Tetris on the Game Boy is one of the best multiplayer titles of all time, even if it did exist in a period when wireless local play was the stuff of a madman’s dreams. Instead, players would have to connect their consoles using the (easily lost) link cable – and it’s this primitive method of connectivity that has allowed a hacker to create the ‘perfect’ game of Tetris, where only long, straight pieces are dropped in the play zone.
Twitter user stacksmashing / ghidraninja – the same user who hacked the Super Mario Bros. Game & Watch and used the Game Boy to mine Bitcoin – has created a hack that exploits the way the two competing Game Boy consoles ‘talk’ to one another.
After reverse-engineering the link-up process, stacksmashing discovered that the Game Boy which initiates the multiplayer connection sends over all of the random pieces to the rival console to ensure that both players have the same experience. By inserting a piece of custom hardware in the middle of the connection, stacksmashing was able to create a program that only sends straight-line pieces (or “tetrominoes”, if you prefer) in the multiplayer mode – all without hacking or modifying the original game in any way.
The end result? The least challenging game of Tetris ever, but boy, does it feel good to see all of those elusive straight-line pieces fill up the screen.
As is so often the case, this discovery has more far-reaching consequences. The aim is to better understand how link cable software works and eventually allow players to connect their old Game Boy units to the internet and play link cable games online – a noble idea, especially when you consider how difficult it is these days to find a worthy opponent locally.