It doesn’t get more old-school than this. Pretty much every bell and whistle that has been invented for Tetris is absent in this nostalgic variant, including the Next Queue, Hold Queue, and Ghost Piece. You can’t even perform Hard Drops. The only way to really rack up points in Tetris 1989 is with Tetrises, which are worth big points in this classic Tetris game.
• Throw most of your advanced techniques out the window. It’s just you and the Tetrimino, so you better know how to maneuver it correctly.
• Despite how many older versions of Tetris played, Lock Downs are not immediate, meaning you can move the Tetrimino around for a quick moment after it lands.
• Tetrises are worth big points, but the lack of a Hold Queue and even Combo bonuses make waiting for back-to-back Tetrises a waste of time.
Using the arrow keys, you can adjust where and how the Tetriminos fall. By pressing the LEFT and RIGHT Arrow keys, you can slide the falling Tetrimino from side to side. You can’t slide a Tetrimino past the edge of the Matrix. By pressing the UP Arrow key, you can rotate the Tetrimino 90 degrees clockwise. You can move the Tetriminos even after they Lock Down at the bottom of the Matrix briefly. The Tetrimino will Lock Down as soon as you stop trying to move it. At that point, the next Tetrimino will begin to fall.
With there being no value in T-Spins and Combos, Tetrises are the only worthwhile big move to shoot for. Clearing four lines at a time, known as getting a Tetris, is worth a tremendous amount of points, and is one of the most important strategic concepts to know.
Leave a one-square-wide gap on the side of the Matrix to prepare for a Tetris. Build up Tetriminos on the opposite side of the gap to avoid blocking the gap. Don’t drop the I-Tetrimino into the gap until you have at least four complete lines built up in your stack.
Tip: The I-Tetrimino is the only one that will clear four lines at once, making them extremely valuable; you want to be ready for when one appears. The best thing to do is build up a stack of Tetriminos, leaving one column on either the far left or far right side open. Concentrate on not leaving any gaps in the stack. You can let this stack grow and grow while you wait, because once you nail a Tetris the stack will shrink considerably. Be careful, though—leave one misplaced block over that long open gap and you’re in big trouble!
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