Tetris (Game Boy)

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Tetris (Gameboy) boxart.jpg
North American cover art
Platform(s)Game Boy, Nintendo Switch Online
ReleaseGame Boy
  • JP: June 14, 1989
  • US: July 31, 1989
  • EU: September 28, 1990
Nintendo 3DS
  • WW: December 2011
Nintendo Switch Online
  • WW: February 8, 2023
Gameplay info
Next pieces1
Playfield size10 × 18
Hold pieceNo
Hard dropNo
Rotation systemNintendo Rotation System, left-handed
Tetris (Game Boy) title.png
Tetris (Game Boy) ingame.png

Tetris (テトリス Tetorisu) was released for the Game Boy in 1989. In North America and Europe it was bundled with the Game Boy, and later on sold as a stand alone game. It is the first game to make use of the Game Boy's Link Cable, an accessory that allows two Game Boys to connect to each other. On December 2011, a 3DS Virtual Console version was released, without multiplayer functionality, and was subsequently delisted from the Nintendo eShop on December 31, 2014.

A color remake, Tetris DX, was released for the Game Boy and Game Boy Color in 1998, featuring new modes, color, and new rotation system.

On February 8, 2023, Nintendo announced the addition of Game Boy games to Nintendo Switch Online, including Tetris, with online and local wireless multiplayer.[1]

This was the first widely distributed Tetris game to feature 2-player battles with garbage using the Link Cable.


The scoring is based on that of the BPS games but with a level multiplier incorporated, detailed here. The same system would be used in several other Tetris games with minor variations. The maximum score is 999,999.

The "heart levels" (activated by holding Down+Start at the title screen) are as fast as the level plus 10, but unlike on the NES version, they don't improve the score. However, they do allow you to use the "heart" symbol when entering a highscore name.



A-TYPE is an endless marathon mode. The player chooses a level from 0 to 9 to start from, and as they clear lines the level increases. The maximum level is 20. The formula for determining when the level increases is: startLevel * 10 + 10 for the first level increase, after this the level increases once every 10 lines.


B-TYPE is a 25 lines mode. The player may also select a height from 0 to 5, which will increase the amount of garbage the game starts with. The height * 2 is the amount of lines that will appear at the start.

2 Player

2 Player mode is a garbage-based battle mode played using the Link Cable. Before starting each player can configure their starting height. Garbage is single aligned hole (same for both players) and based on a system that sends 1 line on a double, 2 lines on a triple and 4 lines on a Tetris. In addition, if a player clears 30 lines then they win the round automatically.

Both players have the same piece sequence, same starting garbage and same garbage hole. First to 4 rounds wins the match.


The Game Boy runs at 59.73 frames per second.

  • Soft drop: 1/3G
  • ARE: 2 frames (tetromino is invisible for first frame after it spawns)
  • ARE+line clear: 93 frames
  • DAS: 24 frames (1/9G)
Speed levels[a]
Level Frames per row
0 53
1 49
2 45
3 41
4 37
5 33
6 28
7 22
8 17
9 11
10 10
11 9
12 8
13 7
14 6
15 6
16 5
17 5
18 4
19 4
20 3


Nintendo sub-licensed the handheld rights to Tetris from Bullet-Proof Software[2] after Henk Rogers, Bullet-Proof's owner, licensed the handheld rights from Elorg.[3] Rogers had also convinced Nintendo to package Tetris with every new Game Boy system. An exception was in Japan, where the system did not come bundled with any games. Many players of the Game Boy generation remain familiar to this title, having sold over 35 million copies.[4] Having Tetris packaged with the Game Boy is also often credited as contributing heavily to the system's success.


There is a theme that references this in Tetris Effect.


  1. This table is located at 1B06h in the ROM; each entry is one less than the actual number of frames. For example, level 1, or 49 = 31h frames, is stored as 30h.


  1. "Get a taste of old-school portable power with Game Boy – Nintendo Switch Online". Nintendo.com. 2023-02-08. Archived from the original on 2023-02-09. Retrieved 2023-02-09.
  2. Boot-up screen with legal information (Game Boy version)
  3. "Tetris: From Russia with Love" (BBC Documentary)
  4. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gamehunters/post/2009/06/68024593/1

External links