10 Life Lessons That 'Tetris' Can Teach You

#5. Too Much Tetris Can Make You Go Crazy

If you've ever played Tetris for several hours straight, like if you had a column you were putting off or something, you may have noticed something strange when you found yourself violently thrust out into the real world. Like a sudden urge to see everything around you as if they were Tetris pieces. Furniture, cars, buildings -- anything and everything is suddenly evaluated for its stackability.

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You could easily fit a thousand more children into this day care.

This is called the Tetris effect, and it's totally a real thing that shows up in a number of other places. Any visual task with repetitive elements, really; mathematicians have often reported dreaming of numbers and equations.

But it shows up most often in video games. People walking around, disconcerted by the fact that they don't have a shotgun held directly in front of them, with no helpful ammunition counter in the corner of their vision. Or playing Tony Hawk for several hours and then evaluating every part of the world around you for its grindability. Or, after a long Grand Theft Auto session, having to mentally restrain yourself from stealing a taxi and ramping it into a bus.

To check its grindability, no doubt.

#4. There Really Aren't 10 Things to Say About Tetris

The more I think about it, the more I realize that Tetris is really a pretty simple game. There aren't any more life lessons to learn about Tetris. This is a child's game about stacking blocks. There's nothing more to be learned here.

Biochem1 via Wikimedia Commons
I should have done one about Jenga, whose moral contours philosophers are still exploring.

Why did I ever think I could come up with TEN life lessons from Tetris? I mean sure, 10 is a nice round number, and that's appealing to me a lot right now for some reason. Also, when people see a title like that, they think "There's no way to learn 10 things from Tetris! I've played Tetris and I don't know 10 things!" and then they trip over themselves to click on the link. It's a cheap way to get links, but it works.

Noel Hendrickson/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Like shooting fish in a supermarket.

But 10 just doesn't feel realistic now. Maybe that's a life lesson? Not to overpromise things.

You know something? Fuck it. Everyone can go home early. I've gotta stop thinking about this stupid game so much.

#3. Oh God Why Can't I Stop Thinking About Tetris?


Oh shit. It's the Tetris effect. I've got Tetris Madness real bad.

Digital Vision/Photodisc/Getty Images

Oh man. I always knew this column would end with the state taking my belt and shoes from me, but I always kind of imagined there'd be more sirens and lamentations and machete wounds. But here we are. I've got Tetris Madness, and the only cure is there is no cure.

Wait! There are 10 columns in Tetris, right?

One, Two, Three, Four, Six, Four, Four, Eleven, Twelveteen, Ten!

That's why I need 10 entries! The Tetris Madness! If only I can come up with two more stupid, labored Tetris life lessons to squeeze into this column, I'll be done. The row will be complete!

#2. Invest in Low-Fee Mutual Funds

OK. This ... is ... the thing ... Hmmm.


I guess if the blocks on the ground are the marketplace, and the blocks that are falling are investment vehicles, and a fee is like ... lag? Then, high fees will make it harder to Tetris your retirement portfolio to its fullest ... fiduciary-ness?

Websters actually defines "fiduciary-ness" as "?"

Yes. Good. Perfect. Invest in low-fee mutual funds, index funds, or ETFs, just as Tetris instructs, and indeed has always instructed you.

I'm gonna make it! So are you, reluctantly, unwillingly! On to #1!

#1. Tetris Teaches You Everything You Need to Know About Sex

Tetris will, if you let it, take you by the hand on a tour of the mysteries of human sexuality.

Stay with me here.

Its very basic gameplay has as one of its goals an all too clear allusion to the physical act of lovemaking itself:

Also, group sex:

And so on:

So, in conclusion, Tetris, much like sex, is a way to "score" and get "points," and is certainly nothing to "be embarrassed about doing for 28 hours one spring weekend."


Is that it? Did I do it? Ten entries! I'm free!

Wait. What happens after you clear a line in Tetris?

#10. It Doesn't Stop Until You Die

That's pretty harsh, but it is so obviously the most important lesson that can be learned about Tetris that it deserves to be mentioned first. When you clear a line, it disappears, leaving you room to clear another. And another.

The pieces never stop coming.

Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and sometimes has to physically unplug the Internet if he wants to get anything done. Join him on Facebook or Twitter and waste more of his time, won't you?

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