Plain old vanilla, Tetris... oh, where would I be without you? The original Nintendo release of Tetris is just so hugely important to me. As a kid, I first got it on Game Boy at launch in 1989, and subsequently, we got the NES version for our house as well, because even though we had TWO Game Boys with Tetris in the house, it just wasn't enough for all of us.
I have a lot of memories linked to that original game.
I remember one time, when I was about twelve I had to go under anesthesia for some minor surgery. It was super scary to me. My mom came with me to the hospital, and before the surgery we played GB Tetris together via the link cable. At one point the nurse came in to give me some kind of muscle relaxant prior to the anesthesia, and my mom told me years later that it made her super sad because it was the only time she ever was able to beat me at Tetris - as my little brain started to slow.
We also had this summer cottage we'd go to that belonged to my step-dad's mom. It was walking distance to a private beach. The cottage was nothing special - it was small, and the bedrooms didn't even have walls that went all the way to the ceiling. Sleeping there at night was SWELTERING. But, man, I don't know - special memories. Anyway, that cottage had a NES with a limited stock of games... Dr. Mario, Jeopardy, and Tetris. Basically, stuff that adults would enjoy. But wow, did I love playing Tetris there late at night when everyone else went to bed.
To say that Tetris is deeply embedded in my gamer DNA is an understatement. It's a desert island game for me. If hard pressed, it MIGHT be my #1 game of all time. I mean... it's Tetris.
Of course in the years since I've played many other versions of Tetris. In fact, Tetris 99 is my most played Switch game with nearly 200 hours on it - yikes! So going back to vanilla Tetris on NES is a weird experience. I had forgotten how many quality of life changes were made over the years.
You have no visual indication of where your piece will fall, so you have to judge it in real time.
You can't fast drop.
You can't rotate next to a wall.
You can't spin pieces once they connect with another piece.
You can't SLIDE a piece once it's connected - ouch.
The colors aren't unique to pieces, so I constantly confuse the L and its opposite.
There's probably more stuff I'm forgetting, but it's a lot deprogramming your brain when you go back to the original version. And yet, it's still totally compelling.
I recently got this little 10" LCD monitor to use as a way to play my N64 portably. I love having the option of playing games on a small screen while the TV is on in the background. Sometimes my wife is watching something (usually true crime shows) and I like playing games, while spending time with her. Sometimes she goes to bed early and I want to play a game with a rerun of The Office on in the background. Right now, Michael is hooking up with Donna and everyone's urging him to get out of that relationship, for example.
Anyway, this little monitor rules. I think it's usurped my other ways of playing most systems "portably." I had an Intec screen for my Gamecube, a Hyperkin Supaboy for SNES, and a MyArcade Retro Champ for NES. But this thing... this is awesome.
So I hooked up my Retron5 to this screen and fired up Tetris and it looks SO MUCH better than playing on the Retro Champ. Plus, I can use a legit SNES controller which is so comfortable.
I had read that the ultimate ending screen for NES Tetris was a UFO - which is awesome. But you needed to hit 120,000 in score for that. I had no problem hitting just under 100,000 regularly, but it took me two nights to finally see the UFO for myself, and I feel good, topping out at 124k.
Tetris will never get old to me, in any shape or form.