Saturday, November 5, 2011

Top 50 Video Game Moments: Number 29

This one's another lame one. It comes to us from the absolutely brilliant game Tetris (specifically this version). It's more a personal bragging right, and it's not really all that impressive, but I was pretty damn impressed at the time, and this list is a lot more nostalgic than the other one.

For the longest time, level ten on the Microsoft Entertainment Pack version of Tetris was essentially a death zone. I could get there with little effort, but once I got there, it was just a matter of time (usually short) before I'd make a tiny error, and the pieces would stack wrong, and I'd be buried and lose. Everything just happened so fast, and the margin for error was just so small.

Then one day, I got in the zone. Everything felt zen - I was adjusting to every piece with ease, leaving plenty of room for whatever the game would throw my way. I wasn't just playing a good game of Tetris; I was playing, by far, the best game of Tetris I'd ever played.

Eventually, as it always does, the moment passed, and I lost. In the heat of the moment, I had obviously been unable to keep tabs on my score, but I knew it was going to be good. I glanced up to see how I fared, and to my amazement, saw a negative number. I had gotten such a high score that it overflowed the counter and spilled negative.

Much like the last moment, I haven't tracked down the version of Tetris in question, and none of the few screenshots to show a negative score are mine, so they don't really mean anything, but the shock of breaking the score counter, combined with the absolute zen-like feeling I had while playing that game is an excitement I've never really surpassed (with a couple of exceptions, but they're higher up on this list, obviously).


  1. Oh, that zen moment. I've had that while playing basketball before, where every shot goes in. And I've had it in games like this. Problem is, once you realize you're in that zone, you think about it too much.

    I think my great success in Tetris is beating Level 18, Height 3 (i.e. getting 25 lines). I still don't know how I did it to this day.

    Perhaps my greatest zen moment was in Punch-Out when I beat Mike Tyson without getting hit once.

  2. Also, we had Microsoft Windows Entertainment Pack 3. Spent an inordinate amount of time playing TriPeaks and Fuji Golf. Also, Ski Free!

  3. Weird...I was going to make a basketball comparison here.

    I had this zen moment to beat the final boss on the hard difficulty on PixelJunk Sidescroller yesterday. You pretty much have to go zen to beat it, actually.

  4. Also, I don't want "Curse the Z Block" to go without a mention. There's a tag that should come in handy!

  5. @Beau: Of all the versions of Tetris I've played, one of the ones I never spent much time with was the Nintendo version, but I've played enough to know that Level 18, Height 3 is a hell of an accomplishment. Also, for me, a zen moment in basketball is if I make two free throws in a row. Ski Free just about made it on this very list, because of the yeti.

    @Spooky: I want to play PixelJunk games. Stupid xbox. Also, I expect that 'Curse the Z Block' will make at least one more appearance. Maybe it'll make another one if I end up getting put in a very large prison?

  6. Sidescroller is the worst PixelJunk game I've played (I've played all besides Racing), which is to say it's only about a 7 out of 10. It's too short and the difference between difficulty levels is laughably extreme, but it was still plenty of fun. It's not like their two best, though - Monsters and Eden - that have ridiculous replay value. Two and three years later, I still haven't put either down.