Due to Soviet political structure at the time, the inventor, Alexey Pajitnov, was not able to patent his game. This gave rise to many sundry Tetris clones for all manner of machines.

Among my favourites are Hextris for X and the much-maligned Microsoft version for Windows.

A good strategy, at least in the latter, is to try and rid yourself of several rows at once. The more rows that are simultaneously disposed of, the more points you get. As a level 1 example, removing 1 row will only net 121 points, while removing 4 rows at once will garner a score of 821 (or 205.25 points per row). As levels get higher (and the blocks drop faster) the score per row increases, as does the "bonus" for removing more than one row at a time. A useful course of action,. therefore, is to leave one column free, on either side of the pit, just building up the rest. Then any red bricks (4x1) can be dropped in to give large boosts in score.

Other good strategies include making sure that you always have at least two contiguous columns that are the same height (ie: the surface is unbroken). This way, if one of the annoying light blue (2x2) square pieces appears, it is easy to place without enclosing a "hole" (which can be difficult to remove later).

In that spirit, try to distribute blocks evenly across the width of the pit. Towers create several problems. 1) they have a tendency to be bult up and reach the top of the pit (game over). 2) If a brick is on one side and needed on the other, you can't move it across. 3) The canyons between the towers can be hard to fill. Also, keeping an even distribution makes it more likely that the surface will be flat (see earlier paragraph). Keep in mind that some small variation is good, so as to accomodate S-shaped blocks (green and dark blue).

Following these strategies should result in good tetris scores.