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Tetris (Nintendo, NES)

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Title Screen


Developer: Nintendo R&D1
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: NES
Released in US: November 1989
Released in EU: February 23, 1990

CodeIcon.png This game has unused code.
MinigameIcon.png This game has unused modes / minigames.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.

Tetris is a famous puzzle game created by Alexey Pajitnov. This is the official licensed NES version, as opposed to Tengen's rendition (released six months earlier).

Unused Sprites

Please elaborate.
Having more detail is always a good thing.
Specifically: What needs to be modified to make these appear?


An airplane and helicopter can be found amongst the ending sprites. These aren't used in any of the endings of the game.

Tetrisnes-plane.gif Tetrisnes-chopper.gif

They do have valid sprite indices, and can be made to appear via hacking. The helicopter sprite is cut off in-game, but they work perfectly otherwise.

(Source: Applying Artificial Intelligence to Nintendo Tetris)

Unused Music

The first track in the NSF is unused, and presumably intended for the title screen (which is normally silent). It can be heard by setting RAM address $6F5 to 01 at any time. Alternately, use Game Genie code PESAZILA to replace music type 1 with this track or PAKVLZAA SYSTAXKP to play it on all non-FF silence tracks including the title screen.

Two-Player Mode

Head-to-head glitching action!

Setting RAM address $BE to 02 (or using Game Genie code VUXEILXX) activates an unfinished two-player competitive mode, a rather surprising omission that was present in Tengen's rendition. While the basic rules are in place and the game is "playable", there are numerous issues:

  • A-Type setup/high score screen is missing a large chunk of tiles.
  • Both game types have empty high score tables.
  • Standard 1P mode screen layout is always used (no 2P mode layout exists in the ROM).
  • Next piece displayed in wrong location.
  • Colors are glitchy.
  • Music alternates between fast and slow when one player nears the top of the playfield.
  • Crashes to copyright screen when game is over (uses invalid pointer table index 09; maximum is 08).
  • Garbage attacks are fully implemented.

Leftover Demo Recording Code

The game has an unused subroutine that records the player's input for use in the gameplay demo. This subroutine is activated when $00D0 in RAM is set to $FF. However, since the game tries to write the captured inputs directly to ROM ($DD00-$DEFF), it doesn't work correctly on the actual NES hardware or unmodified emulators.

(Source: Applying Artificial Intelligence to Nintendo Tetris)