“ Manufacturer: Sega / Genre: Puzzle / Release Date: 1990 „
For those of a certain age long before playstations and xboxs there was only 2 consoles that would dominate the market. Back in the early 1990s it was the turn of the Sega Mega Drive and the Snes, Sonic v Mario.
For there that can remember them times where school playgrounds were split into the two camps with fans of the plumber trying to explain how a fat italian was better than a blue hedgehog...idiots i tell you, back in the day it was all sonic. On that subject, its only since the n64 that this changed and mario took over as the premiere platform character.
Well it wasnt just the mascots that were fighting for their console but also the puzzle games. Nintendos Gameboy held the proud title of the #1 puzzler with the addictive tetris, but that wasnt going to stop Sega from trying their own version.
They came out with columns in the early 90s to try and replicate the magic of the Gameboy classic. The idea was incredibly similar with you controlling blocks as the fell from the top of the screen trying to prevent the screen from filling up. Though the difference were in the way you stopped it and the blocks coming down. Those who have played tetris will remember the blocks were differing shapes of 4 single blocks, which were to be used to make a straight line from one side to other to gain points and get rid of the blocks and empty the screen im the process. With columns it was colours that were used in a connect three type of game, where a straight of 3 of the same colour caused the blocks to vanish. The lines could be vertical, horizontal and diagonal, with the blocks of 3 bits dropping from the top of the screen being manipulated like the tetris shapes.
Sega also made available a game called dr robotniks mean bean machine to compete with tetris. You may be wondering why this has been mentioned, but thats the simple fact that the two were the major puzzle games for the console. Mbm was a fast paced fun game im which a similar concept was again applied but seeing 2 beans dropped at a time trying to get 4 to stick together.
Whilst mean bean was a fun game and Tetris was addictive, Columns seemed to posses neither quality. Often coming across as overally serious and boring, fans of the genre saw it as a boring attempt to replicate the magic of Tetris, whilst others (such as myself) would rather have played a fun game as a 6 year old rather than a game that gave me headaches.
For those wanting to try it, they should btw the excellent Sega mega drive ultimate collection thats available on xbox 360 and ps3 (i think) which contains a host of superior games.
Please note this has been written on a mobile phone. Spelling errors are likely due to T9 being on.