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Announcing the Tetris Max High Score Contest, October 14

Oh yes, this is happening. This is the moment. Put your peril-sensitive sunglasses on, warm up your wrists, and prepare your ergonomic keyboards. Saturday October 14 at Mactoberfest Meetup will feature the first-ever public Tetris Max high score contest, with the winner taking home a complete and newly-restored Performa computer system plus other fabulous prizes TBD, and international acclaim as Tetris Max World Champion. There’s also an online competition category that I just made up this very second. You won’t want to miss it. ESPN has nothing on the excitement of this sporting event!

tetris max 2

Contest Rules

To keep the contest as fair as possible, we need some ground rules. The contest will run from 11:00 am to 3:30 pm Pacific Daylight Time or UTC−07:00 on Saturday October 14. Practice all you want before then, but qualifying high scores must be set during this time window. Games already in progress at 3:30 pm may continue until finished. The score must be achieved on a real 68030 or 68040-equipped Macintosh (no emulators) with CPU speed of 25 MHz or faster, with ADB keyboard (no USB adapters) or PowerBook built-in keyboard, and with Tetris Max v2.9.x as the only open application. The game must be started with the Begin New Game menu option – the Practice or Repeat Last Game options must not be used. The minimum qualifying high score is 16000 points. In case of any rules ambiguity, the contest organizer will make a final decision.

Live Contest at Mactoberfest

To be eligible for the live contest you must be physically present at Mactoberfest Meetup in Belmont California, and set a high score on a computer at the meetup. I will have two computers prepared for the contest, and other computers can also be used as long as they meet the contest rules criteria. The highest scorer at the end of the contest will win a complete Macintosh Performa 460 computer system, described below. There may be runner-up prizes as well. You must be present at the meetup at 3:30 pm to be eligible for a prize.

Online Contest

High scores must be set during the same time window as the live contest, with computers meeting the same rules criteria. The entire game session from start to finish must be recorded in one continuous video with no cuts. Use your phone camera or other device for recording. If you achieve a high score over 16000 then KEEP RECORDING and include these at the end of the video, with no cuts:

  • show the contents of the “About This Macintosh” window
  • show the actual computer the game is running on
  • open or in your phone or PC browser and show the current news headlines

Submit the video by uploading it to your favorite platform (YouTube or just Google Drive if you want to keep it private), then email your score and a link to your video to Submissions must be received by 5:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time to be considered. Videos that don’t include all the required elements, or that show signs of editing or ResEdit tampering or other creative shenanigans, will be disqualified. The highest scorer at the end of the contest will win the internet for a day and receive a $100 gift certificate to the BMOW store.

Pro Tip #1: What better time than now to drop some secret knowledge? There are two hidden bonuses in Tetris Max, both worth a major amount of points. They’re hinted at in the game’s instructions, but have never been explained. Bonus 1 is worth an extra 2500 points if you clear a row that’s entirely made of a single color. Bonus 2 will gain you a hefty 10000 extra points if you clear the entire playfield, with no squares remaining visible. Each bonus has a special accompanying sound effect too. Go try it!

Pro Tip #2: Enable “accelerated left/right piece motion” in the game’s preferences. Without this you have virtually no chance of surviving at higher levels. It reduces the key repeat delay to almost nothing, so even at level 10 speeds you can hold down the J or L key and it’ll slam the piece into the side of the playfield before it falls too far.

Fabulous Prizes Can Be Yours

The winner of the live competition will receive a Macintosh Performa 460 system, recapped and recently restored, with an Apple Extended Keyboard II, mouse, and LCD monitor. This is a sweet system and I must be crazy for giving it away.

The history of this computer makes an interesting story. It was assembled from bits and pieces of several other computers and spare parts I’d had languishing in the closet for years. The motherboard was originally an LCIII, but was recapped with tantalum capacitors and modified to increase the clock speed from 25 MHz to 33 MHz. This is sometimes informally called an LCIII+ but it corresponds to the Performa 460. The case and power supply were donated by a dead Performa 405.

Hard disk? Yes, I had a spare working SCSI disk to donate to the cause. Floppy drive – are you kidding? Of course I already had too many to count, and could spare one for this system.

The keyboard is an Apple Extended Keyboard II in nice condition with all keys working. I recently got another one of these and don’t need two. The mouse is a regular Apple Desktop Bus Mouse II, the rounded style that was in use at the time this computer would have been new.

The monitor is a Viewsonic VG900b 19 inch 1280×1024 LCD. I purchased this LCD only a week ago and I’d planned to use it with my Mac IIci, but couldn’t get the sync settings working. It does work nicely with the multisync-capable video hardware in the P460, at either 640×480 or the Performa’s maximum resolution of 832×624 with thousands of colors. A Mac DA-15 to VGA monitor adapter is included with the prize system.

  • Performa 460 (in a Performa 405 case)
  • 33 MHz 68030, 4MB RAM, 768K VRAM
  • 80 MB SCSI HD with System 7.1 and custom software collection
  • Apple Extended Keyboard II
  • Apple Desktop Bus Mouse II
  • Viewsonic VG900b LCD monitor
  • VGA cable with DA-15 adapter
  • everything tested and working
  • Price: all this can be yours for the price of one Tetris Max high score

Do you have what it takes to set the high score? You’ve got two weeks to practice. Get going!

disclaimer: not responsible for causation of severe carpal tunnel syndrome

Read 3 comments and join the conversation 

3 Comments so far

  1. James Sime - September 29th, 2023 4:12 pm

    Oh very cool! I’m terrible at Tetris but I look forward to earning a top spot in the Losers Circle for this!

  2. Steve - October 10th, 2023 6:33 am

    I’ve lowered the minimum qualifying high score to 16000. The minimum was intended to save everybody time by filtering out scores that obviously wouldn’t win the contest, not set a bar that almost nobody could reach. There may also be secret prizes for runner-up high scores, so it’s not only about the top scorer.

  3. Peter Wagner - January 19th, 2024 2:08 pm

    Wow, after all these years I had no idea there were those two bonus score opportunities and accompanying sounds. Now I have to give it a try!

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