Latest added game: Colorix

Columns was the first Tetris spin-off, and by far the most successful. It combines falling blocks with tile-matching. All the blocks consist of three tiles with different colors or symbols, traditionally, six. Blocks cannot be rotated, but you can change the order of the tiles. As soon as three matching tiles are in a row, column, or diagonal, they vanish. Otherwise, gameplay is exactly the same as Tetris.

Columns was first created by Jay Geertsen (not Geertson, as he is erroneously credited in the Windows port) of HP on the X Windows system. This original seems to have vanished completely, mention of it is found only in the docs of the subsequent versions. It may never have been widely distributed. Nathan Meyers, another HP employee, ported it to DOS with some unspecified enhancements, Chris Christensen to Macintosh. John Rotenstein created an early Windows version based on Christensen's Macintosh port. P. C. M. van der Arend ported it to, or recreated it on, the Atari ST, using the hi-res monochrome monitor.

Columns for Atari ST         Atari ST     89 Nl P. C. M. van der Arend
Columns for DOS           DOS   US Nathan Meyers
Columns for Mac             Mac US Chris Christensen
Beyond Columns           DOS   US Brad P. Taylor
Colors 1.1           DOS   90 US Jim Bonczyk
Fusion           DOS   US William Chin
Columns for Windows             W16 Au John Rotenstein
Coloris       Amiga       Fi  
Columns (Sega) Coin-Op, Sega Genesis Jp  
Bubble Bath Babes NES 91 Jp  
Tile             W16 Jp V.J.Catkick
Stack 'Em     C64         Ca Brian Boese
Su Sweet     C64         De  
Stack Up Atari 800 ZX C64 Amiga Atari ST DOS   UK  
Chain Reaction (ST)         Atari ST     UK Paul Margetson
Phoenix PD Columns         Atari ST     UK David Tierney
Klatrix         Atari ST     Se Mats Högberg
Fallout           DOS   US Brad P. Taylor
X Rock           DOS   Tw  
Colors           DOS   92 US Bill Kratzer
Jewel Master             W16 Ca  
1993tris           DOS   93 US Young K. Chung
Jelly Bean Factory           DOS   Ca Mark Batchelor
Puzzle Beauty           DOS   Tw  
Chetris           DOS   94 Tw  
Columns           DOS   Ca Brian Boese
Torus           DOS   US Geoff Poole
NumLis             W16 Jp Kaoru Kusunoki
Xtris             W16 De Steffen Buhr
Fructus             W16 95 Fr Philippe Basciano
Xixit           DOS   US John Hood and Thomas Pytel
Chain Reaction (DOS)           DOS   96 US Thomas Pytel
Collidascope             W16 97 US Sergei Savchenko
Three           DOS   It  
Coltris           DOS   98 Nl Mike Wiering
Columns             W32 00 UK Richard Davey
Colorix       Amiga       02 Bg Ventzislav Tzvetkov
Flowers Mania Atari 800             06 Pl  

This table includes all the games that combine color matching with falling blocks (or rising bubbles) and do not fall into the very distinct Dr. Mario category. Two out of three of them are more or less faithful clones of the original Columns, the rest are variants.

Amusingly, while Tetris started out as a commercial game and Columns as freeware, later on the former would become more popular with freeware authors, and the latter with commercial projects. Right in 1990 it was released by Sega for Game Gear, Genesis, MSX and Sega Master System.

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Last modified 2013-08-08