible in NES Tetris and leaving the middle open rather than the far right or left might actually be a better strategy. I just gotta practice. 

And yes, with new Tetris, the only real competitor is another human. I could literally go on forever in marathon mode on Tetris axis on the 3ds even when the speed is maxed out. 

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Always leave the right side open on NES Tetris, unless you have a situation where you can optimize for a more dynamic stack. The left side is viable, but getting the I piece over there is harder, so I only go for it if I'm somehow forced to stack up on the right side.
Leaving the middle open might be more viable for a few purposes, but just maintaining the hole in the center is going to cost a lot of non-tetris line clears which will heavily affect scoring. I'd say it's truly valid only as a level 19+ strategy. The threshold in this game is so tight that you want a majority of your line clears going towards tetrises, as all other clears aren't worth near as much. If you do clear a non-tetris it should ideally be a single (which is directly opposite from a lot of other versions of Tetris).

Definitely don't save up for back-to-back though, there is no bonus for that. If you have an I piece coming up, and 4 solid rows waiting, you'll always want to clear the Tetris, unless you have another I piece dependency that's giving you trouble. Because you never know when the next one is going to show up. The randomizer is infuriating, but it's a good test of Tetris skills.

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1 hour ago, Sumez said:

Always leave the right side open on NES Tetris, unless you have a situation where you can optimize for a more dynamic stack. The left side is viable, but getting the I piece over there is harder, so I only go for it if I'm somehow forced to stack up on the right side.
Leaving the middle open might be more viable for a few purposes, but just maintaining the hole in the center is going to cost a lot of non-tetris line clears which will heavily affect scoring. I'd say it's truly valid only as a level 19+ strategy. The threshold in this game is so tight that you want a majority of your line clears going towards tetrises, as all other clears aren't worth near as much. If you do clear a non-tetris it should ideally be a single (which is directly opposite from a lot of other versions of Tetris).

Definitely don't save up for back-to-back though, there is no bonus for that. If you have an I piece coming up, and 4 solid rows waiting, you'll always want to clear the Tetris, unless you have another I piece dependency that's giving you trouble. Because you never know when the next one is going to show up. The randomizer is infuriating, but it's a good test of Tetris skills.

Getting a little better. Finally got to level 16 lol. (And yes I know the competition is over but I finally have some free time).

IMG_20200803_101459887.jpg

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Final scoreboard posted.
Congrats to @Sumez for his 1st VGS Weekly Constest win, @bertsampson for a respectable 2nd place and @mbd39 for a valiant 3rd place, almost breaking 500k!
Sadly, no one maxed the score this week. I am kinda disappointed.

@ninjistar I agree, yes. I should have asked people to start on level 18 for a fairer, more balanced challenge.

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