Let's Meet the Tetris Pieces

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The first time I played Tetris, I was hooked. I played it for seven hours straight. When I closed my eyes, I could “still” see the Tetris pieces falling. Imagine my surprise when Colin emailed me his Top 5 list… of Tetris pieces!

I write this top five list, even though I know that there are only five different pieces in Tetris, because I fell that it is important for people to know which pieces should be valued over others, and to inform people of each piece’s full potential. Pieces shouldn’t be wasted just because people have no idea how to use each one. And thus let the countdown in order, of the five best pieces in Tetris.

  • The “Z” piece I have found is extremely useless. If you get it on the first move, then you have to struggle to get an “L” Shaped piece under the top, or some other strategy to prevent any possible gaps. It isn’t a hard thing to do, but it can easily be messed up. The mere fact that something as difficult to use as the “Z” shape also comes in two ways, only makes the process even more difficult. Now you have to worry about having the right kind of “Z”, and it just becomes a mess. I have also noticed that there always seems to be a block sticking out in the wrong way. The “Z” piece in my opinion is just too much hassle. However, this list isn’t meant to bash on the pieces, but is meant to help people improve their scores, so here are some tips in using the “Z” shape. The “Z” Shaped piece can be used in a “T” shaped gap so that when you get a “T”, rather than putting it in, you won’t have to worry about making a gap with the annoying “Z”. Unless you have an army of square and line pieces coming up, it is always a good idea to have bumpy terrain so that you can fit things into the right spots.
  • The square shape, for the most part, is useless. I don’t mean to say it cannot be used at all, but simply that I, and many others who agree with me, could live without it. There really isn’t much to say about the square piece. The complexity is the downfall of the “Z”, but I would say that the simplicity of the square is its downfall. I have to say that it isn’t really a hard piece to use, and I’m sure everyone who plays Tetris knows when it can and can’t be productively used. It’s just to me, the odds that you will get them in a place where you have a two by two gap is unlikely, and there are many other ways to fill up the space (but not with the “Z”, which only illustrates my first point further). A tip for dealing with the square shape is to, before you get it, build towers of blocks with two-space gaps between them. This doesn’t always work, but it would prevent potential gaps.
  • The “L” shaped piece is a very powerful piece. I have to admit, it has saved my butt more times than I can count. It isn’t in the third space for any particular reason, besides the fact that I prefer the next two pieces over this one; this is because of two main reasons. One: There are two kinds of them. If you don’t know what I mean, allow me to explain. If you have an “L” or even “Z” shape, you can have it in four different positions, let’s say with the L. You can have it base down, like the letter “L” is written, you can have it base to the left, which is like a lowercase “r” with the top extended and without the curves, you can have it base up, which is an upside-down “L” which some people might say looks like the number 7 and finally, you can have it base right, like it is lying on the long side with the base perpendicular to the floor. But what if there is a gap that doesn’t fit the 7-like shape of the “L”? What if the gap is backwards with the line on the other side? This is why they make two different kinds of “L” and “Z” shapes. This is why it is more difficult to use. You need to have the right kind for the right gap. The second reason why I dislike the “L” shape is because when you have one by one boxes, from other shapes, sticking out, you can’t lay it on its side without making one or more gaps. It isn’t big, but it is really what separates it, from the other “power pieces”. How can someone use the “L” shape you must wonder? The “L” shape has a big advantage over other pieces because of its length. The “L” and the line pieces are the only pieces that can fit, gaplessly in a deep hole. Even if the space is more than two pieces deep, the “L” shape will do the trick when a line piece is unavailable. It may be a small detail, but very helpful when you are pressed for time and space. Another tip, although it is well known, is to lay the “L” shape, long side down when it is on a flat surface, or bottom down in a two by two gap, to allow a “T”, line, or even the backwards ”Z” shape to fill the space.
  • The famous line piece, is well known throughout the globe as being the best, greatest, or even holiest piece of them all, but it seems a bit overrated to me. I do love the line piece, but there are still flaws that cannot be overlooked. I know you can knock out four lines at one time with the legendary line piece, but as legend states, “thou shall not get thy line piece when thou need-eth it, however, when it be-eth the worst time for it to come.” Fact is, you never get it when you need it. Maybe it is just bad luck, or a joke by the programmers when they were designing the game, but no one seems to ever get the line when they need it. This fact only amplifies its flaws. When you get the line piece when you don’t need it, the line piece seems to generate unneeded and definitely un-liked gaps. For the most part, the line piece is great though, and it is the easiest piece to use. While the square shape’s flaw is its simplicity, it is the line piece’s greatest strength. The line piece is so simple, I don’t really think I have to get into much detail with it, it speaks for itself.
  • The “T” shape is my personal favorite shape of the five. Most people right now are thinking, hey, how is the “T” shape better than the line? People my whole life have told to me and explained blah blah blah. Honestly, the “T” shape is the ultimate shape, and doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves. So what if it can’t fit in four-space gaps, those are reserved for the line piece. The line piece is more of a finisher piece to knock out multiple lines at a time, while the “T” shape is more of a strategic building shape. It can fit into almost anything, with the exception of long gaps and two by twos, but if you play right, you can easily recover, if not automatically recover from using the “T” shape in those situations. Not only is the “T” shape the most reliable, but it is also a very common shape. It could come multiple times in a matter of seconds. The “T” shape is also a one way shape. You don’t have to worry about having the wrong kind of “T” shape, because there is only one. Honestly, if you think that the “T” shape isn’t as good as the line, or even another shape, think about how useful the “T” shape is next time you play Tetris. It is an easy piece to use, and shouldn’t take more than a level or two to master it and wield its power to its fullest.

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