To mark the end of the 2010s, we’re celebrating 30 games that defined the last 10 years. You can find all the articles as they’re published in the Games of the Decade archive, and read about the thinking behind it in an editor’s blog.
Tetris Effect was Eurogamer’s 2018 game of the year, much to the surprise of some. Back then, I wrote about how Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s music-infused masterpiece gave me hope for a brighter future. A year later, and this remarkable, everlasting game still does. This is how I know Tetris Effect is not just the best game of 2018, but one of the best games of the decade. And it’ll probably be one of the best games of all the decades to come.
Tetris Effect is now my video game pick-me-up, a kind of virtual hug on demand. I play it on and off and it always makes me feel a little bit better about the world. I’ve played through these levels a thousand times. I’ve seen the fish flash in time with the “it’s all connected” song a thousand times more. And yet Tetris Effect still strikes a chord. What I can’t quite believe about this video game is that, 12 months later, its impact has not dulled.
I’m not even trying to beat my high scores anymore. I mostly play on normal difficulty, despite it being a breeze. Come to think of it, I play on normal difficulty because it’s a breeze. I play Tetris Effect on normal, in the default mode and with the default rules, starting the campaign on the first level – again! – and slowly work my way through to the end. I have no idea how far I’ll get before I stop. I let the music wash over me, the levels lead me on their journeys, and watch the graphics dance. It’s good for the soul.
And then, after half an hour or so, I’m done. I put the pad down and move on to other things. Another video game, perhaps. Or maybe there’s something new to watch on Netflix? Real life kicks in, but I am now better prepared for its bullshit. As we near the abyss, I face it with both eyes open, pulsating schools of fish dancing in front of my blinking eyes.
Even as I write this, I could do with a go on Tetris Effect. I’m tired. More tired than I’ve ever been in my life, I think. The kind of tired that makes your eyes collapse. My kids were up through the night then woke us up just after four in the morning, and now it’s two in the afternoon and all I want to do is turn the internet off and nap on the office game room sofa. But I know if I went in there, I’d probably end up popping the PlayStation on and, oh, there’s Tetris Effect. Let’s have a blast. Just a quick one.
Tetris Effect will last forever because it’s Tetris, of course. But Tetris Effect is special because it’s about so much more than actually playing Tetris. I know, I know. It’s just Tetris! And I admit, this sort of guff is exactly the kind of thing that normally sends me running for the hilltops in the latest Call of Duty. But man, I’m serious, there’s something special about Tetris Effect and its music. It’s in the relationship between player and game, both working in tandem to create the experience, each button press triggering a new note on the scale. Together, we’re not just sorting blocks that fall from the top of the screen. We’re making magic.
Right. I’m off to the game room. See you in half an hour.