The Basics for Beginners

TGM is a very addictive game and rewards you by getting better and better over time. Even for the most seasoned veterans, there are always new strategies to learn and explore in order to improve your game and skills

That being said, this game can be brutally difficult when you are just starting out. This page overviews the mechanics and objectives of the game so that you can get started on the right foot.

The Objective of the Game

In TGM, your goal is not like other Tetris games where you aim for indefinite survival and a high-score. TGM is a challenge where you have a finite amount of levels and time to acheive as high of a grade as possible. The ultimate end goal is to achieve the rank of Grandmaster! After that, you can brag to all of your friends that you are one of the best Tetris players in the world ...

The following subsections outline the key things you need to know about in order to play the game and understand this objective.

The Well

The well is your playing field in TGM. it is 20 rows tall and ten columns wide. Pieces enter the well through the top of the screen, at which point they become controllable by the player. If a piece cannot spawn into the top of the well without colliding into existing pieces, then the player will lose the game. Losing the game in this fashion is called "topping out". Pieces can, however, go higher than the highest row, they will just not be displayed on screen. The next piece that will enter the game is seen just above the well.

Levels

Levels are the way that TGM is divided. The game is over once the player surpasses level 999 or if the player tops out.

There are 10 sections in total in TGM, each with unique background images and gravities. A section comprises 100 levels such that section 1 includes levels 0-99, section 2 includes levels 100-199, section 3 includes levels 200-299, etc.

There are two ways by which the level increases. If the player clears lines, the level will increase by the number of lines they cleared (e.g. if a player is on level 27 and they clear 2 lines, the level will increase to level 29). The level will also increase by 1 each time a new tetrimino enters the well.

There is a special case when the player's current level ends in 99. If the player's current level ends in 99 (e.g. 299, 399, etc.), this means that they are at the end of the current section and a newly spawned tetrimino will not increase the level counter by 1 (e.g. 299 will not increase to 300). This state is called being "level-stopped".

The only way to exit being "level stopped" and proceed to the next section is by increasing the level counter through line clears. For example, if the player is at level 299 (the end of section 3) and they clear a double, the level counter will increase to 301 and they will proceed to section 4. This also occurs at the end of the game on level 999. The player must clear a line in order to make the level counter surpass 999 and end the game.

Grades

A grade is a measure of your overall performance and folows the following heirarchy:

Grade Score Required
9 0
8 400
7 800
6 1400
5 2000
4 3500
3 5500
2 8000
1 12000
S1 16000
S2 22000
S3 30000
S4 40000
S5 52000
S6 66000
S7 82000
S8 100000
S9 12000
GM N.A.

As you can see in the table, grades start at 9, progress down to 1 before proceeding to the S ranks. The S ranks progress from S1 towards S9 and finally, the highest possible rank: Grandmaster (a.k.a. GM).

The grades are dependent on your current score. Your score is inceased by clearing lines. The scoring process is complicated, but in general, clearing more lines at once will result in a greater score.

The Grandmaster grade is earned by factors beyond just score and its calculation is a bit complicated. Refer to the expert page for more information.

The Interface

An example of the interface is shown below. The current grade is shown in the top-left box (in this case the grade is 1). The points threshold for the next grade is shown immediately below this. In this case, once the player's score exceeds 16000 points, they will achieve the new rank of S1.

The player'ts total points and current level are shown on the bottom left. In this case the player is on level 222 and this is shown as 222/300. This indicates that the player is on section 3 with 222 levels so far and that they must increase their level above 300 in order to proceed to the next section.

The total elapsed time of the game is shown at the bottom in min:sec:msec format.

The well is shown in the middle and the active piece that the player has control over is always slightly lighter in colour (in this case the active piece is the blue J piece). the piece that is about to enter the game next is shown at the top (in this case it is the T piece that will spawn in next).

The Mechanics

There are several TGM specific mechanics that will help you understand how the game functions. They are outlined below.

The Rotation System

All Tetris games have an underlying system that dictates how the pieces rotate. TGM uses the Arika Rotation System (ARS). Pressing the A button or C button will rotate a piece counter clockwise, while pressing the B button will rotate a piece clockwise. Pressing left or right will move a piece one column to the left or to the right. The rotations of all 7 pieces are shown below.

