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Sega rotation

From Sega Retro

Sega rotation is a set of rules for Tetris, divised by Sega during development of their eponymous Sega System 16 arcade release of the game. While the concept of Tetris was designed by Alexey Pajitnov and the rights of the game then held by the Russian state-owned Elektronorgtechnica (Elorg), the specifics of the game were, at the time, not standardised, meaning every company which created a Tetris game implemented the rules in a slightly different way.

"Sega rotation" is not an official term, but was adopted by the Tetris community to differentiate the system from other Tetris rulesets, most notably "Nintendo rotation" which was implemented in the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy releases of the game. For a while, Sega rotation became the de facto standard for the game across Japan, being used as a base for several Japanese-produced Tetris games during the 1990s (e.g. Tetris Plus by Jaleco, and the Tetris: The Grand Master series by Akira).

The current owners of the Tetris property, The Tetris Company created a standardised "super rotation" ruleset some years later, of which most developers now follow.

Rules

Core elements of Tetris (i.e. tetromino pieces fall, lines are cleared) are consistent across all licensed variants of the game - the rotation systems merely dictate how the blocks should rotate.

Sega rotation pre-dates the concept of "wall kicks", meaning if there is no space to rotate, the piece will not rotate. Later variants of the game will shift the block left or right if there is not enough space to perform a rotation (and there is space for the piece to be moved), meaning Sega's system is more restrictive than what would come later. The "ceiling" also acts as a blockade, meaning it is not possible to rotate any tetromino until they have fallen one row down.

The extra time given for players to rotate blocks just before the piece is considered to have landed is equal to the time it takes for a piece to fall one block down. That is to say, when tetrominoes are falling slowly, there is more time to rotate than at higher speeds.

The game ends when a tetromino cannot be spawned without intersecting a block (as opposed to any block reaching the top row of the screen). All Sega versions of Tetris use a 10x20 grid.

Tetrominoes

"I" block

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"O" block

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"J" block

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"L" block

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"S" block

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"Z" block

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"T" block

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Starting positions

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Games which implement Sega rotation

System 16

System E

Mega Drive

System 18

System C

Saturn

NAOMI

Dreamcast

References