Five of the Best is a weekly series about the bits of games we overlook. Things like crowds, potions, mountains, hands. Things we barely notice while we're playing but can recall many years later because, it turns out, they're fundamental to our memory of the game. Well, now is the time to celebrate them!
Today we're celebrating...
Blocks! Or do I mean cubes? Don't! We had a whole argument about this. Cubes are a kind of block, as far as I'm concerned, and so are other shapes like the lower-case L Tetris block. If we confined ourselves only to cubes, we'd have to talk about the Companion Cube from Portal, again, and then I'd be forced to counterbalance it with Peter Molyneux's Curiosity cube just to be mean. But no, I'd never be so cheeky as to put a red herring in the list...
Be sure to share your best blocks in the comments below. Happy Friday!
I'd like to talk about the T-Spin. This is, quite simply, placing a T-tetromino (a Tetris block to you and me) into a T-slot, then rotating it before the piece is Locked Down. Locked Down in Tetris lore is a proper noun, and therefore must be capitalised and I am very much on board with that, because it makes me say the word in a sort of fist pump kind of way and as any Tetris aficionado knows, Locked Down is the full stop on your sentence. There's no going back.
T-Spins are tricksy kinds of things, but they're so satisfying because they, in most Tetris video games, give you bonus points of some kind and, let's be honest, if you do one you're showing off. In competitive multiplayer Tetris games they often do wonders to mess up your opponent(s). And as we all know, the meaning of life can be found in the act of winning while showing off.
What if two highly skilled Tetris players only used T-spins in a battle with each other?
They are also magic in that very special Tetris way. Tetris is a game that turns simple blocks - the kind of blocks I have bought for my children to play with as babies - into multifaceted, multi-purpose puzzle cogs. Even on the face of it, the T-block is simply just a T shape that's doing a squat. It is one of the most versatile, useful blocks in the game, because it can fit so many gaps. T-Spins evolve the T-block into the block's final form.
T-Spins even change the way you think about the screen. Normally, you build up a layer of blocks to fill most of the screen, leaving a single line free for, hopefully, Tetris after Tetris. Setting up T-Spins involves mentally dividing the screen up into three, building a block with a gap - almost like a chip off the old block - on the left-hand two-thirds, and placing a Z-block on the right hand side. Then, as your T-block falls, inevitably, towards the gap, rotate it to slide it in. Boom. T-Spin!
So, here's to the T-Spin and the T-block. Name a more iconic duo in video games. Take your time. This one isn't Locked Down yet.
That Minecraft would make the list is unquestionable. The question is which Minecraft block to single out? The dirt block, the brown one topped with green? It's definitely the most famous Minecraft block. It is Minecraft. But is it the coolest block? The obsidian block is pretty cool - literally it's cooled lava. And it's black, and all cool things are black. And you need it to get to the Nether, the hellish other realm in the game. But no, it's a bit too obvious.
For me, it's a simple wood block. I'm a plain kinda guy. I like Captain America. Seeing a wood block has a strong effect on me. When I see one, I see humble beginnings and new adventures. A wood block makes me want to start again, to get back to using wooden tools to make my Ikea cabin in a picturesque location - in the woods, down by a lake, on a mountain top - and concern myself only with staying alive. No mining, no metal, no complications.
It doesn't last, of course, as the hunger for progress inevitably always takes over. But for a while, the simplicity is bliss.
There's probably a name for it, but for me it's the Fuse block. It's a special block in Lumines, which is a game about clearing blocks from the screen by matching their colours. The idea is that blocks of two colours fall and you rotate them and place them so that they form squares of one solid colour. Then a timeline sweeps through and removes them and you get on with your life. Beautiful!
But the Fuse block is special. It allows you to clear blocks of the same colour that aren't in squares. This in turn means that you can sort of thread colours through the growing mountain of blocks, waiting for the Fuse that will trigger them all. Voila! All your greens disappear in one go - all the greens that are touching, anyway. This in turn causes a collapse in all the oranges, say, and then they go next in a great thundering wave.
The Fuse block encourages you to take risks rather than play it safe. Fine. Loads of puzzle games do that. But it also turns a game about falling blocks into a game about dynamite, and for that I love it, love it, love it.
There's an artform to using the Fake Item Box. It's not a showy weapon. It's a sneaky one. And when it works? Gosh. It's the most immensely gratifying thing in the game.
It's not just that you've caused someone to crash. Anyone can do that. It's the proper placement of the thing, clustered amongst real Item Blocks, hiding like a cuckoo egg in the nest.
