How to Satisfy Your Tetris Cravings on macOS
Apple journalist John Gruber recently lamented that there just aren’t any Tetris games for macOS. And he wasn’t suggesting that there aren’t any good games. According to Gruber, there aren’t any Tetris games, period. He couldn’t find a single official Tetris game on the Mac App Store, nor any Tetris clone, to satisfy his gaming nostalgia:
“So as far as I can tell, not only is there no official Tetris for Mac, there are no Tetris-like games either. Back in the 90s, there were several really good Tetris games for the Mac. Anyone remember Wesleyan Tetris? It was a goofy version in which the developer, Randall Cook, would rudely critique your gameplay.”
We’ve got your back, Gruber. Here’s a short list of all the different ways you can drop and shuffle blocks on macOS.
Play Tetris in the Terminal
Yes, you can still play Tetris directly in the macOS Terminal. It works perfectly well in the latest iteration of High Sierra, and we suspect this little Easter egg of-sorts will persist forever. To get your game on, enter “emacs” in the macOS terminal, hit “Enter,” press ESC, press the “x” key, type in “tetris,” hit “Enter,” and start strategizing. (Tap Command + to make the playing area bigger.)
Download “Tetris” from the Mac App Store
Yes, Virginia, there is Tetris in the Mac App Store. You won’t find an official version of the old-school game, because it would be too much to ask for The Tetris Company to spend a few minutes releasing a normal version of the game for anyone to purchase.
Instead, try checking out Tetri-Pentix ($1.99). It’s not free, and it throws in an extra brick figure on top of the “classic four” you’ll find in regular Tetris—sacrilege, we know—but the core gameplay is still there. Plus, it’s been around for a few years, so it probably isn’t going to be sued into oblivion by an angry Tetris Company.
There’s also Tico (free), which looks pretty Tetris-like, as well as Screen Bricks ($0.99) and Block vs Block II ($4.99), to name a few alternatives.
Find another download service
If you sign up for Valve’s Steam service, there are plenty of different Tetris-like games you can grab for macOS (but, unfortunately, not the best of them—Puyo Puyo Tetris). Here are a few of our favorites:
Tricky Towers ($14.99) is a lovely new take on the block-dropping genre (with local multiplayer support).
MouseCraft ($9.99) is a weird fusion of Tetris and Lemmings that has earned some pretty high praise from previous players.
Brick Battalion ($9.99) lets you battle it out against up to eight other players at once, assuming anyone is actually playing the game online. (We hope the AI bots give you enough of a challenge.)
Tico ($4.99) is a straight-up clone of Tetris, though it also throws in a few extra blocks if you want to challenge yourself outside of the game’s Classic mode.
Finding some free Tetris titles
If you don’t want to pay for a game you’ve been playing for decades, there are a few free Tetris options available for macOS. Cultris II gives you split-screen functionality for playing against a friend at home and some helpful training sessions for mastering your block-matching skills. NullpoMino is a great “open-source action puzzle game” you can grab for macOS that also comes with multiplayer support—over your LAN or the Internet, that is.
You could also jump online and play an emulated version of the classic Tetris for the Nintendo Game Boy (the music!), fire up the ever-popular Blockbattle.net (a clone of TetriNET that you can play in your browser), or go online and try your luck at a more official version of the game. You could even install OpenEmu, grab a not-so-legal ROM of any version of Tetris you want, and play it on macOS that way.