While bored one day, I came to think of Tetris. Tetris is a singleplayer game – I’m sure there are multiplayer versions of it, but I’ve never played one. I was considering how one could make a PvP (competitive) version of the game for Xbox Live. The first thing was to identify what makes Tetris singleplayer, and eventual problems in changing that.
- There is only one player in a Tetris game.
- You compete not against an enemy, but yourself.
- You do so by handling a complex task during increasing time pressure.
- Performance is measured through points, based on how long the player “survived” (measured in the amount of rows removed).
It would be simple to have some form of splitscreen gameplay where each player would play his own Tetris board and just compete about the score, but that wouldn’t be very different from playing on your own and then comparing points. What we want is to engage the other player somehow. These are the ideas I came up with.
- Keep the splitscreen idea so that both player’s could see each others boards, but turn the view of the enemy’s board upside down to increase the difficulty of analyzing his progress and state.
- Keep it as a game of survival, but instead of trying to reach the next difficulty level the goal would be to outlive the enemy.
- Let the players engage with each other through sabotage. Each player could replace the enemy’s Tetris piece with his own (while recieving a random new one himself), triggering a cooldown hindering him from repeating this for another 30 seconds. Different strategies could emerge from this.
- Whenever the enemy gets a piece he needs, replace it.
- Wait until the enemy is just about to place his piece before you replace it, giving him no choice to place your piece there instead.
- Get a new piece when you are not happy with your own.
- Count not points from the number of rows removed (which would make this into a game of speed, even allowing for the possibility to win the game through points even though you reached the top and failed). Instead, count points in the number of free unblocked rows, at the end of the game.
I think this could be a fairly fun game of Tetris. I’d try it out.