Turn Back The Clock

Tetris/Dr. Mario

Distributed By: Nintendo

Reviewed by Justine Manzano 


     I am crazy about Bejeweled.  It is addictive and used to keep me away from work for hours before I realized that I would get my homework done with a lot less panic without it.  The truth is, that this highly addictive, fun and colorful game is merely a copy—the high tech daughter of two of the greatest games in history.  So, let’s jump back into the way back machine and take a look at a couple of games that everyone has played once.

     Either you were seriously deprived as a child or your younger version had the lovely 8-bit gaming system known to us as the NES—or the Nintendo Entertainment System.  Good times, good times.  So you’ve got the Nintendo and the spectacular double game Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt package.  What was the next game you had to get?  Well, Tetris of course! 

     What is Tetris?  I’m sorry have you been living in a cave all your life?  Tetris is a very colorful game that was clearly invented by the Russians as a post-cold war gift or a way to keep us all preoccupied as the spies got their information.  One can’t be sure.  It is clear that the game was Russian, because strange words graced the start menu screen, like “Elorg,” which as a kid, I used to shout out randomly, unaware of the fact that it meant, “Die American scum!”  Oh, I don’t actually know what it means—I don’t speak Russian!

     Well in this game, the Tetris Gods, which you don’t actually see, but I have faith that they exist, send down different color blocks with different shapes that you must fit together to make lines.  It seems pretty simple, but the Tetris Gods play with you constantly, refusing to give you the proper block necessary to make four lines, which they call a Tetris—again, I’m unsure of why.  To add panic to the mess, the crazy Russian style music speeds if you don’t clear lines fast enough, leading you to frantically throw pieces wherever, leaving all grade school building blocks abilities out the window, and causing the blocks to fill up the screen and the ominous slamming noise that makes it clear that you lost.  What could make it more clear than a slamming noise? 

     You would think that this would be good for about an hour of diversion—wrong!  Soon, you’re screaming at the Tetris Gods for toying with you with all the passion of a junkie looking for his next fix.  You just need to get past level 9—just one more game!

     And as if that wasn’t bad enough, that’s just the A game.  The B game begins with an impossible number of blocks already on the screen, and you mission is to make as many lines as possible out of what you’ve got.  Add that to the fact that you’ve got 3 types of crazy Russian music to choose from, including one that feels like it should accompany a horse galloping and you’ve got an incredible game. 

     But that wasn’t enough for Nintendo.  They also had to create Dr. Mario.  In this game, Mario has given up plumbing and has gotten a PHD in medicine.  Now he has irresponsibly captured red, yellow, and blue germs in a bottle, figuring he’ll throw random pills in the bottle to stop them.  You’re job is to flip the pills around and move them so that you can match up the pills of the same color against one germ killing it.  There is even a view on the side of the screen of the germs, so you can see how you are hurting them when you kill one.

     This game is equally addictive as its predecessor.  It’s got its own crazy music, which makes you nearly as nervous as the Tetris music, but I have a theory that the Russian element of the Tetris music just makes it scarier.  And you find that you’re trying to win because you’re just tired of the germs laughing at you when you fail to contain them. 

     I still have an NES at home and these games are still as addictive as they were back when…oh crap!  I just realized that the true mother of this time consuming line of games is Connect Four.  Guess that’ll have to be another article. 


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