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The hardest Tetris game is officially coming to consoles for the first time
The previously Japan-only Grand Master will release for PS4 and Switch next week
Tetris: The Grand Master, the expert-focused Tetris series only released in Japan, will be getting a console release next month for the first time.
As reported by Famitsu, the port will be released for Switch and PS4 by Hamster Corporation as part of its long-running Arcade Archives series.
Tetris: The Grand Master is notorious for being one of the most difficult Tetris games, with up to 999 levels of play. It was the first game in the series to introduce 20G gravity, which means when players hit a certain level, their blocks instantly appear at the bottom of the screen and can only be slid for half a second before they lock in place.
The series is also known for its grading system, where players are given a rank at the end going from rank 9 all the way up to Grand Master.
The release is designed to mark Hamster’s 300th consecutive weekly game release on the Nintendo eShop.
Ever since the Switch launched in March 2017, Hamster has released a new retro arcade game as part of its Arcade Archives or ACA Neo Geo series every week in Japan without fail.
To celebrate, it’s marking two ‘firsts’ for the series by releasing Tetris: The Grand Master and Galaxian. Galaxian will be released on November 24 and will mark the first game from the 1970s to feature in the Arcade Archives collection.
But it’s the release of Tetris: The Grand Master – which is the first 32-bit Arcade Archives game – that will likely garner the most interest, given that it has never received a home port to date.
Arika, the developer of The Grand Master, confirmed on Twitter that the game would be coming to the Switch and PS4.
It’s not yet clear if this will include a western release, but of the 340 Arcade Archives and ACA Neo Geo games released to date, only two of them – Wonder Boy and Ark Area – haven’t been released in the west.
The vice-president of Arika, Ichiro Mihara, stated last year that the company had planned to make an announcement regarding a home console port of the game, but that it had been delayed by external factors.
He also declared that there were plans to make a new fourth game in the series, but this depended on the success of the home port.
“The announcement we had planned for today regarding the TGM series for home use can not yet be released, due to circumstances outside of Arika,” Mihara said.
“We are also considering a new TGM game, but the licensors have asked us to make it conditional on the ‘success’ of the game, which is very fair, so we will do that.”
The original Tetris: The Grand Master was released in Japanese arcades in 1998, with sequels released in 2000 and 2005.
A spin-off version called Tetris: The Grand Master Ace was released as a launch game for the Xbox 360 in Japan, but because of the Xbox 360’s region locking and the extremely low sales of Xbox 360 consoles in the region it had only sold 4,000 copies after its first 10 weeks.
Because the series has never been released outside of Japan, Tetris fans in the west have had to resort to emulation to play the game. However, Mihara has publicly criticised emulation in the past, tweeting in 2014 that “winners do not use emulators and never clone”.