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Tetris (NES, Bullet-Proof Software)

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Title Screen


Developer: Bullet-Proof Software
Publisher: Bullet-Proof Software
Platform: NES
Released in JP: December 22, 1988

DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
SoundtestIcon.png This game has a hidden sound test.
Carts.png This game has revisional differences.

While most Western Tetris players know about the clash between Tengen and Nintendo over the rights to release their competing ports to the NES, Japanese players got an even earlier port of their very own from BPS, who were also porting the game to numerous Japanese home computers of the era.

While not as internationally well-known as Tengen and Nintendo's versions, the original Famicom Tetris was successful enough to lead to a number of sequels and spin-offs of its own.

Debug Flags

Two small debug features, and one additional development feature, can be enabled by changing three adjacent bytes in the ROM.

Changing the byte at CPU address C004 to a non-zero value (or using Game Genie code PAAGGA) will change the in-game music selection to have a total of eight options instead of the usual four, adding the music from the title screen, high score screen, and round clear animations as additional choices. Since this allows you to listen to all of the music in the game, it can also be considered a sort of sound test.

Changing the byte at CPU address C005 to a non-zero value (or using Game Genie code PAAGIA) will allow you to view the current round's ending by holding B and pressing Select. Doing this doesn't actually advance to the next round or stage, though.

In addition, changing the byte at CPU address C003 from 01 to 00 will switch the game to be compatible with the Nintendo MMC1 mapper chip, rather than the much simpler CNROM mapper that it normally uses. This doesn't actually provide any kind of benefit to the player, though.

All of these options are available in all three revisions of the game.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Revision Differences

A total of three revisions of the game were released, referred to here as "revision 0" through "revision 2".

Title Screen Music

Revision 1 added an extended intro to the title screen music. As a result, it also takes longer for the attract demo to start playing, since it only starts after the music has finished.

Revision 0 Revisions 1 and 2

Copyright Screen

Revision 0's original copyright screen reflects the infamously convoluted Tetris licensing situation that existed at the time, namedropping no fewer than six companies (notably including Tengen but not Nintendo). The other revisions were released after Nintendo had definitively secured the console rights to the game, so the copyright screen was simplified to match, and Vadim Gerasimov's design credit was also removed. Revision 2 added an additional line break after the BPS copyright notice.

Revision 0 Revision 1 Revision 2
Tetris BPS rev 0 copyright.png Tetris BPS rev 1 copyright.png Tetris BPS rev 2 copyright.png

Line Clear Terms

Revision 0 had the typical line clear terms of Single, Double, Triple and Tetris. Revision 1 changed the terms to just 1 Line, 2 Lines, 3 Lines and 4 Lines.

Revision 0 Revisions 1 and 2
Tetris BPS rev 0 results.png Tetris BPS rev 1 results.png

Graphics Changes

When the copyright screen was updated in revision 1, a few additional punctuation marks had to be added to the font. In order to free up a tiny bit of CHR ROM space, one of the tiles used by the tall onion dome in the in-game background ended up being sacrificed, and the right side of the dome's base was edited slightly to compensate.

Revision 0 Revisions 1 and 2
Tetris BPS rev 0 dome.png Tetris BPS rev 1 dome.png

Revision 1 also shifted over the horizontal I-piece's graphics by exactly one pixel, making it no longer line up correctly with other adjacent blocks, for some reason.

Revision 0 Revisions 1 and 2
Tetris BPS rev 0 I-block.png Tetris BPS rev 1 I-block.png

Other Changes

  • In revision 0, the attract demo has the pieces (and the player's movements) alternating between a faster and slower speed each time a demo starts playing. In revisions 1 and 2, the demos always use the slower speed.
  • Revision 1 introduces a sound bug where clearing round 5 with the music set to "Silence" will cause in-game sound effects to stop working after exiting the end-of-round fireworks display. This is fixed again in revision 2.
  • Revision 2 fixes a bug where the game can hard lock if the playfield is left completely empty upon clearing a stage.
(Source: Original TCRF research)