First Person Tetris
Ah, Tetris, that most classic of casual games. Who hasn't heard of Tetris? Some of you, dear readers, probably played the game in the womb, it is that well known. Created in 1984 as a communist plot to tie up all the workers in the West, thus to cause the entire capitalist system to collapse... what do you mean, that's not what it was invented for? Tell that to the millions of addicted office workers and billions of lost productivity hours. At any rate, First Person Tetris, an interesting new action puzzle game, takes the old classic and puts a brand new spin on it. Literally.
If you are familiar with the classic (and most everyone should be), the game is simple. Use the [arrow] keys to move pieces, the [space] bar to rotate pieces, the [enter] key to drop pieces, and the [esc] key to pause or change the settings. You can also set the music to one of three classic chip tunes, or turn it off completely. The real fun begins when you hit the play button.
Once play begins you are confronted with a sight that would be familiar to any of the older readers out there, a classic Nintendo console attached to a vintage television set, with video tapes (ask your grandparents about Beta vs. VHS, kiddo) and a lovely potted plant. This could be any suburban home circa 1987. The game on the screen is classic Tetris, and the first piece is falling. All you have to do is push the space bar to rotate the piece so that there are no spaces on the board, fitting the falling pieces together like a jigsaw. Do that, however, and you have fallen down the rabbit hole! Because when you hit the space bar you are not rotating the piece, but rather the entire background, creating a dizzying new variation that almost makes the game feel new again.
Of course, the dynamic is the same as basic Tetris; fill in the bottom of the area (for a given definition of "bottom") without leaving any spaces if possible. Once a row has filled in completely it will vanish, which is good as the pieces of varying shapes keep coming and coming, faster and faster. Keep playing until the space fills up and you die, or until the perspective skewing nausea sets in, causing you to fall drunkenly from your chair (or couch, or wherever you are sitting). Fun!
This is what casual gameplay is all about, something that can occupy you for minutes (or hours), rediscovering an old chestnut and seeing it with fresh new eyes. Be warned, though, if you can survive the motion-induced nausea you may find out what all those office workers of old discovered, once started it's difficult to stop. Have fun!