There's a scene in High Fidelity I've always loved. Rob's being interviewed, and the journalist asks him what his favorite album is and he's just confused at the question. Like, favorite album for the club? For chilling out? What? It's too vague a question. When you're a casual fan of music, I guess you can easily have a favorite album. When you're obsessed, how do you even answer that?
I guess I've always felt the same way about games. Invariably, when people in my life (relatives, co-workers, etc) find out I'm a gamer they ask my favorite game. But like... how do you even answer that? My favorite game for relaxing? Or for co-op? Or like, my favorite game as a kid, or now?
But I came to a conclusion this week. If I really distill that question into its simplest form - my favorite game of all time. The game I've loved the longest, and played the longest, in the most versions. The game that I'd be cool with taking to that imaginary desert island? The game that could hold up to the most replays without getting old?
Dudes, my favorite game of all time must be Tetris.
Since receiving Tetris as a pack-in with my Game Boy in 1989, I've played so many variations that I can't even remember them all. NES, DOS, Super Nintendo, Game Boy Color, Gamecube, Dreamcast, DS, and I'm certain I'm leaving things out. Tetris never gets old to me.
In 2019 we saw the release of Tetris 99 - a game that I called the game I never knew I needed. It went on to be my most played game of the year.
So did I really need another version of Tetris when Tetris Effect was released? Maybe not. But I've been so into streaming Xbox games to my Surface Go that I can't seem to resist picking up new Xbox games anymore. I mean, this would be more Tetris, but on a 10" screen instead of the Switch's - what? 5" screen? - while listening to the TV. So yeah, when it dropped on sale for $25 instead of $40, it was a no brainer.
Tetris Effect was developed by Tetsuya Mizuguchi. If you don't know, this is the dude that made Rez. And Child Of Eden. And Lumines. That last one is really important to me. Lumines is a pretty huge puzzle game to me. One of the few that I'd put up there in the top tier. Like, nothing tops Tetris. But Lumines and Puzzle Fighter, those games come damn close.
But Tetris Effect is amazing. I say this as someone who's put like 200 hours into Tetris Effect in the past couple years. The thing about Tetris Effect is that it's basic Tetris at its core, but it's all about the experience and about the audio and visual stimulants. You've got crazy zen-like visuals going on like outer space stuff and underwater stuff, and then you've got pulsing trance music and it's all just like an insane trip. If you've played Rez or Lumines, you already know.
Beyond that you've got a hugely fully featured array of options. There's a single player campaign "Journey Mode," in three different difficulties. I knocked out all three in a couple nights - no bragging. Then you've got various single player challenges like the standard Marathon or Chill Mode or much, much crazier challenges. Then there's some intense multiplayer modes to delve into.
Maybe most importantly, there's a dearth of record-keeping. And I'm a guy who loves stats. I keep spreadsheet on everything. I love data.
So here we are. I'm telling you that I'm biased. I love Tetris. It's my favorite game. And I've played a lot of these games. Heck, in this generation alone I've picked up Puyo Puyo Tetris, Tetris 99 and now this. And y'know what? This is the most fully featured version I've ever played. It's like the ultimate Tetris... until the next one comes out? Who knows! But I'm sure I'll check out the next one and sink way too many hours into it too.