A Sport

Tetris

Tetris is an unusual game. On paper, it seems unlikely that something so fundamental could have lasted so long after 1975. Despite this, it has remained a popular video game for decades. It was created in Russia, and no one expected it to become as successful as it did. Nonetheless, it is so popular because it fits all of the basic characteristics for an entertaining game. That is, it contains objectives, rules, and feedback; participation is optional; and there are needless impediments that keep the game interesting.

Goals

Tetris has a basic goal: you must bring down blocks from the top of the screen. You can rotate the blocks and/or move them around from left to right. The blocks fall at a certain rate, but if you’re sure of your placing, you can make them fall quicker. Your goal is to get all of the blocks to fill all of the vacant space in a line at the bottom of the screen; if you succeed, the blocks will vanish and you will be rewarded with points.

A goal motivates us to play the game. Tetris has an exceedingly basic reason to play: pitting your wits against a programmed block dropper to see how long you can stay.

Rules

Tetris has very simple rules: you can only move the pieces in specific ways; your game ends if your pieces reach the top of the screen; and you can only remove pieces from the screen by filling all the empty space in a line.

Our games require a lot of structure, and rules provide that. A completely random environment would be extremely frustrating because it would provide no clue as to how to play. Tetris’ three rules are, therefore, fortunate in shaping it into such an award-winning game.

Feedback

Tetris rewards you with extra points each time you clear a line. Your game is done when your pieces reach the top of the screen. That means that if you’re not paying attention, your game might be gone in a flash.

Tetris provides immediate and unmistakable feedback. You can always tell how well you’re doing while playing the game. We enjoy receiving comments since it allows us to gauge how satisfied or dissatisfied we are with our work. It’s a gauge of how much pleasure we’re having, and it continuously pushes us to improve. In addition, the game’s escalating speeds produce a significant amount of endorphins and dopamine. If you believe that how hard you yell “Argh!” when you lose a game is a good sign of its worth, you’re on the correct track.

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