Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Horror! The Horror!

The 3D Tetris game I've been playing for the past few years, the only version of the old arcade game Blockout that I've been able to find, just went down. I went to the host site today and got a message in Danish or German that I had to run through a translator:

"Very honoured visitor, unfortunately an error arose: The desired side was not found. Did you perhaps mistype or old URL did call? If not, inform please the Web master of this homepage by email. In order to return to the previous side, you use please simply " Zurück" - Key of your browser."
Rejection in broken English.

I was really, really addicted to playing this game. Back in my undergraduate college days, I had to take a bus from the University of Texas campus to my home in North Austin. By the afternoon this bus ran only once an hour, so when I was through with classes I had a long wait.

The University Rec Center was right by the bus stop, so I could go in and play or watch video games. But I usually had 30 minutes to kill, and a very limited budget, so I needed a game I could get good at if I wanted to play. I'm not really great (or even good) at video games, but then I discovered Blockout, a three-dimensional version of Tetris with vector graphics and two joysticks that let you rotate pieces along the x, y, and z axes as well as move them up and down. I became probably the only non-engineering student and among the only non-Asians to become a top ten player at this game, whiling away half an hour on a quarter.

Guys would come up while I was busy playing to challenge me, note the English lit and History books scattered by my backpack, and confidently drop in their quarter, only to be taken aback by my thumb-twiddling, shape-spinning prowess. At least that's how I remember it.

A few years ago I found a free online version. It was hard adjusting to using 9 keys to rotate, slide, and drop pieces, and level 9 somehow always managed to kick my ass, but I could always get a score in the top 20 for the past 24 hours, frequently in the top 15, and occasionally even the top 10. You have to bear in mind that my typical ranking for an open to all, online game like this is in the hundreds at best.

Now it's gone. I found this variation, but it's ugly, has the wrong perspective, and the grid is tiny compared to the real Blockout grid.

Hopefully this beautiful engine of virtual geometry and pointless block stacking will return once more to induce trancelike states of mental peace and occasional outbursts of swearing from yours truly.


Aaron DaMommio said...

Dude, try this one!

Doug said...

Hey, this looks exactly right in terms of the controls and perspective. But when I click Play It, a window pops up that says 3D Worm. I thought Internet worms were bad! And this is from Russia!

Is this safe?

Bewildered in Boise

Aaron DaMommio said...

I figured it'd be worth it to ya.