Multiplayer Tetris Is Ten Years In The Making (And Counting)

Alexey Pajitnov, creator of Tetris, may be semi-retired these days, but he still likes to dabble in a bit of game design from time to time. At the moment, for example, he's working on multiplayer Tetris.

"We are working on multiplayer versions for more than 10 years — I've been trying to design it. I should admit that we are not quite there yet," Pajitnov tells Gamasutra.

"It was quite a problem with Tetris that... the game is very intense, you know? If you play on the high level — and that's where you want to play usually. So, you play on the edge of your abilities, in terms of the speed and reaction, and everything. So, you kind of have no brain resources to observe what the other people are doing."

"That's the kind of measured theoretical problem which we need to resolve with multiplayer Tetris."

If you slow it down, it takes away the frantic thrills that make the game great. If you leave the speed and mechanics as they are, it doesn't work. Sounds like a rock and a hard place, but Pajitnov is optimistic.

"...there are still very promising ways to do it, so the version we have now is pretty good," he says. "I mean, when you send the garbage in the multiplayer to the other player, it kind of works."

"But unfortunately, my dream would be the game, when you could really see what the other people do and take their gameplay and their achievement and their status in the game really in account. That's what the main joy of a multiplayer game is, in my opinion."

Alexey Pajitnov - Tetris: Past, Present, Future [Gamasutra]


    i has an idea.

    make it so every time you clear a line of bricks, your opponents game gets faster and harder.

    so the better you go, the harder it is for your opponent.

    one flaw with this though, is that both players have to be pretty equal in ability. to fix this you could have a handicap so one person starts with faster spawning bricks than their opponent, or another idea, clearing a line impacts on your opponent more than usual if your losing.

    just a thought...

    I have an idea.......
    First to 100 wins :)

    Just put a very very thin, dashed like at the "base", or where the bottom of the screen would be in single player mode, and both players see themselves as the top half of the screen, and the other player on the bottom half of the screen.

    Makes versus mode fun, since you can see what the other is doing if need be.

    The REAL challenge would be co-op tetris.

    Tetrinet came out in like 1997, I think he's been beaten to the punch just a little.

    How about a co-op mode where two blocks fall down and each person looks after a block?


    Am I missing something here? There have been shitloads of multiplayer modes in various Tetris games (with varying levels of success, I might add). I know he's the creator of the game, and he does comment on the 'garbage' element, but what the hell is he smoking?

    The New Tetris on the Nintendo 64 had an absolutely brilliant 4-player mode.

    The first and most basic Tetris multiplayer modes are up to 4 games running at once independant of each other. And another is one game but each player places a block, sometime together and sometimes in turn. Just colour code each players blocks.

    With a Wii, you could output the sound through the Wii-mote, with a 360 or PS3 you do it through the headset.

    hanging on to past glories, how sad. i am sure i played multiplayer tetris on my XT Turbo powered PC about 20 years ago

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