Arcade Video game published 33 years ago by SEGA Enterprises, Ltd.

Listed in MAME

Columns screenshot

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.

Goodies for Columns
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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 Taisen (1998, Arcade)
8. Hanagumi Taisen Columns 2 (2000, Dreamcast)
9. Columns Crown (2002, GBA)


europe Sega Mega Drive (1990) "Columns [Model 1701-50]"
Sega Mega Drive australia (1990)
usa Sega Genesis (june.29, 1990) "Columns [Model 1701]"
japan Sega Mega Drive (june.30, 1990) "Columns [Model G-4035]"
Sega Master System usa europe (1990) "Columns [Model 5120]"
japan NEC PC-Engine (mar.29, 1991) "Columns [Model TJ03002]"
Sega Mega Drive brazil (1994) "Shapes and Columns" by Tec Toy
japan Sega Saturn (oct.30, 1997) "Columns Arcade Collection [Model GS-9161]"
japan Nintendo Super Famicom (aug.1, 1999) "Columns [Model SHVC-BCLJ]"
japan Sony PS2 (dec.18, 2003) "Columns [Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol.7] [Model SLPM-62425]"

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

Apple Macintosh usa (1989)
FM Towns PC japan (1990)
MSX2 japan (dec.1990) "Columns"
japan Sharp X68000 (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.