Atari Tetris Arcade from 1988!


I got my first arcade cabinet! And it’s a classic! :D Also one of my favorite games ^_^ I have over 20 different Tetris games for various systems, and up until now my favorite has been Tetris BPS for the Famicom, but now I think my ‘new’ Atari Tetris arcade is my favorite! :D I might be biased, because it’s just so big and pretty and my highscores stay on there, but it’s definitely a great Tetris game!


The cabinet is in good condition. The control panel, the top light and the screen is in very good condition! But I will have to do some work on the sides to restore it to it’s former glory, it’s gotten a bit chipped around the edges. Nothing some wood filler and paint can’t fix ^_^ I haven’t moved it into my game room yet, I’m waiting to finish restoring it first.


The game is divided into missions, compared to regular Tetris which is usually just endless. The missions are to clear certain amount of lines, and the stages get harder by adding obstacles (bricks) in your path. You can play two people against each other and race to see who finished the lines first! :D


There’s also three different difficulty settings you can set it to. Easy, medium or hard. I’m slowly taking over all the previous highscores on the machine ^____^ Thankfully I can open the coin holder so I can re-use my quarters ;D


This Tetris cabinet was developed by Atari and released in the arcades back in 1988. This version of Tetris was later ported and released by Tengen for the NES in 1989. That’s one of the few Tetris games I actually don’t have yet :( But now I have the original version of it anyway ;D ……. writing about this here just made me go to eBay and pick myself up a copy of Tengen Tetris for the NES.. so I will have it soon ^___^

There was a lot of controversy around the Tengen version for the NES, after some legal disputes about publishing rights Nintendo won the publishing rights and Tengen had to recall their game from stores and destroy remaining inventory. There’s apparently less than 100,000 copies of the game in existence! I can’t wait to try the Tengen version out as well!


I love all puzzle games, especially Tetris! The objectives of this arcade Tetris game are fun and the music is great! It’s also very special to play on an arcade cabinet instead of through a console.. I think I might be hooked… already scouting for an SNK cab for my Neo Geo MVS games  ;D


I will take some more pictures of my Atari Tetris arcade once I’ve fixed it up :)

17 thoughts on “Atari Tetris Arcade from 1988!

  1. That’s just lovely! FYI, there was supposed to be a Mega Drive version of Tetris, but it seems only a very small amount were ever made, so it’s amazingly expensive these days. There’s a bootleg version that some people pay way too much for. I have one left here in the library and it’s a decent version, although nowhere as awesome as that cabinet you now own.

      • Yup, I have the Mega Drive bootleg too! :P I had it once and traded it and then bought it back for $100. It was expensive but I’m glad I have it again.

      • Since it was on store shelves (even if it was only briefly) there should be a few copies out there, probably more than 20, we just don’t know about them, and the people owning probably has no idea! Imagine if you would bump into one at a flea market, for like $10! I would probably piss my pants from excitement! LOL!

      • But that’s the thing, the Mega Drive version was never on store shelves. Sega cancelled the game shortly before the scheduled release date. And by shortly I mean like only a few weeks.

        Also, Sega had a good idea that Nintendo would prevail in their court case against Atari Games regarding the Tengen NES version and they’d be stuck with a bunch of useless carts, so they kept actual manufacturing to a minimum so they wouldn’t have to write off too large of a loss if they did have to scrap them yet they would have some ready in case they were able to sell them. The 10 or so that still exist were apparently kept by people working at the company at the time and were spared from being scrapped like the rest of the small number manufactured. Either way, it was never officially released.

  2. Your Tetris cabinet is fantastic! The condition looks really good. I know you say there are some touch-ups to do but whatever. The screen, the marquee and the control panel all look perfect. That’s a great score!
    I just know this IS what you were hinting at earlier when you said you had something cool coming :)
    Is this cabinet a bartop or a full standing unit? Doesn’t matter either way, I’m just curious.

    Tetris is a classic. It will always be a great game.

    I love that you want to get a Neo Geo Big Red cabinet! I hope you can find one locally!

    • Thanks! Yes it was ^_^ and it’s a full standing unit :) Since it was pretty dark when I did the photoshoot the pictures of the full cabinet didn’t turn out that well..

      I’ll probably have to settle for one of those smaller cabs, never seen a big red here in Sweden.. :( I will most definitely get a cab for my MVS carts soon though! :D

  3. Wow, congrats! That’s a major deal, getting your first arcade cabinet! That’s every Gamer’s dream! :-D
    Have you checked out any Pinball machines or isn’t it something for you? I saw a teenage mutant ninja turtles one from the 90’s that was awesome, and that’s the one I’ll get (for around 10-15.000 kr) if I ever get one. Other than that I plan to make my own tabletop arcade, but that’s something for the future as I don’t have the space to create the cabinet itself.

    • Thanks!! :D It sure is! ^_^ I wasn’t quite sure at first if I should get into arcade games, but when I saw this beauty for sale just an hour away from me I couldn’t pass it up!
      I’m not too fond of Pinball, it’s not the same, I prefer video games ;D
      They do look awesome though, and I bet that TMNT machine is totally rad! :D Go get it!

      • I don’t have space for it, and it’s a bit too expensive for me at the moment… X-D
        But I will in the future for sure.

  4. Congratulations on your arcade cabinet! Tetris is a very challenging game, with your brain stimulated on quick decision making on how to shape the blocks and where to put it. Your cabinet is just beautiful, I bet you are having a hard time tearing yourself away from it.

  5. Pingback: The Tetris Collection | Retro Video Gaming

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