Midwest Tetris Championship Rules

Note: These rules have been adapted by using portions from past Midwest Tetris Championship Tournaments. There may be further revisions and clarifications made before the 2021 Midwest Tetris Tournament takes place. Please do not consider these rules final until this paragraph has been removed, or until the tournament has begun.

The Midwest Gaming Classic is an all-encompassing gaming event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2021 the Midwest Gaming Classic will hold the 11th annual Midwest Tetris Championships (MTC). Additionally, the Midwest Tetris Championship is now a satellite event for the Classic Tetris World Championship, and the Midwest Tetris Champion shall get certain benefits at the CTWC outlined on the main tournament informational page.

The event coordinator for the Midwest Tetris Championship is Dan Loosen. Event coordinators organize volunteers, designate scorekeepers, handle malfunctions and provide ultimate rulings, delegate responsibilities, and authority, and otherwise work to ensure the smooth operation of the tournament. Because of this role, event coordinators are excluded from tournament play. Designated officials may play, but must follow all rules regarding tournament play and may not officiate themselves.

I. Quick Overview

The Midwest Gaming Classic’s Midwest Tetris Championship rules are quite lengthy and detailed. They reflect the experience of many years of tournament play, under many different systems. The underlying ideas are simple, however.

The majority of the tournament consists of qualifying rounds for players. During these rounds, each player may make as many qualifying attempts as they like. Qualifying attempts are limited only by how many people are in line and are free. All qualifying is done on the NES version of Tetris (Nintendo), using the A style of gameplay.

After qualifying is done, the top 8 people are invited to participate in a head-to-head bracket to determine the Midwest Tetris Champion!

II. MTC: Qualifying Rounds

1. Playing an entry

When a player is ready to play a qualifying entry, he or she approaches the console or consoles designated for the tournament and gives their scorecard to the scorekeeper. At no time may the player begin play on any console without being instructed to do so by the scorekeeper.

There is no practice time. Players are encouraged to practice before the event if they feel that they need to. When the player approaches a console, the player should be ready to play as soon as requested to by the scorekeeper. Failure to start a game when the scorekeeper has asked may void that entry, and the player would need to go to the back of the line before entering again. Multiple offenses may result in the removal of a player from the tournament.

Games end when the criteria are met or when the game ends automatically. The player’s score is the determining factor in rank unless otherwise noted.

At the end of each game, the player will request that the scorekeeper record his or her score before leaving the console. It is the player’s responsibility to ensure that the scorekeeper takes down the score, and to double-check the recorded score for correctness.

At any point during play or immediately after play has been completed, the player may elect to abandon his or her entry by notifying the scorekeeper. Abandoned entries are not recorded. After abandoning an entry, the player must move to the end of the line before they can make another attempt.

Once the player has begun to play their entry, they may not take their scorecard from the scorekeeper, whether it is complete, incomplete, or void.

3. Scoring

All scores posted in the Midwest Tetris Championship are ranked with only the highest score for each player counting. Because the rankings will change as new scores are posted from other players, the ranking of each score may change as the qualifying rounds progress.

In the event of two or more scores on a game being tied, the first player to have scored that amount will be awarded the higher ranking.

There are no scoring normalizers or other adjustments.

Tournament officials will endeavor to provide up-to-date scores and rankings at all times.

4. Game Hardware

Each tournament game will be played on an NES console or consoles which will be provided by the tournament. This console is considered the ‘official’ tournament console and is the only one that shall be used for all games unless a catastrophic malfunction occurs (see below).

Each console will have a controller provided for the players to use. Generally, these controllers will be the original controller which was bundled with the system. Players may provide their own controllers for the contest, so long as they are standard, unmodified* original NES controllers (including “dog bone” controllers) or any standard unmodified “Goofy Foot” style controller. Tournament officials may disqualify any controllers other than those listed above, including 3rd party controllers, controllers with additional features such as turbo, etc) at any time.

* Unmodified controllers refer to controllers which have had any electronics added. Controller maintenance to replace, repair, or clean original components with OEM components is allowed and will not result in disqualification unless it is shown that modification to these items has occurred.

Whichever controller is picked by the player must be used for the entire entry, and may not be switched unless a major malfunction has been proven to occur with the controller. In the case of a major malfunction, the tournament will provide a suitable replacement as decided by tournament officials.

IV. Singles: Final Rounds

1. Advancing to Finals

At the end of all qualifying play, the top eight ranked players will advance to the finals. All qualifying players must report to the Tournament Table at the correct time listed on the main tournament page to receive instructions for the final rounds. In the case a qualifying player is not present, tournament officials will make a specific announcement for that player, allowing five minutes for that player to appear. If a player does not appear, all other players will move up one spot, with the top-ranked player which that player would be playing against receiving a bye. Substitutions or late arrivals are not allowed.

In the event that two or more players have the same score in this ranking, the first person to receive that ranking will be the top person.

2. Final Rounds

The top eight players will be invited back for the final rounds as outlined above. The final rounds will be run in the CTWC format, as outlined below:

  1. Each match consists of up to 3 games (best 2 out of 3). First player to win 2 games wins the match and proceeds to the next round. **The Final Match will be the first to win 3 games (best 3 out of 5).
  2. The higher-seeded player in each match will choose the starting level of 15 or 18 for game 1. The lower seed will choose for game 2, and if necessary, the higher seed will choose for game 3.
  3. Once the starting level is chosen, the ref will make sure both players are ready and then begin the match with a countdown where both players push start simultaneously. Tournament officials will settle any disputes.
  4. The player with the highest score wins. If one player tops-out and the other player already has a higher score, the game is finished. If one player tops-out and the other player has a lower score, that player will continue until they either top-out (having lost) or exceed the other player’s score, winning the game.

All players, winning or not, grant the Midwest Gaming Classic and all other event sponsors and organizers the right to use their names, scores, and likenesses for the purpose of promoting this tournament as well as other event-related activities.

The top winner will receive the title “Midwest Tetris Champion.” This title remains in effect until the next annual Midwest Tetris Championship tournament or will expire after two years if Tetris tournaments are discontinued at the event.

V. Malfunctions and Rulings

The Midwest Gaming Classic will use the CTWC Rules for any and all Malfunctions which occur. Those rules are:

If an NES console or TV freezes, loses power, or otherwise becomes unplayable, both players will be stopped by the judge and the games will be reviewed. Considering the scores, line counts, and piece stacks of each player at the time of the malfunction, along with any other circumstances deemed relevant, tournament officials will decide to either have players replay the game or, in cases where a player is deemed to have an insurmountable lead, award a win to the player who had the higher score at the time the malfunction occurred.

If an NES console or TV experiences a momentary glitch, interference, or visual disruption, the affected player must attempt to make the judge aware of the problem and must keep playing to the best of their ability. After both players have topped out, the affected player may request an official review. This is the only time a review can be requested. If a review is not requested, the results of the game will be accepted and can’t be subsequently changed for any reason. If a review is requested, considering the scores, line counts, and piece stacks of each player at the time of the malfunction, along with any other circumstances deemed relevant, tournament officials will decide to either accept the results of the game or have players replay the game. Under no circumstances will a win be awarded to a player who was trailing at the conclusion of the game.

Please note – If a malfunction occurs on a qualifying game, the player will be granted the chance to play again. Any and all decisions about malfunctions shall be made by the acting Tournament Director.