ROM Hacks: Tetris: Conventional-Controls Edition Released

Started by RHDNBot, July 07, 2023, 06:42:12 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


Update By: clymax

One Game, Three Ports to Nintendo's Eight-Bit Consoles... and a Buncha Bogus Licenses

The story about the early Tetris ports on Nintendo involves a web of events that is every bit of a brain teaser as the renowned game itself and that is, perhaps, truly worthy of a Hollywood adaptation even to this day.

The First Port
- Atari bought a bogus license from the worldwide PC-rights holder, to release Tengen Tetris in the US.  It was believed by the parties involved that the rights weren't limited to just PC.  The game suffers a delay in development.
- Bullet-Proof Software (BPS) bought a bogus license from the PC-rights holder via its sister company, to release Famicom Tetris in Japan.  The game is released as the first port on a Nintendo console.

Race for Handheld Rights
- Nintendo, working on the Game Boy, wanted to buy a license from the PC-rights holder, to release Tetris as a pack-in on the Game Boy.
- BPS, as a publishing partner of Nintendo, asked the PC-rights holder about Nintendo buying the handheld rights.  The PC-rights holder asks the original, rights-acquiring middleman about the same.
- Nothing transpired, tipping these parties off that none of them have the handheld rights.  They race to Moscow.

- Nintendo not only wins the race for the handheld rights but ends up with a windfall.  Namely, it also bought the worldwide console rights, which had actually never been sold.
- BPS got from Nintendo a good license for subsequent releases of Famicom Tetris.
- Game-Boy Tetris was later released.
- Tengen Tetris was finally released as the second port on a Nintendo console.
- NES Tetris was then released as the third port on a Nintendo console.
- Due to Nintendo's windfall, Atari's license was fully rendered bogus.  Atari was subsequently ordered to pull a quarter million unsold copies of Tengen Tetris from store shelves for good.

The Ports, Today
- NES Tetris is the most widely played, on both a casual level and a competitive level.
- Tengen Tetris is recognized for its multiplayer versus and coop game modes.  The game also has a devoted following that considers this version to be the best port.
- Famicom Tetris is largely relegated to an afterthought.  Any mention is likely just calling out the admittedly awkward control scheme of the port.

Enter this Romhack

In sum, despite being the first Tetris game to land on Nintendo, Famicom Tetris is grossly unappreciated due to its unusual control scheme.  This romhack updates the game to have the standard controls that players have come to expect from a classic Tetris game.  Features include the following.

- Hard drop (A button)—remapped to Up on the D-pad.
- Rotate counterclockwise (Down on D-pad)—remapped to B button.
- Soft drop—newly added; mapped to Down on D-pad.
- Rotate clockwise—newly added; mapped to A button.
- Bonus: exploit patched—holding down any button after a hard drop no longer stalls the game indefinitely.

For a demonstration of these features, see the video also accessible via the Relevant Link below.

RHDN Project Page

Relevant Link


Nothing to really say about the hack itself, but I'm always delighted to see a shout-out to the story of the Tetris license. Like, if you're reading this and this is your first time hearing about it, go find a copy of any edition of Game Over by David Sheff. He literally devotes two chapters to everything that went down, because that whole thing wound up an international incident with way more twists than the summary suggests.


Interestingly there are a 5th and even 6th (at least from the Tetris Company's point of view) ports of Tetris
the 5th port being the first time Tetris and Bomblis would appear together, and the sixth being a licensed Tetris game for the portable famiclone console, the Go Retro.


Agree, I love to have this short overview over the story. Thanks for that!


I must say, the Tetris hack you've created is great. The way you've managed to enhance the gameplay mechanics while retaining the classic charm of the original Tetris is a testament to your skill and dedication. Your attention to detail is remarkable, and it's evident that you've poured a lot of time and effort into perfecting this hack.

What's even more fascinating is how you've woven in the history of Tetris for Nintendo into your hack. Providing players with insights into the game's origins and its journey to becoming a classic on the Nintendo platform adds a unique layer of depth and appreciation to the experience. It's a wonderful nod to the game's legacy and showcases your passion for both game development and its rich history.

Thank you for your hard work and creativity in bringing this Tetris hack to life. Your contribution to the gaming community is truly outstanding, and I can't wait to see what other innovative projects you might have in store. Keep up the fantastic work!

Is it possible to implement a "hold" button?
"Robots are machines that follow orders. I'm a machine that doesn't, so what does that make me?"