ctris and seatris: A homophonic puzzle pair

You might find this hard to believe, but I have another week’s worth — at least — of games prepped for discussion. I know we just finished a huge 10-day block of games last month, but it seems that if you mention a console game, people are quite eager to suggest another.

And so my last round of 20 or so games netted another 20, at least a dozen of which work fine and will grace these pages in coming days. My only fear is that this might become a self-perpetuating reaction, and I’ll never see the end of this blog. … 😥

I’m going to pluck out the easy ones today, just because two of the crop are both Tetris remakes. I hold no ill will toward Tetris clones, but it’s a common programming exercise and (without being rude) neither of these rises to the level of the best Tetrises I’ve seen.

Over the past two years I’ve probably tried a dozen more of these in varying quality, and there are probably still dozens more out there. 😯 So let’s crank through this homophonic puzzle pair, in the manner of some other grouped games. …



Pros: Good clean colors, easy shapes, straightforward controls. Clean display arrangement, tucks into 80×24. Pause key. Keeps a high score list. Cons: Moves quickly from the start. Does not resize to terminal. No on-screen cues aside from score, level and next piece. Only one-way rotation. No drop indicator. Overall: ctris manages to nail the core elements of Tetris without missing any critical component, but also doesn’t add any embellishments whatsoever. Your flag options are scant and don’t add much to gameplay, but the pure Tetris experience is here. That much puts ctris dead square in the middle of the pack for Tetris clones, with plenty worse than ctris, and plenty better.



Pros: Strict ASCII characters, but with bolded colors. Cumulative block stats and plenty of other on-screen info, but somewhat jumbled. Optional key arrangements. Very basic display that nestles into 80×24. Keeps high score chart. Good pacing, and level advance controls. Cons: Game trough is somewhat narrow, and pieces are slim, making the play field hard to read as blocks are broken apart. Does not resize to terminal. Optional, but not customizable, key arrangements. Everything is bold, as opposed to using accents for visibility. One rotational direction. Overall: seatris has shortcomings that could be easily corrected, but until then it rides much the same rail as ctris. seatris may offer a few more options for controls and a few more on-screen cues and stats, but certainly doesn’t leapfrog ctris on those grounds. I give it more slack since its source code dates back to 1999 though. 😐

Neither ctris nor seatris strikes me as much innovation, but that doesn’t discount the fact that they both work fine. There are better tetris options available to you that will only cost a sliver more in system resources though, so I can’t see picking one of these over yetris or vitetris, unless you’re just fond of one.

For what it’s worth, I have considered closing the doors on Tetris clones, much like I have for revision control systems or one-codec playback tools or firewall tools. Writing a Tetris clone is probably a hush-hush rite of passage for CS degrees somewhere, and I’m probably lucky I don’t have more to sift through.

For the time being though, I don’t mind including them. It will have to be a game of immense technical prowess to impress me though. Stay tuned. … 😐