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The Tetris Guideline is the current specification that The Tetris Company enforces for making all new (2001 and later) Tetris game products alike in form. A mode labeled "standard" or just plain "Tetris" will adhere to the Guideline more closely than other modes. To download the guideline in its entirety, click here.

As of now, the Guideline is conjectured to encompass the following rules:

List of rules Edit

  • Playfield is 10×40, where rows above 20 are hidden or obstructed by the field frame to trick the player into thinking it's 10×20. In 2002 Guideline, it could be at least 22 height.
  • Tetrimino colors
    • Cyan I
    • Yellow O
    • Purple T
    • Green S
    • Red Z
    • Blue J
    • Orange L
  • In versions that use monochrome screens, or when hardware limitations disallow all colors to be used, the Tetriminos should have distinct hues and patterns to differentiate themselves.
  • Tetromino start locations
    • The I and O spawn in the middle columns
    • The rest spawn in the left-middle columns
    • The tetriminoes spawn horizontally with J, L and T spawning flat-side first.
    • Spawn above playfield, row 21/22 for Tetriminoes, 21 for I.
    • Immediately drop one space if no existing Block is in its path
  • Initial rotation and movement
  • Super Rotation System/Standard Rotation System (SRS) specifies tetrimino rotation
  • Standard mappings for console and handheld gamepads:
    • Up, Down, Left, Right on D-pad perform locking hard drop, non-locking soft drop (except first frame locking in some games), left shift, and right shift respectively.
    • One button rotates 90 degrees counterclockwise, and another button rotates 90 degrees clockwise.
    • Shoulder buttons use hold.
  • Standard mappings different from console/handheld gamepads for computer keyboards
  • So-called 7-bag Random Generator (also called "random bag" or "7 system")
  • "Hold piece": The player can press a button to send the falling tetrimino to the hold box, and any tetrimino that had been in the hold box moves to the top of the screen and begins falling. Hold cannot be used again until after the piece locks down. Games on platforms with fewer than eight usable buttons (such as the version on iPod) may skip this feature. The combination of hold piece and Random Generator would appear to allow the player to play forever. It must be enabled by default.
  • Must have sound effects on by default, on rotation, movement, landing on surface, touching a wall, locking, line clear and game over.
  • Game must have ghost piece function enabled by default.
  • Terms used in the user manual: "Tetriminos" (the capital T is required), as opposed to "tetrominoes", "tetrads" or "pieces"; letter names, as opposed to "square", "stick", etc.
  • Designated soft drop speed. Details vary between guideline versions.
  • Player may only level up by clearing lines or performing T-Spins (5 x level). Required lines depends on the game.
    • Single = 1 line
    • Double = 3 lines
    • Triple = 5 lines
    • Tetris = 8 lines
  • The game must use a variant of Roger Dean's Tetris logo, although this was true from around 2000 - before the guidelines emerged.
  • Game must include a song called Korobeiniki(default)¹, and optionally other songs, such as Katjusha or Kalinka.(Guideline 2005~) Must be on by default.
  • The player tops out when a piece is spawned overlapping at least one block, or a piece locks completely above the visible portion of the playfield.
  • Must have 1 to 6 next pieces.
  • Recognition and rewarding of T-spin moves. Conditions vary between guideline versions.
    • 2005: 3-corner T
    • 2006: 3-corner T no kick
  • Multiplayer and Arcade variations must have 15 moves/rotations before lock.
  • Mini T-spin is when one of the minoes next to pointing side is empty, or holes were made without using the triple kick.
  • Rewarding of Back to Back chains. (Tetris / T-spin)Recognition method depends on the game.
  • DAS no faster than Tetris Zone.[1] (However, some Japanese games blend the Guideline with the Sega tradition of 1G DAS: Tetris New Century, Kiwamemichi, and the TGM collection.)
  • 15 level marathon mode
  • 40 line mode (called sprint)
  • 2 minute timed mode (called ultra)
  • Speed curve must be the same as Tetris Worlds
  • Game must use a scoring system described here
  • Game must count down from 3 after you press start, and after you resume a paused game.
  • Game must have this notice when the game starts (XXXX is the year the game was created):
Tetris © 1985-XXXX Tetris Holding. Tetris logos, Tetris theme song and Tetriminos are trademarks of Tetris Holding. The Tetris trade dress is owned by Tetris Holding. Licensed to The Tetris Company. Tetris Game Design by Alexey Pajitnov. Tetris Logo Design by Roger Dean. All Rights Reserved.

If a user downloads the guideline, the extent to which the guideline specifies all aspects should be listed here.


Although Guideline-compliant games share many traits, they also have differences in many aspects as well. There are a few instances where a game will break a trait which is shared by all other games thought to be compliant. Examples of this include the lack of the hold function and the T-spin's ability to start and continue Back-to-Back chains in iPod Tetris, and the inverted rotation button layout of TGM3 and TGM ACE (or Kiwamemichi, depending on interpretation). No explanations have been given for the reasons of these games' deviations.

Certain games, such as Tetris Online (Japan) and the handheld electronic games by Radica Games defy the guidelines despite having "Authentic Tetris Game" labels.

Guideline Versions Edit

Henk Rogers has been quoted as revising the guideline annually. This may only adhere to 2005 and later, as so far only guideline 2002, 2005 and 2006 have been known to be in existence, and guideline 2002 games have been built from scratch and released as late as 2005.

So far, the first confirmed guideline 2005 games (TGM ACE) has been released in December 2005, while the first confirmed guideline 2006 game (Tetris: New Century, although iPod Tetris released earlier behaves similarly) was released in September 2006. Therefore, it can be conjectured that the schedule of a new guideline version is released somewhere between the middle to the latter half of the year.

While many games have no publicly visible indication of the guideline version by the developer or publisher, some games have had their exact guideline versions made clear by them. They are listed in the Guideline compliant game differences page.

The guideline also includes a "Borg Clause," which states that all variants featured in guideline games are owned by TTC. Therefore, all of the following aspects are owned by TTC:

  • Cascade gravity (since 2001)
  • Bag randomizer (since 1999)
  • Weighted bag randomizer (since 2001)
  • TGM grading (since 1998)
  • IHS/IRS
  • Initial spawn orientation (up)
  • Ghost piece
  • T-Spin

See also Edit

References Edit

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