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NonShinyGoose 's profile
Any retro gamer worth their salt will know that Tetris was originally released on a range of primitive computers before Nintendo nabbed the rights and decided to bundle it with the GameBoy. However, it’s not quite so common knowledge that Columns was also originally for a machine other than the GameGear - the Atari ST. Jay Geertsen sold the rights to Sega, who thought it would be ideal to show off the GameGear’s colour screen.
I’m yet to meet a single person who thinks that Columns is better than Tetris. Obviously it looks a little better and the mellow music gets lodged in your brain instantly, but it’s nowhere near as addictive.
I think the reason for this is that Tetris requires planning ahead because the blocks are of different shapes; therefore it’s a whole lot more engaging. In Columns it’s just a simple case of matching three blocks (or more) of the same colour which requires minimum effort. Also, in Tetris when you make a mistake (ie - put a block in totally the wrong place) it’s usually fatal and can cost you dearly. You’ll curse, for sure, but you’ll also have to desire to put things right and will carry on playing just to see if you can fix your error. But here if you make a mistake it can usually be rectified quickly, therefore there’s no need to ever worry or panic. This can make Columns rather dull, particularly after several games in a row.
It’s not just batches of jewels that can be matched up in Columns - on the option screen there’s also the ability to change the blocks into pieces of fruit, dice and solid blocks. It is a little hard to make out the amount of dots on the dice though. There’s also a choice of three musical scores, a link-up mode and an extra game - Flash Columns. Here the screen is already full of blocks and has to be cleared down to a certain level.
Despite not being as addictive as Sega might have lead you to believe back in the 90s, it’s still an essential part of any GameGear collection. Give Super Columns wide berth though. It’s what Tetris 2 is to the original Tetris - a completely pointless sequel.