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Blockout Cover.jpg
Developer(s)California Dreams
Publisher(s)California Dreams (computer versions)
American Technos (arcade version)
Designer(s)Aleksander Ustaszewski, Mirosław Zabłocki
Platform(s)Arcade, Mega Drive/Genesis, Commodore 64, Amiga, PC, Atari Lynx, Atari ST, Apple IIGS, Macintosh, Linux
ReleaseArcade version:
Mega Drive/Genesis
  • JP: November 1, 1991
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Blockout is a puzzle video game, published in 1989 by California Dreams, developed in Poland by Aleksander Ustaszewski[1] and Mirosław Zabłocki.


Block Out (Sega Mega Drive version)

The game is the logical extension of Tetris into the third dimension. In regular Tetris, the player manipulates a set of tetrominoes which fall into a two-dimensional pit (seen from the side). The aim is to solve a real-time packing problem by forming complete rows, which then disappear and score points. Poor play leads to incomplete rows, caused by inefficient arrangements of tiles; these rows do not disappear, giving the player progressively less space and less time to play subsequent pieces. Similarly, in Blockout, the player manipulates a set of polycubes which fall into a three-dimensional pit (seen from above; the pieces appear in the foreground and fall away). The pieces can be rotated around all three axes, and moved horizontally and vertically. The aim is to form complete layers.[citation needed]

Ports and sequel[edit]

Despite the other known console ports of Blockout, there were also two for NES: the first is an official unreleased prototype developed in 1990 by Technos Japan Corp. under the name "Block Out", while the second is an unauthorized clone programmed by Hwang Shinwei and published by both himself and RCM Group in 1989/1990 (titled 3D Block).

Blockout also saw a port on Virtual Boy entitled 3D Tetris (March 22, 1996), though the game suffers greatly from the lack of colors beyond red and black.

Around 2007[2] a modernized, authorized continuation/remake[3] named "Blockout II"[4] was released with a license from Kadon Enterprises, Inc., to use the trademarked "Blockout" name.[5] The game is open source and was ported to many platforms the original wasn't available before, like Windows,[2] Ubuntu,[6] and the OpenPandora handheld.[7]


Review scores
IGN8/10 (Lynx)[8]
PC Leisure4/5 stars[11]
MegaTechHyper Game

The New York Times reviewed the game in an article about educational software for mathematics, writing that Blockout "doesn't pretend to be educational, but the skills required to master it are not unrelated to mathematics, particularly geometry."[1] A 1993 study found evidence that playing Blockout improved the spatial visualization ability of 10- to 14-year-olds.[12] Dragon gave the game's Atari Lynx version a perfect score.[13]

Robert A. Jung reviewed the Atari Lynx version of the game which was published to IGN. In his final verdict he wrote "This is a nice, addictive, no-nonsense strategy game. Without any patterns to memorize and several options to choose from, Blockout will keep its freshness for quite some time. If you thought Tetris was too simple, give this title a try." Scoring the game 8 out of 10.[8]

Entertainment Weekly gave the game am A,[14] picked the game as the #17 greatest game available in 1991.[15]


  1. ^ a b L. R. Shannon: No-Frills Mathematics Instruction The New York Times, 23 January 1990
  2. ^ a b blockout II - Downloads on sourceforge
  3. ^ Blockout II on
  4. ^ blockout2 on
  5. ^ The Blockout story on (Kadon Enterprises) "Jean-Luc Pons, a self-declared addicted Blockout player in France, has created an improved C++ clone of the original Blockout version and offers Blockout II as an open source project for other addicted players. All these versions obtained permission from Kadon to use the Blockout name."
  6. ^ blockout2 on
  7. ^ blockout2 on
  8. ^ a b Robert A. Jung (6 July 1999). "Looking for a solid handheld puzzle game? Atari's got the answer". IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  9. ^ MegaTech rating, EMAP, issue 6, page 76, June 1992
  10. ^ Mega rating, issue 9, page 23, Future Publishing, June 1993
  11. ^ Garth Sumpter (November 1990). "Blockout". PC Leisure (journal). EMAP (3): 62.
  12. ^ NOSS, A. (1994): Förderung der Raumvorstellung bei 10- bis 14-Jährigen durch das Computerspiel BLOCKOUT. Diploma thesis, University of Vienna.
  13. ^ Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia & Lesser, Kirk (May 1992). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (181): 57–62.
  14. ^ "Blockout". Retrieved 2018-11-03.
  15. ^ "Video Games Guide". Retrieved 2018-11-03.