Tetris The Grand Master

The Arcade Video Game by Arika

Tetris The Grand Master screenshot


Emulated in MAME ! Coin-Operated Arcade Video Game

Tetris - The Grand Master © 1998 Arika.


Sony ZN-1 hardware

Main CPU : PSX (@ 16.9344 Mhz)
Sound CPU : Zilog Z80 (@ 8 Mhz)
Sound Chips : SPU (@ 8 Mhz), Q-Sound (@ 4 Mhz)

Screen orientation : Horizontal
Video resolution : 640 x 480 pixels
Screen refresh : 60.00 Hz
Palette colors : 65536

Players : 2
Control : 8-way joystick
Buttons : 6


This game was released in Japan only (July 1998).

If you enter the initials '666', 'A ', 'AA ', 'AAA', 'AHO', 'ASS', 'AUM', 'DIE', 'ETA', 'FUC', 'FUK', 'HIV', 'IRA', 'KKK', 'OSI', 'PEE', 'PIS', 'PLO', or 'SEX', they will be changed to 'ARK', which stands for Arika, the company that made the game.

Pony Canyon / Scitron released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (TGM The Grand Master - PCCB-00372) on 19/05/1999.

Music from this game was remixed and included in Arika's music game 'Technic Beat' which saw a release in both arcades and on PS2.


The higher your level, the more points you earn for clearing lines.
You also get more points if you press down to drop or lock a piece.
This game gives you a bonus for clearing lines in a 'Combo' with consecutive pieces.
If you manage to clear the screen entirely, 'BRAVOx4' will appear on the screen and you will get quadruple the points for those lines.

Here is a more technical description of the scoring formula :
Score = ((Level + Lines)/4 + Drop) x Lines x Combo x Bravo

Where (Level + Lines)/4 is rounded up and :
Level is the current level you are on.
Lines is the number of lines you just cleared.
Drop is the number of spaces you dropped the piece. The last space your piece falls does not contribute to this, however locking the piece once it has landed will add 1 to the Drop.
Bravo is equal to 4 if this piece has cleared the screen, and otherwise is 1.
Combo returns to 1 by default every time a piece does not clear lines. Otherwise, it is :
Combo = Combo - 1 + (2 x Lines - 1)


• Conditions for Achieving the Grandmaster Grade : The higher you score, the better your grade will be. However, you need more than a high score to be graded a Grandmaster. You must be at least grade 1 when you reach level 300 and grade S4 when you reach level 500. Finally, you must be grade S9 and reach level 999 in under 13 minutes and 30 seconds (the tricky bit). Good luck!

• Basic Tips for Improving Speed :
1) When a piece is touching your stack, tapping 'down', will lock it in place instantly, saving you a fraction of a second. These really add up, so keep pushing the game forward as fast as you can handle!
2) It takes the same amount of time to clear a single line as it does to clear a double, triple, or Tetris, so try to be efficient and avoid clearing too many singles.
3) Your level increases by 1 for every line you clear. It also increases by 1 for every piece that appears. However, when you are at levels 99, 199, 299, etc. your level will not increase from falling pieces. You MUST clear a line to proceed (and change the background). Every second you spend without clearing a line is wasted time, so keep an eye on your level and try to have a line ready for the right moment.
4) If you intentionally keep your stack near the top of the screen it will take less time for pieces to fall and you will save time. This is most important at the beginning when pieces fall slowly, and again at level 200 when they slow to a crawl once more. By level 500, pieces will literally fall instantly and it will no longer make a difference how high your stack is.

• Advanced Rotation Techniques :
1) If you press and hold a rotate button before a piece appears, that piece will be rotated instantly as it appears in the field. The attract mode can give you a visual demonstration.
2) When you are rotating a piece, if there are any blocks preventing a rotation then the game will then try to see if there is room for a rotated piece 1 square to the right, and failing that, 1 square to the left. It sounds subtle, but you can use this to get pieces into seemingly impossible locations. Study the visual demonstrations of this in the attract mode.

• Predicting Upcoming Pieces :
1) At the top of the screen, the next piece is displayed.
2) Every piece has its own sound effect. Whenever a piece enters the screen, the sound of the upcoming piece is played. With practice, this knowledge can save you the effort of looking up to find out the next piece.
3) The pieces you get are not purely random. The game keeps a history of the 4 most recent pieces, and every time the game "rolls" a new piece, it will reroll if this piece is found in the history. The game will keep trying to give you a piece not contained in your history, re-rolling as many as 4 times, before finally giving you whatever the last of these rolls happened to be. The implications of this are subtle: You are both unlikely to get flooded with many of the same piece, and unlikely to get starved of any particular piece. Overall the pieces come more regularly than other versions of Tetris, allowing the player to build bold structures (in expectation of upcoming pieces) that would be far too risky with purer randomization. It is also interesting to note that this version of Tetris, a game named after the Greek word for 'four' and using pieces constructed with 4 squares, also keeps a history of 4 pieces and will re-roll up to 4 times.
4) The game will never give you an 'S', 'Z', or 'O' shape as your first piece. Also, every game begins with its history filled with 4 green 'Z' pieces, making these pieces initially unlikely. The odds of getting a Z shape as your second piece, for example, are fewer than 1/1000. Plan your opening moves accordingly.

• Title Screen Codes : Enter these codes at the title screen for the desired effect...
Big Mode (Pieces are much larger in size.) : Left(x4), Down, C, B, A.
Mono Mode (Play the game in black and white.) : Right(x3), Up, C, B, A.
TLS Mode (Pieces will still have shadows beyond lvl100) : A, B, C(x2), B, A(x2), C, B.
Uki Mode (A Japanese child will laugh when you clear lines.) : A, B, A, B, A, B, A, B, A, B, A, B, A, B, A, B(x2).
20G Mode (Starts the game with the highest gravity of 20 spaces per frame.) : Down(x8), C, B, A.
Rev Mode (Pieces rise instead of falling as you play Tetris in reverse.) : Down, Up(x2), Down, C, B, A.

• No Item Mode : To play a classic versus game without any items, hold down both player Start buttons when it says 'Here Comes a New Challenger'.

• Another Hidden Game Mode : As you play, leave the bottom left square unfilled so that that line doesn't clear. Also, leave the square up one and right one unfilled so that the second line won't clear. Continue like this, leaving holes diagonally, until you reach the right wall. Then continue diagonally to the left wall. You should be making a pattern that looks like '>'. It's actually rather hard to make the pattern entirely, but try to make as much as you can. After you die the game will recognize this pattern and give you an additional "Secret Grade", according to how much of the pattern you were able to make. Can you achieve Grandmaster in this challenging exercise ?


Visual Design : Motokazu Sakai, Miroshi Chiba, Younosuke Naitou
Programmer : Gara, Nagatani
Programmer of the prototype : Akira K.
Music composed by : Shinji Hosoe (Megaten), Ayako Saso (AYA), Takayuki Aihara (J99)
Planner & Producer : Mihara

Game's ROM.
This game's program ROMs have been examined to provide some of the more detailed information above.

Page last modified on February 11, 2013