Ultimate Pop Culture Wiki
Tetris: The Grand Master
Tetris The Grand Master 3 flyer.jpg
Arcade flyer for Tetris: The Grand Master 3 - Terror‑Instinct
Publisher(s)Capcom (TGM1)
Psikyo (TGM2)
Taito Corporation (TGM3)
AQ Interactive (Ace)
Composer(s)Shinji Hosoe
Ayako Saso
Platform(s)Arcade[lower-alpha 1], Xbox 360[lower-alpha 2]
Release1998 (TGM1)
2000 (TGM2)
2005 (TGM3, Ace)
Mode(s)Up to 2 players simultaneously
Arcade systemSony ZN-2 (TGM1)
Psikyo SH2 (TGM2)
Taito Type X (TGM3)

Tetris: The Grand Master (テトリス ザ・グランドマスター, Tetorisu: Za Gurando Masutā) is a series of puzzle arcade games created by Arika.

Released in Japan in August 1998 Tetris: The Grand Master was followed by two sequels, Tetris: The Absolute - The Grand Master 2 in October 2000 (with a Plus version released December 2000) and Tetris: The Grand Master 3 - Terror‑Instinct in March 2005.

A spinoff console game, Tetris: The Grand Master Ace was published by AQ Interactive on December 10, 2005 and was a launch title for the Xbox 360's Japan release.


The basic gameplay of Tetris: The Grand Master (TGM) is similar to that of other Tetris games. The player must move and rotate Tetromino-shaped pieces falling into a well to form horizontal lines, which will then be cleared. During gameplay, the game automatically gives ranks to the player according to his/her score, starting from 9 all the way up to GM (Grand Master), roughly following the dan ranking system. The game speeds up rapidly, reaching instant gravity and upwards of three tetrominoes per seconds.

TGM's gameplay is heavily inspired by its arcade predecessor, Sega Tetris released 10 years earlier. It uses a modified rotation system, color scheme, and relies heavily on mechanics such as lock delay. Another game which inspired TGM is Shimizu Tetris, a fan game which was the first to introduce 20G gravity.

The main goal in TGM1 is to score points, awarding the player a higher grade. The game ends when a player reaches level 999. If the player scored enough points, they will be awarded with the grade S9. To achieve the grade GM, the player must also meet some time requirements during play. If the player tops out before reaching level 999, the game ends, awarding the player the current grade and its "mastering time", the time at which the grade was awarded during gameplay.


Level has a unique implementation in TGM. The level counter will increase by 1 for every piece that enters the playfield. It will also increase by 1 for each line cleared.

When the player is about to increment the hundreds digit (e.g., level 399), only line clears will increase the level. Level 998 is treated similarly, with a final line clear required to reach 999 and finish.


Abbreviation for Initial Rotation System.

Normally a piece will appear in the rotation showed in the piece preview. With IRS, holding either the left or right rotation button will cause the piece to appear rotated 90 degrees. This allows the player a higher degree of freedom when placing pieces at higher game speeds.


Abbreviation for Temporary Landing System.

This system is a semi-transparent representation of where the piece will land if allowed to drop into the playfield. It is displayed up to level 100.


Tetris: The Grand Master[]

The original game was released in Japanese arcades in August 1998. When the region is changed to "USA", a "Winners Don't Use Drugs" screen can be seen, suggesting that the game was planned to be released in the United States. US, Asia, Europe, Hispanic, and Brazil warning texts were found in the game, suggesting that the game was planned to be released in these countries.[1]

Tetris: The Absolute - The Grand Master 2[]

This entry was released in 2000, and added additional modes of play. One of these new modes is the Master mode, which extends the classic TGM gameplay with larger speed increases, more requirements to achieve the M or GM grades, and an additional challenge when the M rank is achieved where the player must survive the credits roll with the additional handicap of the Tetrominoes turning invisible upon locking. Additional modes include a more casual Normal mode, a Versus mode enhanced with item battles, and a two-player co-op mode.

Tetris: The Absolute - The Grand Master 2 Plus[]

The entry added additional modes such as TGM+, which adds rising garbage blocks to the gameplay, and T.A. Death where the game begins at 20G (instant gravity) and every other aspect of the game also speeds up steadily.

Tetris: The Grand Master 3 - Terror‑Instinct[]

This game was released in 2005. The game now runs on PC-based hardware, specifically the Taito Type X. The level system has been expanded in many forms with increasingly stricter requirements to reach the Grand Master rank. Modes include Easy, Sakura (a puzzle mode also seen in Tetris With Cardcaptor Sakura: Eternal Heart), the traditional Master mode, and Shirase (an extension of T.A. Death with even harsher speed, garbage, and levels beyond 999). It also features World and Classic Rules, the former added by Arika due to The Tetris Company's recent policy changes.

Tetris: The Grand Master Ace[]

Released in 2005 as a Japan-only launch title for the Xbox 360, this was the only game in the series to be released outside of arcades.

Unreleased Games[]

Tetris: The Grand Master (PS1)[]

Tetris: The Grand Master was to be ported to the PS1 in 1999, but because of a licensing restriction the port was canceled. [2]

TGM-K (tentative name)[]

In July 2004 Arika announced TGM-K for release on the PSP [3] Oddly, in 2011, Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu reported its release again for spring of 2012.[4]

Tetris: The Grand Master 4 - The Masters of Round[]

In September 2009, Tetris: The Grand Master 4 - The Masters of Round was unveiled at the Amusement Machine Show.[5][6] Three modes of TGM4 have been shown so far: Master, Konoha (pieces are double size, simulating a 5x10 field and the object is to completely clear the playing field of blocks as many times as possible), and Rounds (similar to T.A. Death and Shirase modes, but with more levels and a fog mechanic that prevents line clears below a particular height until certain conditions are met). Additionally, it featured World and Classic types just like Tetris: The Grand Master 3. TGM4 was supposed to run on the Sega RingWide hardware.

On September 18, 2010, Arika Vice President Ichiro Mihara announced the cancellation of TGM4 on his blog.[7]

In July 2015, Arika began location testing TGM4 in both Japan[8] and the United States[9]. The titled was changed to The Grand Master 2015 reflecting the lack of a Tetris license or planned release.


  1. (Tetris: The Grand Master 1-3)
  2. (Tetris: The Grand Master Ace)


External links[]