The Arcade Video Game by SEGA Enterprises, Ltd.

Columns screenshot


Emulated in MAME ! Coin-Operated Arcade Video Game

Columns © 1990 Sega Enterprises, Limited.

Sega's answer to the legendary "Tetris", the rules of Columns are simple : a column of 3 square pieces - stacked one on top of the other - drops from the top of the screen into the play area. As with Tetris, the column puzzle pieces can be moved left and right as they fall, but unlike Tetris, they cannot be rotated. Instead, pressing a button will cause the order of the colored blocks in a column to shift by one position.

The object of the game is to place columns at the bottom of the pit in such a way that lines of 3 or more like-colored blocks are created (either horizontally, vertically or diagonally). When this happens, these blocks disappear, and any blocks resting upon them immediately fall onto the recently vacated space. This will often cause additional lines to be arranged, producing a 'cascade' effect. The key to a long game (and, ultimately, a high score) is to set up these cascades wherever possible.

While not achieving the same legendary status as the mighty "Tetris" (something that no puzzle game can realistically hope to achieve), the 'Columns' series has managed to garner a dedicated following of its own and is a respected example of the genre.


Columns the  Arcade Video Game
Click to enlarge
(members only)
Runs Sega "System C-2" hardware.

Players: 2
Control: 4-Way Joystick
Buttons: 1 (Rotate)


Columns was released in March 1990.

April Simmonds of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada holds the official record for this game with 267,360 points on November 13, 2006.


The US version is slightly different :
• 'Winners Don't Use Drugs' screen added.
• Sega logo screen during the attract mode added.
• Cocktail mode dip-switch.
• Different music.


1. Columns (1990, Arcade)
2. Columns II - The Voyage Through Time (1990, Arcade)
3. Columns III - Revenge of Columns (1993, Arcade)
4. Stack Columns (1994, Arcade)
5. Super Columns [Model G-3226] (1995, Game Gear)
6. Columns '97 [Model 610-0373-20] (1997, Arcade)
7. Hanagumi Taisen Columns - Sakura Wars (1998, Arcade)
8. Hanagumi Taisen Columns 2 (2000, Dreamcast)
9. Columns Crown (2002, GBA)




Sega Mega Drive europe (1990) "Columns [Model 1701-50]"
Sega Mega Drive australia (1990)
Sega Genesis usa (june.29, 1990) "Columns [Model 1701]"
Sega Mega Drive japan (june.30, 1990) "Columns [Model G-4035]"
Sega Master System usa europe (1990) "Columns [Model 5120]"
NEC PC-Engine japan (mar.29, 1991) "Columns [Model TJ03002]"
Sega Mega Drive brazil (1994) "Shapes and Columns" by Tec Toy
Sega Saturn japan (oct.30, 1997) "Columns Arcade Collection [Model GS-9161]"
Nintendo Super Famicom japan (aug.1, 1999) "Columns [Model SHVC-BCLJ]"
Sony PlayStation 2 japan (dec.18, 2003) "Columns [Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol.7] [Model SLPM-62425]"


Sega Game Gear europe (1990) "Columns [Model 2201]"
Sega Game Gear usa (1991)
Sega Game Gear japan (oct.6, 1990) "Columns [Model G-3101]"


Apple Macintosh usa (1989)
FM Towns PC japan (1990)
MSX2 japan (dec.1990) "Columns"
Sharp X68000 japan (oct.16, 1991) "Columns"
FM-7 japan (june.1991)


Apple iPhone/iPod usa (feb.24, 2010) [Model 332507687]

Game's picture.
Game's ROM.
Game's screenshots.
See goodies section.

Page last modified on November 05, 2015