Published: 12/03/2013

The popular tile-matching puzzle video game called “Tetris” was originally designed and programmed by Alexey Pajitnov in the Soviet Union for release in 1984. The game’s name is a combination of the Greek numerical prefix “tetra,” because all of the game’s pieces have four segments (units), and “tennis,” which was Pajitnov’s favourite sport.

In Tetris, as the pieces fall one by one into the game grid, the player attempts to rotate and move them to the left or right so that they line up with previously fallen pieces in order to form lines that award points as they explode and disappear. Gaps cause the pieces to pile up. If they fill the matrix to the top of the screen, the game ends.

In the fixed-odds casino arcade game called “Cashblox” developed by WagerWorks, an IGT company, the same principles used in Tetris apply, but with a couple of twists. First and foremost, the game is played for cash, not points. Second, the player does not use a controller to manipulate the falling pieces. Instead, they fall randomly, forming lines or not, until piled to the top of a Game Matrix measuring 10 units across and 15 units high.

The Cashblox display is divided into four sections: the Paytable on the left, the Game Matrix in the middle, the Information Area on the right and the Control Panel running along the bottom of the screen. Prior to betting, the sounds of crowd noise and game machines can be heard in the background, just like in a land-based casino.

To begin a game, the player must first choose the amount to wager by using the “Stake Down” and “Stake Up” buttons that appear below the Game Matrix. Available amounts range from €0.50 to €5.00. The total amount wagered shows in the “Stake” indicator just above the flashing green “Play” button at the lower right corner of the Control Panel. An additional Stake indicator also appears at the top right corner of the screen below the “Balance” indicator.

The game starts when the player clicks on “Play.” The colourful game pieces will start dropping randomly from the top of the Game Matrix, forming lines or piling up until they reach the top of the matrix, 15 units high. For the first “Single” line of 10 units formed, a cash prize of 0.1X is awarded. When the first “Double” line of 20 units occurs and explodes, the payout is 0.2X. The first “Triple” of 30 units is worth even money, while the first “Quadruple” or “Quad” of 40 units pays 4X.

Each time a winning combination occurs, the corresponding payout lights up on the Paytable. For the second occurrence of each Single, Double, Triple or Quad, the payouts are increased to 0.4X, 0.8X, 6X and 40X, respectively. For the third occurrence, the rewards go up to 2X, 4X, 30X or 400X. And on the fourth occurrence, the wins are worth 10X, 20X, 300X and 4000X.

As an added bonus, there are random rainbow-coloured pieces called “Magic Blocks” mixed in among the standard coloured pieces: Red, Light Blue, Dark Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Magenta. If a line is formed using any part of a Rainbow piece, 10 Free Plays are awarded following the current game. During the Free Plays, all prizes are doubled. What’s more, the Free Plays can be re-triggered by Magic Blocks used to form lines.

Several special options exist on Cashblox, such as “Auto Play” and “Slow Mode.” The former can be accessed by using the red button to the left of the Play button. It releases a pop-up menu of Auto Play games, from 5 to 25. Clicking on Slow Mode at the far left of the Control Panel will cause the descent of the game pieces to slow down, making it easier to see the lines as they form. One other feature is a Sound On/Off switch, which can be found on the pull-down “Options” menu at the top of the screen.

Published on: 12/03/2013

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