#189 Columns

Posted: 19th December 2010 by Mulholland in Games
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10th game played so far

Genre: Puzzle
Platform: Arcade and Sega Mega Drive/Genesis
Year of Release: 1990
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega

This is a game from my youth here. My first console was a Sega Mega Drive and Columns was one of the first games that I had on it (alongside Cool Spot and Sonic The Hedgehog) so there are a lot of memories involved here.

As games go this bares all the hallmarks of a Tetris clone, but there is some more to this game than just that. It was one of the (if not the) first falling block puzzle to include gravity. By this I mean that when you got your three-in-a-row there were consequences as pieces would fill in the holes rather than the floating pieces that we had come to know and love. Also matches were done by matching three of the same colours in a row (be it horizontal, vertical or diagonal) which introduced an extra element of colour matching alongside the usual spatial reasoning.

I may be waxing lyrical about Columns but there is a reason this on the list. It isn’t just a clone where the pieces look like boiled sweets, there is quite a bit more to it.

Our Playthrough

This is a puzzle game so there is only way to properly play it… in competition with each other. This also has a 2-player mode which is always good to peruse.

Our Thoughts

I think that we may have found the game that prompted manufacturers to advise gamers to take rests during gaming. Unlike what we did on the last game played.


First things, what did you think on your first exposure to Columns?

Well, first, this is a game that’s been imitated and modified often, so the basics are familiar. But this being one of the basics, it was interesting. It needs quite some getting used to as it can be rather tough. But once you get into it, it’s very addictive.

I think one thing that really extended its longevity was the introduction of ‘gravity’. It was such a game changer, literally. It was, and allowed for far more combinations to take place which made it easier in some ways and more challenging in others since you really had to think multiple moves in advance. Yes. All in all, there was more to the gameplay, and while the simplicity of Tetris can also be fun, this makes it more fun.

The 2-player co-op mode was a nice addition too. That was so much better than the general head-to-head match. And it’s what lost us over an hour today. We kept going and had to force ourselves to wind down which really did not work, as you can see, since we both got to over a million points. Yeah, unfortunately, but we managed it by forcing each other to lose. Which I think may have been the point…


Either way it really made me fancy some Cherry Drops… I suppose they look similar.

Still, it’s probably not the best of all puzzle games, but it’s a lot of fun, and the multiplayer adds a lot to gameplay. Considering when it was made, I can see why it was ported to every console going.

Final Thoughts

Like I said, Columns has a lot of good memories tied up in it. It would make for a good addition to a retro games night… but I am sure there are many more recent puzzle games on the list that will run rings around it. It’s still great fun though.