February 10, 2006

Tetris as time-limit jigsaw

The reductionism of the faux-ludoterate has now gone as far as people claiming that GTA3 has "the same basic gameplay as Zelda."

Of course, to claim this you have to disregard the aspects of the game that were simply not possible in 1987, such as bonuses for pulling stunts. And the dungeons are supposed to be what, the equivalent to missions? You might as well claim that Tetris has the same basic gameplay as a tabletop jigsaw puzzle.

...actually, that's something of an interesting angle. Is Tetris just a more abstract animated jigsaw with a time limit and high scores?

Obviously not, since it feels like an entirely different kind of fun. Perhaps the crucial factor here is the computer invisible-opponent/referee acting out the rules unfailingly.

Another interesting thing: Tetris may be one of the simplest games that has potential for something like emergent complications — allowing you to bungle the game in funny ways, making mistakes until the well is almost filled before making a strong comeback and working all the way to the bottom before finally succumbing to the pace of level 12...

Hmm. Maybe there's an essay in there.