Shifting the focus over to building world wonders with lines accrued makes The New Tetris the first Tetris in the franchise to reach 'biblical' proportions. Why 'biblical'? Because the sheer amount of effort it takes to build one of these mammoths made me feel like I actually was a slave in Egypt! I agree with Dale that it's a huge misstep and the feature should have been implemented less painfully.

Still, I didn't find The New Tetris to be the horror show that Dale likened it to. Credit the inclusion of the square-building aspect. While most 10-year olds in a fragfest would have me begging for mercy faster than Justin Volpe on trial, I'd say my Tetris skills are comparable to anyone in this planet. My affair with the shapely demons is a bond that I've harnessed through years of countless lines and endless scores; resulting in an unsurpassed technique (which I've named the Four Lines of Death style). Yet, even with all my bravado, The New Tetris made me do what Bruce Lee did after failing to pummel an opponent in seconds (he took a couple of minutes instead!): I had to rethink my style.

Constructing a solid square out of the familiar Tetris pieces sounds simple enough, but trying to orchestrate the consistent production of them while in the midst of play proved to be a truly challenging objective (especially mono-squares built with identical shapes). Pretty soon, I was adjusting the old tactics I've loyally used for years and scheming up new ones in the vein of Jeet Kune Do mantra: "Absorbing what is useful and discarding what is not." My best technique thus far: L-shapes and blocks to the left side, three-quarters pluses and s-shapes to the right, leaving a sliver of space between the two monoliths for the money-piece, the stick.

Make no mistake that this game has its drawbacks and is far from being the definitive Tetris for years to come. Only the most extreme and diehard fanatics devoted to the art of Tetris (like myself) will appreciate the unique challenge that The New Tetris presents. The multiplayer mode in The New Tetris could be a goldmine for casual players who assemble on a frequent basis. Otherwise, it's going to take a lot of love and blind devotion to ignore all the negatives before getting to the positives. But then again, if compiling an excruciating amount of lines for the sake of building world wonders doesn't sound like slave labor to you, this may be the Tetris you've been waiting for. Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Chi Kong Lui

Chi Kong Lui

In the 1980s, Chi grew up in small town on the outskirts of New York City called Jackson Heights. Latino actor, John Leguizamo referred to the town as the "melting pot of the world," and while living there, Chi was exposed to many diverse cultures, as well as a bevy of arcade classics such as Pac-Man, Space Ace, Space Harrier and Double Dragon. Chi's love of videogames only seemed to grow as his parents finally caved and bought him an 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (after being the only kid in the block without one). In the 1990s, Chi finagled his way into the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts.

Somewhere between all the gaming, Chi some how managed to finish high school and get into the New York Institute of Technology. At the same time, Chi also interned at Virtual Frontiers, an Internet software consultancy where he learned the ways of HTML. Soon after acquiring his BFA, Chi went on to become the lead Web designer of the Anti-Defamation League. During his tenure there, Chi was instrumental in redesigning and relaunching the non-profit organization's Web site.

Today, Chi is the webmaster of the American Red Cross in Greater New York and somehow managed to work through the tragic events of September 11th without losing his sanity. Chi considers his life's work and continues to be amazed that the web site is still standing after the recent dotcom fallout. It is his dream that will accomplish two things: 1) Redefine the grammar of videogames much the same way French film critic Andre Bazin did for the art of cinema and 2) bring game criticism to the forefront of mainstream culture much the same way Siskel & Ebert did for film criticism.
Chi Kong Lui
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