I always start at level 9, game mode A.

At some point, whether it's based on time or the number of points, the blocks start falling so fast that the "down button" feature loses all meaning; it gets so intense that it rarely takes longer than a few minutes at the most before the game outspeeds my brain and it's game over for me.

This appears to happen roughly around 200,000 points. My record is just about 240,000 points, when it's already absolutely crazy how fast the blocks go.

(I cannot believe that there are people who are able to get 999,999 points. They must have super fast and focused brains. Even 300,000 seems infinitely far away for me; it took me seven months of bathroom breaks to reach 240,000 from my previous record: 230,000... I fear I've reached some sort of upper limit for my own Tetris skills, which probably aren't going to get better at this point.)

The manual is very vague and isn't clear on whether this is based on time or the number of points.

Basically, can I take my sweet time until a certain number of points, or is there an advantage in reaching a high score as fast as possible as well? I sort of assumed that it was time-based, but now I'm unsure. If it's time-based, that's another stress factor to take into consideration, and I'll probably reset even more often if such is the case. After all, it's much easier to get "Tetris strikes" (four rows at once) at level 9 compared to whatever level I'm on when it starts going super fast (I tend to only look at the score), so if it's indeed time-based, I'd want to get in as many such "strikes" as early as possible, before the game goes crazy on me.

(This game is truly addicting, and extremely satisfying.)

  • 1
    I know someone who had 2 gameboys and 2 tetris cartridges. One for the actual game, and another one to 'warm up' after a long break playing, so the current game could be resumed more easily Nov 1, 2020 at 8:43

3 Answers 3



The level determines how fast the pieces drop. At level 9 a piece drops (assuming you don't press down) 1 row every 11 frames. So at the Gameboy's framerate of 59.73fps that means it drops at a speed of 1 row every 184ms.

At level 10 it speeds up, dropping the piece every 10 frames. At level 20 it reaches a speed of 1 drop every 3 frames (50ms) and doesn't get any faster after that.

  • 3
    Well done. Short and to the point. Nov 1, 2020 at 15:57
  • 3
    I wonder if the difficulty ramp could have been made smoother by adding a delay after each piece appears at the top, before it starts falling, and having that delay decrease between levels 10-19, and then increase slightly when reading level 20, and start decreasing with each level after that?
    – supercat
    Nov 1, 2020 at 17:36
  • Seems like you'd be really interested in the movie "Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters (2011)".
    – Stax
    Nov 2, 2020 at 0:51

Neither, the speed depends on the level, which in turn depends on the number of lines you have completed.

So if you want to maximize your score, then in the early game you want to focus on getting as much score as possible out of each line, then at some point switch focus to preparing for and then surviving the speedup.


from memory 20 years ago, might not be accurate! :p

yes, the speed increases with every level!

some tips since you seem to struggle:

for training you can start in higher levels, so the speed difference is not that high and you don't get lured into getting sleepy in the first levels. there was a combination to start in level 2+10 instead of 2, not sure, maybe A+start or downarrow+start.

Also in the higher levels there is no time to think about how to solve the patterns, you try to get one narrow free channel in the middle and anything that does not fit gets moved left or right out of the way.

while the current stone is dropping you should already think about where you will place the stone that you see in the next box. or more accurately, you have to know where you will place it.

i remember playing on that high levels was like turning the brain off and just letting muscle memory do everything. you get an L, move it to the left and rotate it upside down. for inverse the same, but move it to the right, and so on for the S and inverse S and the long tetris bricks go in the middle channel which might be exactly on row or better two rows, so you can fill it with random pieces from time to time.

but i think the best thing was to get the long tetris and clear 4 rows, then the animation of the row destruction gives you some extra milliseconds to breath. ;P

do not hit pause .. i repeat, do not hit pause! it's exhausting to play the whole thing until the end, but any break the fast pace and your brain won't be able to jump in when you unpause.

good luck, one day you will see the giant rocket, too

/* goes to ebay to see if there a used gameboys for purchase */

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