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The Sega Mega Drive Version Of Tetris You Never Got To Play

Tetris might be one of the most iconic games of all time. The popular puzzler's premise is simple. Brightly colored, oddly shaped blocks called Tetriminos fall from the top of the screen, leaving players to stack them neatly, making complete lines disappear. Though the game seems simple, it's oddly soothing, and many fans have reported the game having a trippy, wiggly effect on their eyesight for moments after putting down the game. 

Despite, or perhaps because of, its weird beginnings, Tetris has remained popular throughout the decades, enjoying rereleases, rebrandings, and even a brief popularity on Twitch. Tetris 99 even received praise from one of the franchise's creators himself. Even though Tetris has enjoyed a long life as a franchise with continuous releases, every version of the game didn't make it to publication, which makes it nearly impossible to be a Tetris completionist. 

While fans might enjoy collecting every installment of their favorite puzzle game, there's one version of the famous block builder that never actually existed — a version for the Sega Mega Drive — making it one of the rarest games in the world. 

Fighting with giants ... and losing

The legal reasons behind Sega's cancellation of Tetris are complicated. Sega had bought rights to Tetris from a company that did not technically own them. Because Tetris was created in Soviet Russia, the State owned the rights to the game and began selling them to whoever wanted to pay enough money.

Nintendo snagged the official rights to Tetris in the United States, making the NES the only console that could legally publish a version of the game. In the meantime, before Nintendo could release their version, Sega tried to publish Tetris, and so did Tengen, a game company with a sad history of trying to fight DRM codes and game juggernauts. And losing.

Sadly, Sega destroyed all of the manufactured Tetris cartridges before their publishing date, effectively cancelling its release. However, a limited number of physical copies might still exist. Ebay user shinsnk tried to sell perhaps the only signed copy of the Mega Drive Tetris for one million dollars back in 2011, but was ultimately unable to make a sale. 

Don't worry, though. Sega's recent Mini Mega Drive included a port of this ultra-rare game, meaning you still have a chance to experience Tetris like it's 1988.