NES Tetris DAS

Thread in 'Strategy' started by Atze-Peng, 19 Aug 2017.

  1. Hi, I registered myself here for some help. I recently started getting into NES Tetris (haven't played any Tetris since my Gameboy childhood), because it's plenty of fun. After a week of playing and starting with level 18, I now finally managed to reach level 19 with a score of 280.000. Problem is that I just had no shot at level 19 and apparently it requires the usage of DAS techniques.

    Long story short: I am not a native speaker and I don't quite get how it works.

    As far as I could follow, DAS is a sort of reload for the piece-movement. Aka it reloads and once it reaches the max, the piece moves a tile. But for the heck of it, I can't figure out what people explain in how to manipulate it (Yes, I also watched Kitarus youtube video). The only thing I understand is "hyper-tapping" which pretty much is button smashing. Something I would like not to do or else this game gets physically really straining.

    In best regards and thanks for any help in advance.
    Last edited: 19 Aug 2017
  2. I'll try to explain DAS techniques here. I made that video when I first learned the rules, and I know it is not very clear. (I still find it a bit difficult to explain NES DAS tricks in words.) I will do my best to explain these techniques simply so you can start using them.

    Here is a quick explanation of how you generally want to move the pieces:
    • Avoid tapping to move the pieces.
    • Begin holding Left or Right during the waiting time after a piece lands and before the next piece appears. (The "thud" sound effect is a useful cue for the time when it is safe to change directions.)
    • Release Left or Right when the piece is in the correct position.
    • If you release early/late and must tap to fix the piece position, be aware that DAS "momentum" will reset to zero. Keep this in mind when planning your recovery.
    • One special rule that is very helpful for recovery: if you move the piece toward a wall or obstruction, DAS "momentum" is immediately refilled. (The reason for this rule is to allow you to slide pieces under overhangs easily, but you can abuse this rule to gain momentum for the next piece as well.)
    Below is a longer explanation of why these techniques work. I know this explanation is dense, please let me know if there is anything unclear below and I will try to use different words:

    NES Tetris's DAS (Delayed AutoShift) is very similar to keyboard autorepeat on a computer. When you hold Left or Right for a short start-up time (~1/4sec), the piece starts to move at a quick rate (10Hz = every 1/10sec).

    NES Tetris is divided into two general periods of time: time when you're actively controlling a piece, and time when you're waiting for a new piece to appear (1/3~1/6sec of waiting time, plus ~2/5sec for the line clear animation). During the waiting time, the DAS "momentum" will not increase or decrease; you're free to hold Left/Right without losing momentum (but you cannot gain it either). During the active time, DAS "momentum" will only reset to zero when you begin pressing Left/Right (tapping or begin holding).

    The piece entry delay is your safe time to prepare a move. If you only change directions in the waiting time before a new piece appears, you can keep the flow of momentum between pieces. If you hesitate and start pressing Left/Right after a new piece has already appeared, then momentum will be lost -- you'll notice the piece wait through the ~1/4sec starting delay again before quick movement resumes.

    You don't lose momentum when you release Left/Right, when you press Down, etc.. If you use DAS then release Left/Right, you still have that momentum saved for later use. You can even let some pieces fall straight down and keep that momentum saved for a later piece. As long as you only press Left/Right before a new piece appears, you can use whatever momentum was leftover from before.

    If your timing is very accurate (i.e., always release Left/Right in the correct 1/10sec window), you can keep this flow of momentum forever. If you release too early or too late and need to tap to correct the piece's position, you'll want to do something to recover DAS somehow. Here are some methods for regaining momentum:
    • When tapping to fix the piece position, keep the direction held for slightly less than the ~1/4 second DAS start-up. You want to build some momentum, but without moving the piece an extra space.
    • Use the special rule for movement against walls, as mentioned at the beginning of this post.
    • Extra special trick: abuse the "no diagonal movement" rule to change directions without losing momentum. Press the d-pad diagonally (Down+Left or Down+Right), then release Down. This technique is awkward because the piece does not always move instantly (~1/10sec or less until next DAS movement). I don't know if anyone uses this technique often. (This trick's strange explanation: the game will not let you move a piece diagonally; if two directions are pressed, the piece will not drop down or move left/right. This prevents the piece from making a "tap movement," so momentum does not reset to zero when you first start pressing Left or Right. But, when you release Down, you're already holding Left or Right so DAS starts to move the piece in that direction.)
    xyrnq and Cinnaminion like this.
  3. Hey. Thanks for the extensive replay. Those numbers might be interesting, but they really don't do anything to me since I am a very intuitive player - so I try to get to how I understood it: Essentially the aim is to release the D-Pad once the piece is in the right area to drop down to and then press the direction once the piece locks to have the next piece be fully DAS charged? And then I keep it pressed until its in place and release and rinse and repeat?
  4. Yeah, I just provided numbers so you can there is a rough sense of the timing involved. But yeah, you got the idea, that's the general flow.
  5. No worries. It's stuff that's interesting for others, but for me it's somewhat abstract. It's too small of a time window to really imagine. It's more about learning the timing and muscle memory to me.

