50/365 – Meditation Games #50 – Mother’s Tetris

Developer: Pekka Kujansuu

Launcher Quote: “This game is dedicated to my mother, who passed away this day in 2013. She was a fan of puzzles and an excellent Tetris player. Life goes on, but it certainly doesn’t feel the same.”

Tetris is one of the most well-known classic games, in part because of its simplicity but also its challenge and wide-ranging ease to pick up. That’s why today’s entry from Pekka is charming to me, and that’s before factoring in the nice homage to Pekka’s mother, who passed away a few years back.

I have fond memories of Tetris back when I was younger, and played it frequently on my Game Boy when I was more into portable gaming. The tinny, repeating music from that game is still music I hear in my head if I concentrate on it, remembering nights when I couldn’t sleep and the attached reading light was the only thing allowing me to put down more blocks in what would become an amazing puzzle game across different platforms. Working in the blocks into the shapes was like getting on a bike and trying to ride it again (including falling off when I made mistakes). Tetris has appeal because it falls into this category of it being an “everyman” game – one that has casual appeal as well as challenges for advanced players – but it’s also nice because it allows you to showcase some of that mental exercise skill you’re supposed to be engaging into keep yourself sharp.

Funnily enough, this entry shows up right as Tetris is receiving a potential renaissance in the form of a new Battle Royale style combat element in Tetris 99 for the Nintendo Switch. Sure, back in the day you could send garbage blocks to your friend playing on their Game Boy, but doing that to 99 other people at once? That sounds absolutely brutal, but also insightful as far as potential gaming communities go. I’m certain that there is a small segment of “pro” Tetris players who don’t meet the normal gamer demographic that are tearing it up in that game right now, or who may have stumbled upon this to play.

Either way, today’s entry does highlight the sharing that developers sometimes do when it comes to their creations. There’s a part of themselves or their lives that they leave in the work that they do, which is why it’s important to respect the effort even when the game is worthy of a bit of criticism in order to make better. You can’t know for sure, until they tell you, what they’ve left on the table as far as a game is concerned, but in the Tetris game’s case, I got an experience that I know was laden with memories of mom, and thus feels a lot more poignant.

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