It's the knowledge your opponent drove into your Fake Item Block unaware of what was to come, perhaps until the last second, perhaps only when they began tumbling over, wheels spinning, careening off the track. It's the sequence of emotions you sense is now playing out in their head - their hope of a useful item turned into a shock of realisation, despair, shame. 'Why hadn't I seen it coming?' you can almost hear them scream.
And the satisfaction you caused this all.
Fake Item Boxes were last seen in Mario Kart Wii. Then Nintendo took them out. Cowards.
Alan Wake is sort of a puzzle game about blocks. But only because it's a game about a writer with writer's block. Poor Alan's gone on holiday and can't do his work. Then I think his wife goes missing. Or maybe she doesn't. And maybe there are creatures made of darkness and a bit with a lighthouse. No matter! He can't do any writing! Writer's block.
Writer's block is a lovely phrase. I get it: they're blocked and the words can't flow. It's sort of plumbing-based. But I love that word block. It makes me think of an object on the floor of a room you're passing through and you're not looking where you're going - of course you aren't; you're a writer - and you trip over it. Writer's block. That hot gaseous feeling inside the head. The eyeballs are angry and grainy and seem to be boiling. The nose feels thoroughly stuffed. No words are coming. Poor Alan.
See the rest here:
Five of the Best: Blocks - Eurogamer.net
- Explore a hole new world in free puzzle game Hole and Box - PC Gamer - February 28th, 2020
- The Room: A Dark Matter Coming to All Major VR Headsets in Late March, Trailer Here - Road to VR - February 28th, 2020
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- 'Survivor 40: Winners at War': Who Was Voted Off in Episode 3? The Blindsides Begin at the 4th Tribal Council - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - February 28th, 2020
- Puzzle No. 3526 - The Nation - February 27th, 2020
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- MasterPieces To Debut Clifford The Big Red Dog Games and Puzzles Line - aNb Media - February 27th, 2020
- 'Dispatches from Elsewhere': Meet the 4 ordinary people who become 'unwitting participants' in mysterious game - MEAWW - February 27th, 2020
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- Timelie Is coming To PC, A Beautiful Puzzle Game That Follows The Story Of A Girl And Her Cat - Happy Gamer - February 26th, 2020
- One Of The Most Creepy Puzzle Game Little Nightmares To Release Its part 2 - The Inner Sane - February 26th, 2020
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- Disc Room for Windows PC is an action game, full of deadly buzzsaws - Polygon - February 24th, 2020
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- Surviving the Season as 2020 Supercross Hits the Halfway Point - Supercross - Racer X Online - February 24th, 2020
- March Madness, but for gamers - University at Buffalo The Spectrum - February 24th, 2020
- Markus Hannikainen traded to the Arizona Coyotes for a conditional pick - The Cannon - February 24th, 2020
- Don Sweeney doesnt land big name, but fills needs - Boston Herald - February 24th, 2020
- Resolved - The New York Times - February 23rd, 2020
- Can You Flip Your Way To Victory? - FiveThirtyEight - February 23rd, 2020
- The puzzle why Millwall seem to perform better against top sides boss gives opinion | - Southwark News - February 23rd, 2020
- 'This Is Us' Fans Think the Time Capsule Reveals How the Series Ends for Randall, Kevin, and Kate - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - February 23rd, 2020
- Buffalo Games Partners With BuzzFeed To Create Line Of Party Games - Yahoo Finance - February 22nd, 2020
- Goff: Three trades the Wild should consider that don't involve draft picks - SKOR North - February 22nd, 2020
- Astros' Reddick tells of death threats to his children over cheating scandal - The Guardian - February 22nd, 2020
- TFNY: Winning Moves Debuts New Games and Puzzles - The Toy Book - February 21st, 2020
- Exciting New Games And Puzzles From Winning Moves USA - PRNewswire - February 21st, 2020
- inbento, the excellent food-themed puzzle game, will be heading for Nintendo Switch in March - Pocket Gamer - February 21st, 2020
- Kosmokrats Is A New Russian Inspired Zero-Gravity Adventure Puzzle Game That Is Headed Straight For Steam... - Happy Gamer - February 21st, 2020
- Atari launches new mobile games to accelerate its growth and issues new shares with preferential subscription rights in partnership with two... - February 21st, 2020
- InnerSpace: What You Should Know About the Epic Games Store Freebie - CCN.com - February 21st, 2020
