Tetris Newbie Questions

Thread in 'Discussion' started by CG1, 6 Jan 2024.

  1. CG1


    Hi fellows,

    I recently read the article about Willis Gibson and Tetris and thought I would give it a try. I am completely new to Tetris! After doing some research I realized the 1989 NES Tetris is now difficult to play due to aging equipment, etc.

    I notice that Nintendo has the Switch System OLED with TGM1 & 2. I presume TGM3 will be released in the future?

    I was thinking that if I bought the Switch System and download TGM1&2, I might have a good Tetris system. In addition, I notice there are a few controllers that can be used for the Switch System! I do not know, which controller would be best for Tetris.

    My newbie questions to you Tetris experts are as follows:

    1. What is the best hardware system to buy to play Tetris in 2024?

    2. What controller do you recommend for the Tetris system?

    3. Which Tetris game should I buy to play on the system?

    Thank you in advance for helping out a Tetris newbie :)

  2. Hi CG1, welcome to the community. :) Sorry for the delayed response, things have slowed down a bit on the forums. I'll try to briefly outline my thoughts on these questions. I've also included some links to various Discord chats where the community is more active as of late. (We're still trying to write info in publicly-searchable text resources like these forums or the wikis, of course, but I can't deny that Discord chat is the fastest-moving way to get answers as of late.)

    Overall round-up for question #1: If your goal is to experience the most Tetris on a single console purchase, then on those merits the Nintendo Switch might have the edge. Tetris Effect Connected, TGM1 and TGM2, Puyo Puyo Tetris, Nintendo Switch Online subscription for Tetris 99 and GB Tetris. The Switch even has a port of one of the Japanese cellphone titles!

    If your goal is to optimize on performance for a particular type of game, I'll cover that later in this post. You may be better served by original/clone consoles for NES, PS4 for TGM, or PC for "modern" games.

    Overall round-up for question #2: You can accomplish a lot just through practicing with whatever controller comes with your console of choice. Conventional controllers and button mappings should be enough for some nice achievements like TGM1 Grand Master, NES 999,999, sub-60 second 40 Line Sprint, and wins against the average player in online multiplayer versus. However, more demanding modes and aggressive playstyles can get tough on your thumbs. ;) Similar to question #1, I'll note some of the ones I would recommend by platform later in the post.

    Overall round-up for question #3: If you want to cover the most amount of Tetris content in the fewest amount of purchases, then you could buy Tetris Effect Connected along with one or both of the TGM titles. I feel like Tetris Effect Connected is a step above Puyo Puyo Tetris if you're looking for primarily Tetris-focused modes and features, and it even has NES-style modes on top of that. The only thing it's missing was the true TGM experience, and that's now easily remedied thanks to the Arcade Archives releases. :)

    1) Here are my breakdowns by style of game, narrowing things down to two main platform options each:

    NES 1st pick: Still ideally an original console or "NES-on-a-chip" style clone consoles such as RetroN 1, paired with a CRT TV.
    NES 2nd pick: Anything you can play Tetris Effect Connected on for its Classic Score Attack mode, with a slight preference to PC. (Or, even just emulating the original NES version for the time being.)

    Reason for NES to use original hardware: The ideal experience in terms of responsiveness and cost-effectiveness is still CRT + NES. I'm guessing in most regions you can still find a decent used CRT TV reasonably enough, and for much less than it would cost to put together a low-latency HDMI setup (gaming PC monitor with either a low-latency scaler like a RetroTINK, or a FPGA-based HDMI NES such as the RetroUSB AVS). Avoid the cheap HDMI scaler built-into the RetroN 1 HD model (you can still use the AV ports with CRT just fine), as well as emulation-based clones such as the RetroN 5 (these end up having a lot more visual/input latency than just using better performing emulators on PC).
    Reason for NES back-up option being PC: If you're not keen on jumping straight to original hardware just yet, then TEC Classic or emulators will give you a good way to test the waters first. If you want the flexibility of using NES USB controller adapters (ideally the RetroUSB Retroport V2), that would be easiest to accomplish on PC. Also, at least when I last tested things, the PC version of TEC with Vsync Off has much lower visual latency than any of the console versions.

