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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.


Columns Game Gear Suits
Columns MSX Level difficulty
Columns TurboGrafx-16 Title screen
Columns FM Towns Doubles mode allows two players to work together as Player 1 and Player 2 take turns placing blocks

Promo Images

Columns Screenshot
Columns Screenshot
Columns Screenshot
Columns Screenshot

Alternate Titles

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

Part of the Following Group

User Reviews

More colourful than tetris Genesis emmamomocat (33)
Columns--a so-so kind of game Genesis paul cairey (359)

Critic Reviews SEGA Master System Nov 06, 2004 10 out of 10 100
Retro Archives SEGA Master System Aug 23, 2018 17.5 out of 20 88
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Arcade Oct, 1990 87 out of 100 87
The Video Game Critic Genesis Jan 31, 2001 B+ 83
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) TurboGrafx-16 Jul, 1991 8.5 out of 12 71 TurboGrafx-16 Nov, 2003 7 out of 10 70 Genesis Nov, 2003 7 out of 10 70
GameSpot Wii Dec 18, 2006 5.9 out of 10 59
Sega Does SEGA Master System Oct 31, 2016 C+ 58
Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) SEGA Master System Sep, 1990 22 out of 40 55


Topic # Posts Last Post
distinctive music 2 雷堂嬢太朗 -raido.jotaro- (60760)
Aug 20, 2013
AI rating 2 formercontrib (159409)
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.
Contributed to by Trypticon (11031), Corn Popper (69367), PCGamer77 (3233), f1reball (284), CrankyStorming (3010), paul cairey (359), Infernos (18799), Sciere (515106), Foxhack (24600), Kabushi (210243), Игги Друге (46426), koffiepad (10531), Oleg Roschin (181727) and 雷堂嬢太朗 -raido.jotaro- (60760)