Tetris (Sega)

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Tetris (Sega) flyer.jpg
Platform(s)Sega System 16B
Sega System 16A
Sega System E
Taito H System
Taito B System
ReleaseDecember 20, 1988
Gameplay info
Next pieces1
Playfield size10 × 20
Hold pieceNo
Hard dropNo
Rotation systemSega Rotation (no wall kicks)
This article is about the 1988 arcade version. For the 1999-2000 arcade and Dreamcast version, see Sega Tetris.

Tetris is an arcade game published by Sega in 1988. It took Japanese arcades by storm, and is one of the most commonly known versions of the game. Due to its popularity, it became the base of rules for many other Japanese games created later on, both licensed and unlicensed. Such games include the TGM series, Tetris Plus series, Tetris S and Shimizu Tetris. It was one of the first games to instate lock delay, improving maneuverability greatly at high speeds compared to games which did not have the feature.


Japanese man playing Tetris (Sega)

Being an early game, released just one year after Elorg licensed Tetris to publishers, there was only one rotation button, which rotated counterclockwise. It also did not implement wall kicks or hard drop. However, many of the mechanics that exist in later games were first introduced here, such as 1G DAS movement, lock delay, ARE, and rotation/movement processed before gravity—allowing for synchro moves to be performed at 1G fall speed. One game design element not commonly seen in recent games is the existence of the field ceiling. The field height is fixed at 20 cells, and any rotation that would exceed that height would fail.

This version was one of the first games released in Japan to popularize the marathon play model of playing endlessly against increasing speed for survival, as opposed to a goal such as, beating levels, or clearing a predefined number of lines.


Speed Levels

Graph of gravity timings per level
Fall speed table; frames per cell
Level Easy Normal Hard Hardest
0 48 48 40 30
1 32 24 20 15
2 24 18 16 12
3 18 15 12 10
4 14 12 10 8
5 12 10 8 6
6 10 8 6 4
7 8 6 4 2
8 6 4 2 1
9 4 2 1 1
10 12 10 10 8
11 10 8 8 6
12 8 6 6 4
13 6 4 4 2
14 4 2 2 1
15 2 1 1 1

Level advancement requirements

There are 2 ways to increase the level.

  • Clear 4 lines in any combination of line clears.
  • Place a tetromino after the "level timer" reaches a certain value. (Level will not increase if a line clear happens. [Clarification needed])

The level timer increases every frame, except when reset after line clearing and before level-up is shown.

Level timer per level
Level 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16-99
Required time (frames) 3480 2320 2320 2320 2320 2320 2320 2320 2320 3480 3480 1740 1740 1740 1740 3480 3480
Required time (Seconds) 58 38.67 38.67 38.67 38.67 38.67 38.67 38.67 38.67 58 58 29 29 29 29 58 58

Level 15 value is used for levels 16 to 99.


Level Points for
1 line
Points for
2 lines
Points for
3 lines
Points for
4 lines
Points for soft dropping pieces
0-1 100 400 900 2000 1 per line
2-3 200 800 1800 4000 2 per line
4-5 300 1200 2700 6000 3 per line
6-7 400 1600 3600 8000 4 per line
8+ 500 2000 4500 10000 5 per line

If a line clear is also a Perfect Clear, a 10x multiplier is applied to the awarded points.


  • Current piece fall speed is located at C7000Ah in the RAM.
  • Current level timer is located at C72336h (word) in RAM in System 16A version; FFE336h in System 16B version. This table is located at 3D28 in the 68k portion of an unshuffled ROM for System 16B version.

Power-on Pattern

One characteristic of this version of Tetris was the existence of a Power-on pattern. This referred to the game's behavior that the string of pieces it dealt in the very first game after starting up the system was always the same. This was most probably caused by the state of the randomization seed in the system. After its discovery, players began constructing gameplay plans around the power-on pattern in order to max out the score in the least lines possible. Sega's 1999 version of Tetris (Arcade, Dreamcast) pays tribute to the power-on pattern, by dealing the sequence in the final level of the single-player game. Tetris S also contains the pattern.

For MAME players, unless you are playing the bootleg, you must delete your NVRAM before playing to get the poweron pattern. The B-system version has a different poweron pattern, and does not require you to delete your NVRAM. It even restores the pattern upon reset, which not even the bootleg will do. The System E version does not have a poweron pattern.

Flash Point also contain a poweron pattern, and uses it for every level you play for the entire game, and if you continue. if you fail to continue, the next game continues where the failed level ended in the poweron pattern. Again, unless you are playing a bootleg without NVRAM, you must clear the NVRAM to get the poweron pattern back.

Bloxeed contains a poweron pattern as well. Additionally if you "continue" you will receive the pieces in the same order again! However, the powerups are NOT included in the poweron pattern, and are truly randomised.


A TAS for Sega Tetris abuses lock delay and gravity resets to keep pieces active until the level timer expires to level up as much as possible with the fewest lines cleared. At a higher level the lines cleared will award more points thus needing fewer total lines to achieve a maxout.

(TAS) Sega Tetris maxout in 98 lines

Development of Taito H System version

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See also