Tetris: The Grand Master GamesK

Tetris: The Grand Master

Released 1998 · consists of 3 releases.

Arika's first adaptation of the Tetris series of falling-block puzzle games, focusing on breakneck high-level play using an advanced player grading system.

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Tetris: The Grand Master

First release date 1998
Platform Arcade , PlayStation 4 , Nintendo Switch
Developer Arika Co., Ltd.
Publisher Capcom , HAMSTER Corporation
Genre Puzzle
Theme
Franchises Tetris: The Grand Master , Tetris , Arcade Archives
Aliases

Overview

Tetris: The Grand Master (often abbreviated to TGM) is a falling-block puzzle game developed by Arika and released by Capcom for arcades (using PS1-based Sony ZN-2 hardware) in Japan in 1998.

Part of the Tetris series of puzzle games, The Grand Master builds on the traditional game formula with a focus on high-level play using a revamped gameplay engine and advanced player grading (known in promotional materials as the Grade Recognition System).

Gameplay-wise, it is based on some Japanese entries in the series, most prominently Sega's 1988 arcade game Tetris. Some features it introduces to the series include the Initial Rotation System, where pieces can be rotated before entering the playfield (during the game's "entry delay"), and the Temporary Landing System, which shows a "ghost" of how the piece will land when it drops on the current location. Along with a traditional "Endless" mode, it also includes a two-player Versus mode, which uses special "item blocks" that can grant special offensive or defensive power-ups.

The game later received multiple sequels and will receive a digital re-release on the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, both as part of HAMSTER's Arcade Archives series, on December 2022.

Gameplay

Rotation

TGM adopts Sega's simple yet effective rotation tables. With the exception of the red I-piece, every pieces are always kept level when rotated (i.e. aligned with the bottom of the bounding box); this helps ensure a piece can rotate cleanly on the surface of the stack, which is crucial when the game reaches the highest fall speeds.

One addition to the rotation system comes in the form of wallkicks: if the piece collides with something when rotating, the game tries to nudge the piece one cell to the right or one cell to the left (in that order) before failing to rotate. There are a few exceptions where wallkicks will not be applied:

  1. for I or O pieces.
  2. for L/J/T pieces, if the center column of the piece will be blocked after rotation.
  3. when using Initial Rotation (see below).

Game flow

Like Sega Tetris, TGM features a brief entry delay before each piece appears that can be used to prepare the next move. By holding left or right during this period, the player can "warm up" or charge movement so the next piece will enter the playfield moving full speed. The player may also "pre-rotate" (or Initial Rotate) the piece once by holding the desired rotation button until the piece appears.

TGM maintains the quick piece movement speed afforded in Sega Tetris. After holding left/right for a brief, quarter-second delay, the piece continues moving at a rate of one unit per frame (or, 1 G). Holding down to drop a piece also moves at the rate of 1G.

Another crucial feature inherited from Sega is lock delay. Whereas most other early Tetris games would lock pieces into place as soon as they touched the ground, Sega allowed a half-second delay before the piece locked. This allowed Sega Tetris to offer challenging yet playable 1G fall speeds, where other games shied away or relegated it to use as a kill-screen. TGM continues in these footsteps and pushes beyond into new frontiers -- 2G, 3G, 5G, and even 20G (i.e., max gravity or instant drop) fall speeds are achieved.

Levels

Unlike many other Tetris games, progress is not solely tied to the number of lines cleared. Instead, the level counter increases by one for every piece placed or line cleared. As a result, game speed can gradually change as the player continues to place pieces, even if they are not necessarily clearing lines. (In another nod to Sega Tetris, at one or two level checkpoints the speed will actually drop to give the player a short breather rather than relentlessly continue to speed up.)

At the end of each section of 100 lines, the player must clear a line to progress to the next. (i.e., if the player reaches the level stop at 99, the counter will not continue to increase until a line is cleared.)

At level 500, the fall speed plateaus at 20G. The player must continue to endure the restrictions of max gravity play and reach level 999 to complete the game.

Time Attack

Another divergence from typical Tetris norms is a shift in focus to speed rather than just score. While earning points does play a key role in achieving some of the game's main goals, it does not directly impact one's position on a machine's leaderboard - instead, a player's ranking is determined by a combination of grade (see more on Grades below) and how quickly they achieved it. Once players have filled the game's ranking with Grand Master performances, earning a high score becomes a matter of racing to complete the game the quickest

Scoring

Points are scored whenever lines are cleared. A few factors determine the value of the line clear:

  • number of lines cleared - as usual, scoring four line clears (or tetrises) is the most lucrative, triple and double line clears are moderately valued, and single line clears earn a pittance.
  • current level - point values gradually and linearly increase throughout the game.
  • number of rows the piece was forced by holding down.
  • combo bonus for continuing to clear lines with consecutive pieces.
  • Bravo bonus - 4x multiplier for performing a "perfect clear" removing all blocks from the playfield.

However, as earning points alone is not the core focus of the game, so it's not strictly necessary to employ more complex scoring methods; playing quickly and making tetrises will earn a sufficient number of points to achieve endgame goals.

Grades

Another new feature is the Grade Recognition System. The player is awarded grades for passing certain score milestones or meeting other criteria. The player starts at grade 9 when the game begins and works their way up. The scale ranges from 9 to 1, S1 to S9, and finally the title of Grand Master (or GM). The player must meet various conditions throughout the game:

  • achieve grade 1 and level 300 within 4 minutes 15 seconds.
  • achieve grade S4 and level 500 within 7 minutes 30 seconds.
  • earn at least 126,000 points and finish the game within 13 minutes 30 seconds.

Gallery

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Specific release details

Arcade Archives: Tetris: The Grand Master
Arcade Archives: Tetris: The Grand Master
Platform PlayStation 4
Region United States
Developer Arika Co., Ltd.
Publisher HAMSTER Corporation
Release date N/A
Product code None
Company code None
Rating
Minimum Players 1
Maximum Players N/A
Resolutions N/A
Sound Systems N/A
Single player Features N/A
Multi player Features N/A
Widescreen Support No
Notes N/A

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