[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Broken Tetrisphere Teeth

July 11th, 2011 by Benj Edwards

Tetrisphere Nintendo 64 Ad - 1997Digital Jawbreaker

I don’t think I’ve ever played Tetrisphere. I’m sure I’ll try it some day. But the game itself is almost beside the point here. Egad on the broken teeth, man. That is my worst nightmare.

Nintendo crafted this ad to be perfectly in line with the prevailing advertising style of the mid-late 1990s. Look back at a game magazine from that time and you’ll see that almost every ad shows someone getting hurt, dismembered, or flagellated in some manner. And if not that, then they were too busy distributing boogers / urine / feces / something gross all over the place to feel left out. The edgy advertising trend started when Sega began purposely assaulting Nintendo’s kiddie image in the early 1990s. And it spread. By 1996, even Mario games were advertised this way. Did you Play it Loud?

I covered this phenomenon to some extent back in my Game Ads A-Go-Go column on GameSetWatch in 2006 (especially “Proof that Video Game Companies Want You to Die“). The 90s were a time of growing pains — a sort of “teenage years” for the medium — when the game industry, gamers, press, and lawmakers alike embarked on an entirely new cultural exploration of mature themes in video games. I’m sure I could write a whole article on the subject, so I’ll stop now and let you count your teeth.

[ From GamePro, May 1997, p.171 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What’s your all-time favorite version of Tetris?

8 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Broken Tetrisphere Teeth”

  1. SirPaul Says:

    That’s a tough question. Not Tetrisphere, that’s for sure. Also, I dislike Tetris Party and Tetris DS, since I can just keep playing those games until the batteries die. The Game Boy version of Tetris is decent, but it uses a non-standard field size. I’d have to say that the best version is the original one, made by Nintendo for the NES.. Or possibly one of the “Tetris: The Grand Master” games by Arika.

  2. Donn Says:

    Maybe the first game I ever bought with my own money was a PC title called Welltris, also written by the one and only Alexey Pajitnov, published by Brøderbund. It had you looking down a square well with four sides and a bottom, and the Tetris pieces would descend one side, and slide all the way across the bottom. You could move the pieces around to different sides of the well, to attack the puzzle from different directions. I thought it was pretty cool at the time.

    Some of the most Tetris fun was a shareware competitive version I played in college. You shared a keyboard with your opponent, you each have your own puzzle going, and when you completed rows, it would slide over and get added to your opponent’s puzzle. Pretty crazy!

  3. JackSoar Says:

    Tetris is one of my favorite games ever, and I’ve played numerous versions of it. I’m not typically a fan of games that offer anything other than vanilla Tetris, (although Tetris Plus was okay) and my favorite is original Game Boy Tetris. It was the first version of the game I played, and nothing has ever felt right since. Part of it is due to it being a handheld, so I feel “closer” to the action, and this improves my game, but it’s more than that. The music, the level, speed, and difficulty progression, and that feeling of satisfaction you get each time you go from level 0 to level 10 and beyond… it’s just great. In fact, though I haven’t played it in a while, I still own my original cartridge of the game, which is rare for me.

  4. technotreegrass Says:

    I have a soft spot for the original Tetris on NES due to the nostalgia factor, but my favorite remake is Pokemon Puzzle League, which was Tetris Attack for the SNES (which I never played) but with Pokemon graphics instead. Puzzle League was one of the few games that I was determined to beat on the hardest difficulty without an achievement to earn.

  5. PS3D Says:

    There are plenty of “grossout” ads from the 1996/1997 era, as seen in Nintendo Power: leaking barf bags, disgusting cafeteria food, a jar of toenail clippings…and people said the 1980s were bad.

  6. Jay Says:

    Fav tetris was orig tetris for gameboy. Played the shit out of that thing growing up.

  7. mercatfat Says:

    Tetrisphere definitely is not the best, but it had a heck of a good soundtrack. Definitely one of the first that I really took notice of. For as much as I listen to 80’s-90’s game music now in its original form, it’s bizarre that it rarely ever struck me back then.

    Anyway, Tetris DS, by a landslide. I know purists hate the “hold” function, but it’s wonders for competitive play in particular. The extra modes are all well thought out and pretty fun, too!

  8. Thomas Says:

    It’s probably the one I’ve spent the most time with. And that would be Spectrum holobyte’s MS Dos release. Not the best port ever made but it does the job of capturing the core gameplay fun nicely.

    Never cared much for the Game boy so I didn’t play Tetris on it much. And by then I had almost enirely moved on to clones and variations. (Twintris being one).

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