Thomas Pierce ‘24, Staff Writer

Before any assignment, study session, or programming block, I always like to pull up and get a full game of Tetris in before I start. You should too. While this game might seem simple, slow, and even boring at first, it can quickly evolve into a challenging rapid-fire brain exercise meant to challenge your critical-thinking strategies and long-term thought processes. These unexpected benefits make Tetris the perfect “warm-up” before doing any brain-intensive activity. You wouldn’t go out and play a serious basketball match without stretching or warming-up your muscles first. Why not apply that principle to your brain, too?

 In case you haven’t heard of Tetris, it’s that really old video game where you drop weirdly-shaped pieces into a 10×20 block board. After you’ve made a complete line across a single row, you “clear” that line, and it disappears. This leaves all of your pieces on top of that row to fall down by one line. You earn points for how fast you place your pieces, for how many lines you clear, and for how many lines you can clear in one move. Whether you’re hitting any buttons or not, your pieces are constantly falling downwards, so it’s up to you to find a perfect spot for each individual piece before they hit the bottom. The speed at which these pieces fall increases as you rack up more points, with the maximum speed basically being an instantaneous drop to the bottom. The game ends whenever your stacked pieces hit row 21 or higher, and there’s no real “ending” to the game. Instead, you just shoot for as high of a score as possible each playthrough. (My personal best on is right around 700,000, but I’ve hit over a million on the DS version).

Now that you’ve got the basics down, what exactly can this simple game do for your brain? Believe it or not, regularly playing Tetris carries some major cognitive, emotional, and spiritual benefits. First off, as explored by ScienceDaily, brain imaging scans from published research articles have shown that playing Tetris leads to a thicker brain cortex, may help with improving overall brain efficiency, and increases your memory capabilities. Next, sinking some time into Tetris has been shown to do wonders for your emotional health. Tetris fosters better problem-solving skills within players, can help reduce stress, instills a stronger sense of patience, and can even help reduce the effects of experienced trauma. Tetris is a visually intensive game with a pretty decent dexterity learning curve. This keeps players “in the zone” and gets them into the “Tetris flow,” which means that they’re far less likely to focus on negatives in their lives. This also helps players stay quick on their feet, which is something that can really be applied to any part of life.

Picture retrieved from (

Surprisingly, Tetris can also have a profound effect on willpower and the spirit. Aside from teaching some patience, Tetris can seriously reduce symptoms of addiction and feelings of withdrawal. Even by playing for just three minutes at a time, Tetris has been shown to keep people distracted from the mental and physical fog that comes with addiction, and has shown to demand enough focus that players keep their minds off of harmful substances. There’s some links to further reading on these scientific benefits at the end of this article. 

Finally, the number one reason that you should be playing Tetris is because it’s just plain fun. One of my favorite pastimes is putting on some headphones, cranking some music, and getting a really intense Tetris game going. This is when I really get to zone out and clear my head. With how crazy life here at Immaculata can be, it’s nice to enjoy the simpler things now and again. With all of these advantages to playing Tetris, it’s no wonder that it’s the #1 highest-selling game in the world (though, when they take this statistic, they are counting all versions of Tetris, from arcade cabinets to PlayStation 5 copies of “Tetris Effect,” as one entity – a bit shady in my opinion). I hope that you’re willing to “take the plunge” and embrace these perks; after all, what do you have to lose? Tetris is available to play for free on your PC at, there are free versions available on both the iOS app store and Google Play, and basically every video game console ever made has at least one version of Tetris available on it. Games can last anywhere from two minutes to two hours, so the investment here is really up to you!

Further reading: Is Tetris Good for the Brain?,Brain%20imaging%20shows%20playing%20Tetris%20leads%20to%20a%20thicker%20cortex,access%20journal%20BMC%20Research%20Notes.