This Actually Playable LEGO Tetris Set Celebrates the Digital Game’s 40th Anniversary

Not only does this LEGO set let you slide bricks into place, it comes with a randomized brick generator, and even a scoreboard to capture your score!

A perfect tribute to one of the world’s most influential digital games (with perhaps the most riveting backstory of any game ever), this LEGO Ideas set comes from the mind of LEGO Builder ‘victorvey300’ who wanted to pay a hat-tip to Tetris on its 40th anniversary which first made its appearance in Russian game circles back in the early 80s, finally finding its way to Nintendo’s first Game Boy in 1985. The LEGO set comes in the form of a box with a lid that doubles as the game’s screen. Bricks sit in a container below, controls can be found on the bottom right, and the top right acts as a leaderboard. When all’s done, the box closes shut, ensuring that bricks don’t get lost.

Designer: victorvey300

Not to spoil the AppleTV+ movie for you, but the Tetris game has one of the most nail-biting backstories of all time. Developed by Alexey Pajitnov, a resident of the Soviet Republic in the 80s, Tetris was circulated heavily within the USSR on bootlegged floppy disks and finally made its way to an American sales representative for a gaming company. What ensued was literally Cold War espionage at its best. Henk Rogers, the American rep who discovered Tetris tried to buy the rights to the game on behalf of Nintendo, which was working on the first Game Boy handheld console. Tetris was to be a part of this revolutionary portable gaming device, but the Soviets weren’t ready to sell Tetris to any outsider without putting up a fight (all hardware and software sales outside the Union were controlled/authorized by a government agency). In the end, Pajitnov managed to escape Russia and also ended up selling the rights to Tetris, which featured on the first Game Boy, becoming the global sensation it is today. As a tribute to this story and to Alexey himself, the LEGO Ideas kit also comes with a minifigure of Pajitnov standing beside an old-school computer!

The beauty of this LEGO build lies in just how much attention to detail it has. The vault-shaped kit has Tetris graphics on the outside (with branding), and the inside is simply filled with features and details that allow as many as 6 players to actually play a full game of Tetris, complete with brick generators that tell you what the next brick should be.

Playing the game is delightfully simple. Bricks sit in a bin at the bottom, the playable area or the matrix grid is right in front with vertical channels to slide bricks down, and a treadmill-shaped panel on the bottom right lets you scroll to see what your next brick should be. Scroll with your right hand, find the corresponding brick with your left and drop it down the channel of your choice. It slides down instantly, landing in place just the way it would in a game. The only real difference is that you need to choose each brick’s orientation and position before you drop it into the channel. Pieces don’t rotate or move once they’ve been slid in.

A game of digital Tetris can go on for HOURS because every time you complete a row, it disappears, helping clear out a part of the screen for more gameplay. That feature doesn’t exist in this LEGO version, which makes for a fairly shorter game… but calculating scores is much easier, allowing you to correspond the uppermost complete row to the line on the scoreboard right beside it. You can, however, reset the entire game in a flash by hitting the red Reset button on the left side of the matrix grid and have all the bricks drop down into the bin below. The alternative would be to manually lift each brick out of the lid, which sounds a little too problematic…

The Tetris bricks are referred to as tetrominoes, and come in 7 shapes that correspond with letters of the alphabet (I, O, T, J, L, S, and Z). The bricks are color-coded to make things easier to understand (after all, we recognize colors MUCH faster than we do shapes) for all people, and the game allows as many as 6 players, with colorful studs that you can press into the scoreboard to mark your highest scores.

This LEGO kit comes from the mind of independent builder victorvey300, who put his passion for LEGO and his love for Tetris together to create this incredibly comprehensive MOC (my own creation). Victor’s submission is a part of LEGO’s Ideas forum, a community-driven site where passionate LEGO creators build their own structures and users vote for their favorite ones. With over 5000 votes, this LEGO Tetris set is cruising comfortably to hit the 10,000 vote mark, which is then followed by LEGO’s own internal team reviewing the submission before turning it into a retail set. If you want, you can vote for the LEGO Ideas Tetris set too simply by visiting the LEGO Ideas website here.