Friday, July 11, 2008

Tetris Tales

I know I'm showing my age when I say that Tetris is pretty much the only computer or video game I play with any regularity. Having recently started playing again (on a tiny dedicated Tetris-only hand-held game) has got me thinking about my Tetris history.

Though I remember playing Tetris some back in grad school, either on my old 386 machine or else the "Abusive Tetris" on the black and white Macs in Denney Hall, I rediscovered it while in the UK a few years back, when a colleague and I were stuck on a train in the middle of England, taking us from Leeds to King's Cross. We'd just come from the big medieval conference in Leeds and Erin needed to get to Heathrow, but track problems had first shifted us to a second train and then stranded us between stations. Standing and waiting, Erin pulled a little GameBoy out of her bag and started playing Tetris on it: the perfect solution for travel boredom or travel anxiety, it seemed to me.

So--the next time I went to England, Rose got me a Tetris game of my very own, and sure enough, I played it quite a bit when I was bored on the long flight to Heathrow. I went to King's Cross again (I was headed for a conference in York, this time) and barely made it onto a train, in full travel-anxiety mode. Soon after taking a seat, I thought I'd cool down with a little Tetris. I looked in my book bag, but my game was nowhere to be found: I think some pickpocket in the crowded train station must have grabbed it, probably thinking it was a Blackberry or PDA. At least it amuses me to think that's what happened; maybe I just left it in the overhead compartment on the plane.

But now I have another hand-held Tetris, and I'll probably play it quite a bit for a while, then (one hopes) it will go on the shelf again for a few more months. I mostly play the game where you try to get 25 lines done in the shortest time: currently my score is 1:25.90. Not bad, I think.


Michael said...

I remember playing Tetris so much in grad school that I would wind up staring at wallpaper patterns or furniture-filled rooms and imagining what Tetris shapes could fit where.

yarmando said...

He also played it so much it burned the image onto our monochrome monitor.

May have to look for a Tetris game for our NDS.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Tetris, For a while, my boyfriend and I had Tetris competitions. I really irked me that he beat my score consistently-and would probably give you a run for your money Tom-until he found a way to propose on it!

Now, even on long trans-Atlantic trips, I don't bring the Tetris. I can't bear to erase the high scores, which spell out "Will you marry me."

Perhaps one of the nerdiest ways to ever propose, I think!