Tetris (Nintendo)

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US Game Boy cover art.
This page is for the Nintendo version of Tetris released on the NES and Game Boy. For other releases, see Tetris.

Tetris is an action puzzle game originally created by Alexey Pajitnov on a Electronika 60 computer, however, this page covers a version released by Nintendo for the Game Boy and NES. The Game Boy version, developed by Bullet-Proof Software, was published by Nintendo first in Japan in July of 1989, then in North America in August. Nintendo derived the NES port from the original Game Boy version and published it in North America in November of 1989. The Famicom did not see this release in Japan because Bullet-Proof Software held the publishing rights there. Despite having two different developers, the games are both very similar and share some development staff.

While later releases of Tetris would have many different variations, this earlier release only contains two types of game play which are referred to as A-Type and B-Type. A-Type is endless game mode, and B-Type requires you to get 25 lines to win. Each mode supports starting at any level from 1-10 and has the option of an empty well, or a well filled with a variable level of garbage.

Port Differences

  • The NES game features ten color palettes that cycle across the levels.
  • The NES has three musical options, the Game Boy only two.
  • The NES version is slightly harder at identical difficulty levels.
  • Strangely, the NES port, which has two built-in controller ports, is strictly a 1-player game, but the Game Boy, which only has an optional connection port, features 2-player mode.


I do not own either of the ports. I beat B-Type, level: 10, height: 5 on the Game Boy on 2017-12-09 and the NES on 2017-12-18.


  • Overall: 6/10
  • Best Version: NES


  • Despite the window dressing, the game is a pretty faithful port of the original.
  • The game is a lot of fun, and I rarely get tired of it even after decades of playing it.
  • Both versions have great music, though I prefer the options on the NES port.
  • I really enjoy the changing color-palette across levels in the NES port. I wish later Tetris games would follow this innovation, but The Tetris Company has since created an invariable color set that must be followed.


  • The controls on both the Game Boy and NES versions are a bit stiff and difficult to work with sliding.
  • The NES port annoyingly clears the screen when you pause. I assume they did this to prevent cheating, but it essentially guarantees failure on the harder difficulty levels making the feature pointless.


  • Nothing.

Box Art