- 6 Casino and Slot Game Trends to Be on the Lookout for in 2020 - Net Newsledger - February 21st, 2020
- TFNY: MasterPieces Debuts Clifford the Big Red Dog Puzzle and Game Collection The Toy Book - The Toy Book - February 20th, 2020
- World of Horror is a creepy, retro, and completely hypnotic horror game - The Verge - February 20th, 2020
- Retooling Pistons will use seasons last 25 games to help plot their future, Casey says - Pistons.com - February 20th, 2020
- Survivor: Winners at War Recap: A Fire Token Economy Revamps the Game - TVLine - February 20th, 2020
- Second-Half Surge: Vancouver Whitecaps use pair of second-half goals to coast to win over Revolution - Between The Sticks - February 20th, 2020
- The 6 best and 6 worst Lord of the Rings games - Looper - February 20th, 2020
- Fight Zombie Gorillas and Save Your Spaceship at a VR Hub in a Kensington Warehouse - Broadsheet - February 20th, 2020
- 50 Ideas For Things To Do Around Cleveland In The Cold - Talk Radio 1210 WPHT - February 19th, 2020
- 'I can sense the hurt': Mookie Betts, David Price give World Series hope to Dodgers team hungry for a title - USA TODAY - February 19th, 2020
- Show Interest - The New York Times - February 19th, 2020
- Cavaliers legend Jim Chones loves team bucking small-ball trend: Theres always going to be room for a big man - Akron Beacon Journal - February 19th, 2020
- Video game review: 7th Sector: An inspired sci-fi game from the point of view of a spark - Worcester Telegram - February 18th, 2020
- MouseCraft Will Bring A Blend Of Tetris And Lemmings To Switch Next Week - Nintendo Life - February 18th, 2020
- PATH OF GIANTS Review: Teamwork Makes The Puzzles Work - GameTyrant - February 17th, 2020
- Video Game Makers Want to Get Players Off the Couch - The New York Times - February 17th, 2020
- Fortnite Teasing Next Season's Content With Intercepted Transmission - Screen Rant - February 17th, 2020
- Assassin's Creed Syndicate Will Be Free At Epic Games Store This Week - GameSpot - February 17th, 2020
- Is it just a new ballpark? What to expect from the 2020 Texas Rangers - WFAA.com - February 17th, 2020
- Pass a controller and gear up for these co op games - Nintendo - February 16th, 2020
- Florida teacher shocks Pat Sajak by solving Wheel of Fortune puzzle with only four letters - Sarasota Herald-Tribune - February 16th, 2020
- LCHS girls advances to the NW Regional Championship game with a win over WInfield 47-32 - Times Daily - February 16th, 2020
- Free Online Puzzle Games and Board Games from AddictingGames.com - February 15th, 2020
- Those Who Remain: hands-on with the scary puzzle game - Den of Geek UK - February 15th, 2020
- Leonardo and chess - TheArticle - February 15th, 2020
- Florida teacher shocks Pat Sajak by solving Wheel of Fortune puzzle with only four letters - Apalachicola Times - February 15th, 2020
- Lamar opens new season with win over Rhode Island - 12newsnow.com KBMT-KJAC - February 15th, 2020
- Google announces five new games for Stadia, the first since the cloud service launched - The Verge - February 14th, 2020
- Patterned, the popular Apple Arcade puzzle game, has received some new Valentine's and Spring themed content - Pocket Gamer - February 14th, 2020
- Untitled Goose Game HONKs its way to GOTY at the 2020 DICE Awards - PCGamesN - February 14th, 2020
- Best new mobile games on iOS and Android - February 2020 round-up - Metro.co.uk - February 14th, 2020
- GTFO is a punishing co-op shooter where shooting should be considered a last resort - GamesRadar - February 14th, 2020
- Domingo Santana Adds Power (And Leaky Defense) To The Cleveland Indians Roster - Forbes - February 14th, 2020
- Can you find the engagement ring in this Valentine's Day brainteaser? - Insider - INSIDER - February 14th, 2020
- Zynga's Earnings Report Sends the Stock Up. Will the Rise Continue? - Motley Fool - February 14th, 2020
- Putting the Pieces Together: Florida Baseball Season Preview - ESPN 98.1 FM - 850 AM WRUF - WRUF - February 14th, 2020
- Those Who Remain: Hands-on with the Scary Puzzle Game - Den of Geek US - February 13th, 2020
- How to Solve the Dawn of Fear Chess Piece Puzzle | Game Rant - GameRant - February 13th, 2020
- Apple Arcade gives its games the Valentine's Day treatment - CNET - February 13th, 2020
- Historic & Momentous Weekend Of Hockey In The WCHA - FloHockey - February 13th, 2020
- Xavier and Tamia Tillman prepare to welcome son to family triangle - The State News - February 13th, 2020
- Here's what you need to buy to play Half-Life: Alyx on March 23 - The Next Web - February 13th, 2020
- Smart Toys and Games Debuting New Products at Toy Fair, Booth 2835 - Yahoo Finance - February 13th, 2020