Happy Birthday, Tetris!

Porting DOOM to everything that’s even vaguely Turing complete is a sport for the advanced hacker. But if you are just getting started, or want to focus more on the physical build of your project, a simpler game is probably the way to go. Maybe this explains the eternal popularity of games like PONG, Tetris, Snake, or even Pac-Man. The amount of fun you can have playing the game, relative to the size of the code necessary to implement them, make these games evergreen.

Yesterday was Tetris’ 40th birthday, and in honor of the occasion, I thought I’d bring you a collection of sweet Tetris hacks.

On the big-builds side of things, it’s hard to beat these MIT students who used colored lights in the windows of the Green Building back in 2012. They apparently couldn’t get into some rooms, because they had some dead pixels, but at that scale, who’s complaining? Coming in just smaller, at the size of a whole wall, [Oat Foundry]’s giant split-flap display Tetris is certainly noisy enough.

Smaller still, although only a little bit less noisy, this flip-dot Tetris is at home on the coffee table, while this one by [Electronoobs] gives you an excuse to play around with RGB LEDs. And if you need a Tetris for your workbench, but you don’t have the space for an extra screen, this oscilloscope version is just the ticket. Or just play it (sideways) on your business card.

All of the above projects have focused on the builds, but if you want to tackle your own, you’ll need to spend some time with the code as well. We’ve got you covered. Way back, former Editor in Chief [Mike Szczys] ported Tetris to the AVR platform. If you need color, this deep dive into the way the NES version of Tetris worked also comes with demo code in Java and Lua. TetrOS is the most minimal version of the game we’ve seen, coming in at a mere 446 bytes, but it’s without any of the frills.

No Tetris birthday roundup would be complete without mentioning the phenomenal “From NAND to Tetris” course, which really does what it says on the package: builds a Tetris game, and your understanding of computing in general, from the ground up.

Can you think of other projects to celebrate Tetris’ 40th? We’d love to see your favorites!

6 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Tetris!

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.