The Tetris effect is a condition where prolong and repeated playing of Tetris start to pattern your waking thoughts. So, you might see tetrominoes falling when you close your eyes to ready yourself for sleep or you rearrange your suitcase so that its contents fit, just like you would in the game. Then, there’s The Tetris Effect, which I played that I’m still thinking about as I write this.
Taking the classic game by Alexey Pajitnov, c0-producer Tetsuya Mizuguchi (who also made Lumines) created The Tetris Effect to be more of a heightened experience, both aurally and visually. It’s a synesthetic trip: a musical cue can synch with a falling tetromino or a clearing of lines. It adds an impetus to your gameplay, an impact to whatever moves you make in real-time; the music gets faster when the stack increases, the light show gets to near-epileptic when it speeds up.
But with the sound and imagery overload, sometimes, it gets confusing.
This isn’t as clean as your NES-version of Tetris. Certain stages in The Tetris Effect have afterimages of cleared lines or when the background light effects pulsate wildly that it distracts you from the game.
But when you get the feel of it, it starts to get easier. And, dare I say it, you’re so drawn into it that the outside world is just white noise that you ignore. It’s odd. I actually was so engrossed in clearing a level that I entered into a fugue state—I’ve missing time; I’m unresponsive to outside stimulus from my concerned family members. For an even more immersive experience, slip on the VR headset and, I swear, it’s like you’re sucked into a Matrix-like world.
Again, if you prefer to play the game without the visual whizzbang, you can alter the settings.
Another new feature of The Tetris Effect is the Zone: clearing lines build up your Zone meter; once that’s filled, you can halt time and clear as many lines as possible (when you’re in the Zone, cleared lines are pushed to the bottom, where you can accumulate as much cleared lines as possible. See if you can clear 16 rows within the time limit of the Zone to get the very rare decahexatris).
A big part of the gameplay is the music; it is eclectic. From the use of the tabla to the techno drops, the soundtrack wraps you in a dream blanket. You’re in a state of bliss, cocooned in a world of synth pop.
I mean, have you ever hear the Russian folk song, “Kalinka”, in all its techno glory?
Whoops, I mean, have you the Russian folk song, “Korobeiniki”, in all its techno glory.