    Anyway, thanks for the help. I don't think I will be able to really use that anytime soon, but it should help for the cases when I wondered why my piece went too far, etc.
  6. Thanks for this - I've been thinking the same things. I'd heard people talk about DAS, watched a couple of explanatory videos, but it didn't seem to answer the question of how to actually use it. I'll give it a try.

    If I release early and do a tap, does that mean that I begin holding the D-Pad for the next piece at a different time to if I hadn't done a tap (i.e., when it 'locks')?

    At the minute I play on laptop, emulator, and keyboard. Does DAS still work in the same way?

    Thanks. :)
    jack13berry likes this.
  7. If you have a DAS charged, move the piece using the ”skill stop” and then do the tap, the DAS will be set to 0. So you have to charge the DAS again for the next piece.

    And here is a trick — you can use the single tap to do two things. First, to move the piece one column and second, to pre-charge the DAS, so as not to charge it from scratch after the next piece appears.

    So, the best way in such situation is not to do the single quick tap, but press left/right and hold it until the piece locked or longer. This must be done precisely, because pressing and holding the arrow too early will cause the piece to move more than one column, and too late will not allow you to sufficiently charge the DAS.

    This technique is difficult to make (it requires a lot of time to learn) but very helpful, so it is worth using. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find any information on the web on this topic (same as in the case of ”reverse wall charge” or spin and tuck combinations).

    DAS is a functionality implemented in the game, not in the console controller. Therefore, it does not matter if you are playing on a real console or on an emulator. Of course, it is better to play on a real console, due to the proper smoothness of the animation and the lack of other problems that affect the emulation.

    However, on the other hand, the emulator gives a lot more possibilities. For example save states to keep the three best results, increase the emulation speed to faster play of rocket flight animation after the game etc.).
    Last edited: 26 Aug 2019
    Rory76 likes this.
  8. I've started trying DAS and I see how it works now - just press the direction before the piece appears and it will move faster (I'm sure there's more to it than that; no clue what the 'wall slam' is, for example).

    Thing is, now I've tried it I'm even more blown away by what the top guys can do: doesn't this mean that you're already selecting where your next piece is gonna go well before the current one has landed. Not just in a general sense, but precisely, since you need to know exactly when to release the D-Pad?

    That's mindblowing. Especially when considering Level 19 speeds.

    I think I'm gonna stick to mashing my keyboard for the timebeing, even though I know it's not as quick. I guess that's what they call 'slowtapping', or 'hippobanging'.
  9. Yep, it's easy but, you need to know how to keep it charged all the time. Watch these videos:

    - NES Tetris: Basics of DAS (Delayed Auto Shift) Piece Movement
    - NES Tetris: How to do a DAS Wall Charge
    - NES Tetris: How to Keep DAS Charge and How to Lose it
    - NES Tetris: How to do DAS Skill Stopping
    - NES Tetris: Advanced DAS Techniques

    To be able to use DAS efficiently, you need to know exactly how it works.

    If I understand correctly your words, right after the piece appears on the screen you need to know where to put it, and at the same time you need to know where to put the next piece. So every time you have to keep in your mind the target places for two pieces. You have to look at both the playfield and the field with the next piece.

    Of course. For this all the time you need to remember whether the DAS is discharged, pre-charged or fully charged. These are long months of practice.

    Remember that DAS always works the same, no matter what level. The main difference is that the higher the level, the faster the speed of falling of the pieces, and thus the less time to come up with target places for the current and next piece, less time for possible corrections and less time to recharge the DAS if you accidentally lose it.