    TGM 1st pick: PS4. The Arcade Archives releases seem to have 1 frame less visual or input latency than the Switch counterparts.
    TGM 2nd pick: Switch. The Arcade Archives releases are still solid, accessible, affordable options regardless of which console you might pick.

    Guideline/Modern 1st pick: PC. A variety of options for Tetris brand (Tetris Effect Connected) and homebrew games (tetr.io) available here. Also gives you flexibility in choice of keyboard/controller/adapters, as well as likely the most responsive input latency.
    Guideline/Modern 2nd pick: I'm leaning a bit toward Switch over PS4 just due to breadth of games you can pick up for it. For instance, you might want to check out Tetris 99, which is a Nintendo-exclusive.

    2) Here are my controller recommendations:

    NES: Nintendo original rectangular (NES 1) or dogbone (NES 2 / AV Famicom) type controllers. I've heard the controllers that come with the RetroN 1 can be OK, but have quality control issues, and I'd like to keep controller maintenance out of the scope of this post (for OEM or clone controllers alike). :)
    NES controllers on PC: Use a RetroUSB Retroport V2 or similarly vouched-for adapter. Avoid cheap "NES USB" controllers with poor poll rate or latency.

    Arcade sticks for TGM: This can be a very broad topic, especially when making the leap into arcade sticks. So, I'll try to be brief here and just give one recommendation near the top of my list and link more stuff I've written about it in the footnotes.
    • PS4 gamepads: My ideal conventional gamepad is the Hori Octa. I like its d-pad, and it has some amazing features such as built-in button remapping and diagonal sensitivity adjustment. I wish so much that this controller was compatible with Switch instead of just PS4/PS5/PC.
    • Switch gamepads: My ideal here is technically the Hori Fighting Commander, but I had to do a bit of modification to get the kind of custom button mapping that I wanted. (Unfortunately, the Nintendo Switch's built-in Button Remapping menu is only available for JoyCons and Pro Controllers!) That said, I can still vouch for the d-pad on Hori's controllers.
    • Arcade sticks: I'm going to leave this for the footnotes, lol. But, to at least give an idea, the two main things to consider when looking for an "entry-level" arcade stick for TGM (which may still be $90 or more) is a) ability to configure it for a 4-way/diamond-shaped joystick gate (involves opening the case, and in some needs a $5 replacement part), and b) whether you need PS4 support (most support Switch and PC, but some lower-cost arcad sticks either don't support PS4 at all or need a funky workaround of tethering an official Sony controller via USB). Avoid controllers that only have 8-way gating and are not easily modifiable (unfortunately includes Hori Mini and Hori Real Arcade Pro).

    Controls for Guideline/Modern style games: Keyboards and keyboard-like/all-button controllers are well-suited for modern versus games. Some players have also gotten high-quality performance out of standard gamepads, whether through a high degree of practice with the default button mappings or through custom "keyboard-style" button mappings where the buttons are used to move pieces instead of the d-pad. Arcade sticks are not commonly used to play this type of game.

    Quick round-up of "entry-level" arcade sticks:
    Quick info about configuring/modifying the 8bitDo Arcade Stick: Note that the 8bitDo Arcade Stick needs an additional $5 replacement part in order to switch it to 4-way gating for TGM. Click through to the thread for some additional quick discussion of replacing parts in 8bitDo's offering.
    TGM additional info: I've written a handful of forum posts about the TGM home releases and arcade sticks, then compiled it a selection of this "Q&A" into this document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/...vtB1sccfkitmCstZb7NVeWxZqteLHkrwQY0BrD57p/pub

    NES additional info: aGameScout's video on getting started with NES, or the Google Doc in its video description. Link:

    Links to Discord chats per community:
    https://discord.gg/6Gf2awJ - TheAbsolute.Plus (TGM)
    https://discord.com/invite/monthlytetris - Classic Tetris Monthly (NES)
    https://discord.gg/harddrop - Hard Drop (general Tetris, modern/versus focus)
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