My name is Jim — hi Jim! — and I am addicted to 1010. I can confess, it is weirdly difficult to go to sleep at night when your phone is right there, and you can fit just one more game of 1010 in. OK, just one more after that. Maybe one more ...
1010 was created in 2014 by a tiny Turkish game developer, Gram Games, that was running out of money. The game was coded and launched in a single month, at a time when Gram Games had only $25,000 left in the bank. It saved the company by becoming a viral hit in Asia.
Now the game appears to be working its way around the globe. I first noticed people playing it on the London Underground and was actually introduced to it by a friend in Ireland. But none of my colleagues in the US seem to have encountered it yet.
1010 is basically a souped-up version of Tetris. But that doesn't do the game justice. If Tetris sounds dull, remember that Candy Crush was a souped-up version of Bejeweled, and 2048 was a souped-up version of Threes, and crack is a souped-up version of powdered cocaine. The former is no guide to the addictive power of the latter, in other words.
In 1010, you must fill a blank grid with different-shaped blocks, presented three at a time. The colors are irrelevant, but blocks must fit together so you complete a row or a column. Every time you complete a line, the line disappears and you get more space to work in. The more space you create, the more points you get.
It feels even easier than Tetris because you go at your own pace — the blocks aren't falling from the sky at their own frequency. But the toned-down pace is part of the addictive twist of 1010, because if you make a mistake, you cannot blame the game. Only yourself.
So as a matter of public service, I spent the past weekend researching 1010.
Here are my tips and tricks for getting a high score. I put this together from my own experience, from advice from friends, and from websites like these that offer a variety of success strategies.
Starting with the most obvious strategies first, and working toward the more difficult procedures ...
1. Focus on creating lines, not blocks.
You'll be tempted to just fill space with blocks, but mere blocks will hurt you — you need to clear lines, not blocks of space.
2. You're trying to clear rows AND columns.
Another "Duh!" moment for new players: This isn't Tetris — you can go up and down as well as side-to-side to clear lines.
3. Do rows and columns at the same time.
Think both ways at once, even though it's easier to get into an all-horizontal or all-vertical strategy.
4. Consider all three options before moving.
When you've got lots of space, it's tempting to just dump the pieces into the game to get things moving. Don't do this. Every block counts.
5. Consider the *order* of all three options before moving.
The game won't deliver new blocks until you've used a set of three. And many a promising game has ended by accident because you forgot to use that awkward L-shape first.
6. Always remove a line if you can.
Space is key. Don't leave an unfilled line because you think you can get it later — the game is working against you.
7. Work from the corners.
This will give you both vertical and horizontal options on any given move.
8. The 2x2 square is your best friend.
You can clear a lot of lines by stacking these next to one another.
9. The little L-shapes fit together to form 2x3 rectangles.
So you can add them to columns and bars formed by 2x2 squares.
10. The big L-shape can be awkward.
Consider that piece first before slotting in the straights and squares.
11. Always leave a hole for the big 3x3 squares.
The sudden appearance of a giant 3x3 block is almost always a game-killer. These things are now your most hated nemesis. Remember — you're creating space, not filling space. So always leave a nine-square hole for them.
12. Ones, or single squares, are rare.
Use them to complete "impossible" lines.
13. If you can handle the corners first, do so.
Use the L-shapes for corners whenever you can.
14. Avoid leaving single spaces and single unconnected blocks.
Single blocks are rare, and an unconnected single block will require two more pieces on either side before it can make a line.
15. Good luck!
The game requires skill, but it's also serving you random blocks, so you will need luck to beat your latest score.