    BTW: level 19 of the NTSC version is a piece of cake. The real challenge is the level 19 and further on the PAL version. Look here — TETRIS NES PAL lvl 30 reached, 249 lines — Jani is a real god of Tetris. ;)

    Do not play the keyboard — it sucks. If you play on an emulator, buy yourself an original controller with a USB adapter, or buy a USB controller with the appearance of the original, for example 8BitDo N30 or cheaper something like this (I'm using it) or this.

    The Data Frog controllers are cheap (only few bucks) but their quality is good. I have three of them — NES, SNES and Sega clones — it's past the third year and they are still working.
    Last edited: 27 May 2019
  10. Thanks for taking the time to answer that - very useful.

    I suppose the way I understand it is that, while the piece is still in the next box, DAS-players have to decide whether it's going left or right, and be ready to hold that way immediately after the current piece lands, as well as having a really good idea of how far left or right they're going to move it.

    Would you say that's right? I'll check out the vids later; I think I recognise a few of the titles. But the ones I watched seemed a bit heavy on the technical aspects of how DAS works, rather than the bit about what I'm supposed to do with my fingers. ;)
    I'm not sure about "piece of cake". Isn't that like an Olympic-level sprinter saying it's "a piece of cake" to run the 100m in under 10 seconds? ;)
    Cool. I will.

    Cheers. :)
  11. Exactly. Before the current piece lands, you need to know exactly where to put the next one. Experienced players not only know where to put the next piece, but they also know what to do if the current one fails to put in the place where they want to. So in mind they have the place of the current piece and two or more places for the next one.

    AFAIK in the web there is no video on which, in addition to the theory (technical aspects of the game's mechanisms), there are numerous examples of gameplay recordings so that you can see how the tricks looks in practice. And that's very bad.

    Just look at the numbers.

    We have dozens of players capable of making 230 lines starting from level 18 in the NTSC version. Of these, also dozens of players can do max-out. In summary, we have dozens of players who can do 100 lines on level 19 and further, regularly doing tetrises.

    Now look at the PAL version. Only several players can do a dozen or several dozen lines on level 19, and only one man on this planet could make 119 lines worth 160k points on the kill-screen. This is a huge difference.

    The time will come, that Jani will get a game with perfect RNG (like Joseph in his current PAL WR) and repeating his feat, blow up the 900k barrier — 745.360 (Joseph's 18 level score) plus 159.560 (Jani's kill-screen score) is 904.920. It's just a theory, cold calculations, but once such a record will be established.

    I'm not pushing you — it's just a suggestion.

    The main reason is the shape of the controller. If you learn to play on the keyboard, then you will not be able to play on the actual console and you will have to learn practically from scratch.

    The second reason is that playing on the keyboard is much easier than playing on the controller in the shape of the original. Buying a controller and using it to break records makes the playing conditions more fair.
    Last edited: 28 May 2019
  12. Ah, you mean playing on Level 19 (NTSC) is a piece of cake compared to playing on Level 19 (PAL).

    Can't argue with that. Though I still can't agree that "playing on Level 19 (NTSC) is a piece of cake full stop". ;)

    Though if that's the case for you, well done. :)

    It's surprising, isn't it, that there are all these technical videos on DAS but, as you say, none that actually deal with what you're supposed to do: press here, don't press there, etc, etc? That would be good.

    I've dabbled but it all seems a bit much at the mo, so I'm staying on my keyboard tapping for the timebeing, until I get a good controller, at least. I found a little key recording app that says I'm tapping 8-9 times per second, which seems reasonable. So it's probably more the other aspects of my game that need developing at the minute (for example, being a bit smarter about when I burn lines and not getting too high).

    As for Jani vs Joseph - maybe someone can message Joseph and see if he can play more PAL. I wonder if he stopped once he got the World Record? But it's hard to believe that anyone is capable of something Joseph isn't. Jani's Level 30 on PAL is INSANE - but if he can do it, I'm sure Joseph can, and more.

    Thanks for the input. Cheers. :)
  13. Ie. each of these videos contains information on when and which buttons should be pressed, but only in the form of pictures, not as recordings from real games.

    It would be easier to understand what is going on, seeing a normal game (eg in slow motion) with a preview of pushed buttons and with verbal explanations. It's best to use the emulator and version of the game with a preview of the DAS meter.

    Probably yes but, I have never seen anyone else make so many lines in the kill-screen. ;)

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