Z piece S piece J piece L piece T piece I piece O piece

These are the counter clockwise rotations, but the clockwise rotations are identical just in reverse. Note that the O piece is incapable of rotating. Learning these rotations by heart will be key to playing the game well.

Speed and Gravity

Gravity in TGM is the variable that determines how quickly newly spawned pieces fall and is denoted by XG (where X is a number, e.g. 1G, 15G, etc.. The game itself updates its screen 60 times per second. Each one of these updates is called a frame and each frame is displayed one after the other to create motion. The number ahead of the G indicates how many rows a piece will fall every frame. For example, a gravity of 1G indicates that a piece will fall exactly one row every frame.

The maximum gravity is 20G. At 20G, each piece will move downwards 20 rows per frame. Since there are a total of 20 rows in the well, this means that the piece will fall instantly to the ground!

In general, the gravity increases as the level counter increases. At level 200, the player is given a bit of a breather and the gravity slows down and is reset to its initial value. From level 200 onward, however, the gravity will start increasing at a dramatic pace. The gravity will cap out at 20G once the player reaches level 500. After that, the gravity remains the same for the rest of the game.

Soft Dropping and Manual Locking

In order to make pieces fall faster, the player can hold down. This will make the pieces fall at a rate of 1G. If the current gravity is greater than 1G, then holding down will have no effect on the piece's speed.

Pressing down has another function however. If you press down while a piece is in contact with the ground or another already locked piece, then this piece will lock in place immediately. This technique is referred to as manual locking

Lock Delay

Lock delay is the mechanism by which TGM can be played at very high gravities and speeds. When a piece touches the ground/another locked piece, it will take a set period of time before that piece locks in place and cannot be moved any more. This period of time is known as the lock delay and it is 0.5s long. During the lock delay period, the player can still rotate and move the active piece. If, during this period, the piece is moved in such a way that it falls down one or more rows, then the lock delay is reset back to 0.5s and it will start counting down again. Making use of lock delay is key to stacking pieces efficiently at high gravities.

Line Clears

When lines are cleared, your score increases. There are 5 types of line clears: a single (only one line), a double (two lines at once), a triple (three lines at once), a Tetris (four lines at once, the maximum) and a bravo (a line clear that causes the well to become completely empty). A Tetris awards the most points by far, while triples score more than doubles and doubles score more than singles. A bravo is a multiplier. If the screen is completely cleared, then a message saying "BRAVO" and some fireworks will appear. This multiplies the score earned by your line clear by 4.

Additionally, when lines are cleared, there is a short delay before the next piece enters the well called the line clear delay. This delay is to show the animation of the lines disappearing and takes 41 frames, or approximately 0.68 seconds.

IRS and ARE

I know what you're thinking, IRS and ARE, man there is a lot of jargon in this game. And yes, although there are a lot of specific names and acronyms, these concepts are actually quite simple.

ARE is not an acronym but actually an english translation of a Japanese word. ARE is a delay period of time that elapses from when the current piece is locked down to when the next piece spawns and it is exactly 30 frames or 0.5 seconds. ARE takes place after line clear delay. Nothing will happen during the ARE delay period and it is a mechanism of slightly slowing the game down and giving the player more time to think.

IRS is one of the most important mechanics in the game and will take some time to master. IRS stands for Initial Rotation System and it allows for a piece to be rotated before it spawns into the well. The orientation in which the pieces spawn can be seen in the next area at the top of the well. A piece will always spawn in this default orientation unless IRS is used.

IRS is used during the ARE period. If the player is holding down the A or C button when the ARE period elapses, then the spawned piece will appear already rotated once counter clockwise. If the player is holding down the B button when the ARE period elapses, then the spawned piece will appear already rotated once clockwise. A "beep" noise will play if an IRS maneouver was correctly input. If the player does not hold the A, B or C button when ARE elapses, then the piece will spawn in its default orientation.

Taking advantage of IRS and ARE are key to playing TGM well and will take some time to get used to and apply.