Alexey Pajitnov's absolutely vile sequel to Tetris. Originally an arcade release (as per usual for the video game industry back in 1990), it was ported to the NES, GameBoy and TurboGrafx 16, after which it sank into obscurity. The game involves stacking badly drawn hats upon badly drawn heads. The frustrating part is that only a vertical stack of five triggers the usual Tetris-y destruction of "lines"...unlike similar puzzle games such as Puyo Puyo or Columns, diagonal and horizontal groupings of similar hats don't count. Since the number of heads to pile the hats upon is limited, and the falling of said hats is at random, you'll often find yourself forced into puzzle game suicide. You'll have your pile of sombreros all neatly stacked up, when all of a sudden, an onslaught of heathen derbies will assault you and completely screw you over. So then you start praying for that one derby you need to achieve the sacred Hatris grouping of five, hoping against hope to get those fucking demon hats out of the way and start work on your sombreros again...but, alas! Down come the wizard hats, or the dunce caps, or whatever the hell those horrifically pixilated triangles are supposed to be!

And soon, it's game over.


It all seems horribly unfair. I must admit that I've only played the NES and GameBoy versions, but I can't see how it could be much more fun on the other platforms. The game's sole claim to originality (aside from the goofy hat theme...), is the vertical stacking, which just so happens to be its critical flaw.

If, for whatever reason, you decide you want to play this game, it's a somewhat common ROM (a quick search on Google will turn up relevant hits), and a somewhat rare Nintendo cart. I've heard that it goes for around fifteen or twenty dollars on EBay, but don't hold me to that.

In other news, Alexey Pajitnov was also responsible for at least one other obscure and perhaps more enjoyable early '90's puzzle game called Knight Move. It was only released in Japan, and is not at all well known, to the extent that it was once mistakenly listed as "Night Move" in the GameFAQs database. It's kind of sad that the success of Tetris seems to have eluded Alexy, but, then again, how could you possibly follow up a game as huge and genre defining as that?