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This is a question I've had since I first played this game, maybe twenty years ago. I would say that it is random, given the nature of the game. However in my experience; the O-blocks never come alone (after you get one, the chance of getting another seems more likely). I also feel that you get the I tetromino just after you made a mistake.

I've been googling this for quite some time and haven't found a conclusive answer. Can somebody please help me? I've only played the game on the original Gameboy.

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The perception of getting multiple O blocks in a row or getting I after making a mistake is probably confirmation bias - these situations are annoying, so you notice when they happen. (Unless you're playing Bastet) –  Random832 Apr 9 '12 at 12:40
    
In the version I've played most the ---- block is much less frequent than the others, which makes it impossible to play perfectly. Very annoying. –  Matthew Read Apr 9 '12 at 20:06
    
For what it's worth, once when playing on a PC back in the day, I got a run where it gave me two ---- blocks, followed by another piece, then two more ---- blocks... It was at the highest speed setting. I think I eventually got bored and quit. Must've been a weird fluke in the programming. –  Kyralessa Apr 9 '12 at 23:47
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As a species, we are notorious for spotting patterns where none exist. If you do some googling, you can find plenty of examples of people convinced that random events in games (especially online poker) are biased against them, or that popular and well-studied random number generators do not work correctly. There is a long SO thread, Need for predictable random generator, that discusses this issue, with examples of not-quite-random generators used in games, that seem 'fairer' than the real thing. –  James Apr 10 '12 at 12:37
    
I'm aware of the human nature in this context. I was just wondering about maybe in this case I was right or not. –  Lex Apr 10 '12 at 13:34

2 Answers 2

up vote 61 down vote accepted

This is kind of a vague question and the primary answer is going to be equally vague: it depends on which Tetris you are playing.

More elaborately, every different version of Tetris will have its own block choice algorithm. The ones I've most commonly heard about are a "true" random generator that doesn't make any kind of judgement, a "fair" generator that generates random sequences of all seven blocks (so you /will/ get every type of block equally often, but the order in which you get the blocks within a 'batch' of six will vary)...

... And then there is Bastet, or "Bastard Tetris", which distinguishes itself by having an algorithm that chooses the worst possible block with malice aforethought.

For further reading I recommend the wiki pages here (different tetris random generators) and here (the 'official' guideline to what makes a Tetris game).

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See also: hatetris. AFAIK no-one has ever cleared more than 30 lines. –  user3490 Apr 27 '12 at 18:03

As I recall, the original version of Tetris randomly generated a permutation of the 7 blocks, and then sent those.

So, the first set of 7 blocks forms a full set... and the second set of 7 blocks forms a full set.

Meaning, for example, you only rarely had an opportunity to get a double.

I'd be curious to know what random generator was used. Given the time that Tetris was first released, it's likely that the randomness was quite deterministic.

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This is certainly not the case in the version on the Gameboy. –  Lex Apr 9 '12 at 13:20
    
really? hm! I obviously recall incorrectly, with thanks and apologies. Nonetheless, the Gameboy version is not the original version ;) –  Ronald Apr 9 '12 at 13:26
    
discussion-here: the suggestion is that older versions actually used a larger bag (perhaps of 28 blocks?) –  Ronald Apr 9 '12 at 13:34
    
If this were true, you could never have 3 of the same block in a row. I am fairly certain I have, though. –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Apr 9 '12 at 20:56

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