aka: Shapes and Columns
Moby ID: 7685
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Conversion (official) Included in See Also

Description official descriptions

Columns is loosely derived from Tetris, as it involves arranging falling blocks in such a way as to clear them. However, in columns they are groups of 3 same-size but varying color blocks, which must be arranged into sequences of 3 or more, either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Sequences of 4 or 5 count for double or triple points, and diagonal sequences score the most. The real trick is to set up 'combos' - where one line causes other blocks to drop so as to create other lines.

As well as the normal game mode, there is also a 'flash' mode, in which the aim is simply to remove a particular block from the base of the pre-formed pile of bricks. The difficulty of this can be determined by increasing the number of complete rows which are already in place.


  • コラムス - Game Gear / Genesis / MSX / (TurboGrafx-16 back cover / media) Japanese spelling
  • コラムス 対戦モード付き - PC-88 / PC-98 / X68000 Japanese spelling

Groups +



Credits (Arcade version)

  • SEGA 1990.JAN



Average score: 74% (based on 31 ratings)


Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 92 ratings with 2 reviews)

Columns--a so-so kind of game

The Good
It gets your mind to think very fast, as you have only a couple of seconds to decide where to put your gems. Also it kind of develops your reflexes, you have to put the metal to the pedal very fast on the higher levels.

The Bad
The music SUCKS. Its kind of old fashioned, some thing you'll find in an old folks home, sure its relaxing but it does get boring after a bit.

The Bottom Line
Its OK if you like the playing arcade games for free, have good reflexes and a fast thinker. If your not, why not give it a try and get better.

Genesis · by paul cairey (319) · 2002

More colourful than tetris

The Good
Basically, columns is just my kinda game. The classical references (however tenuous); the calming music; the gradually increasing complexity and best of all the multiplayer mode.

The Bad
The numb feeling of disbelief which accompanied my completion of it, it's not exactly a trophy and fireworks. Plus, it sort of melts your eyes after a few hours.

The Bottom Line
Hmm... it's like tetris. The object of the game is to rotate groups of falling gems as they fall into the game screen, then create chains of 3 or more of the same colour. Obviously, as you progress through levels the difficulty increases.

Genesis · by emmamomocat (29) · 2003


Subject By Date
distinctive music Pseudo_Intellectual (66584) Aug 20, 2013
AI rating Starbuck the Third (22601) Dec 26, 2010


1001 Video Games

Columns appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


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Related Games

Columns III: Revenge of Columns
Released 1993 on Genesis, 2010 on Windows, 2018 on Linux...
Hanagumi Taisen Columns
Released 1997 on SEGA Saturn, Arcade
Hanagumi Taisen Columns 2
Released 2000 on Dreamcast
Columns 97
Released 1997 on Arcade
Columns Crown
Released 2001 on Game Boy Advance
SEGA AGES: Columns Arcade Collection
Released 1997 on SEGA Saturn
Columns II: The Voyage Through Time
Released 1990 on Arcade, 2019 on Nintendo Switch
Columns GB: Tezuka Osamu Characters
Released 1999 on Game Boy Color
Shapes: Match & Catch
Released 2015 on iPhone, iPad, Android

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 7685
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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by paul cairey.

FM Towns added by Trypticon. Wii added by Corn Popper. Game Gear added by PCGamer77. Arcade added by f1reball. Nintendo 3DS added by CrankyStorming. Sharp X68000 added by Infernos. SEGA Master System added by Sciere. Windows, Macintosh, Linux added by Foxhack. Sharp Zaurus added by Kabushi. TurboGrafx-16 added by Игги Друге. MSX added by koffiepad. PC-98 added by Unicorn Lynx. PC-88, SNES added by j.raido 【雷堂嬢太朗】.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, chirinea, Martin Smith, FatherJack.

Game added November 5, 2002. Last modified June 26, 2024.