Tetris 99 is the "This is Fine" meme in video game form – only instead of ignoring encroaching flames, you have to keep your cool during an onslaught of gray garbage blocks piling onto the screen from any of 98 other players in the match, making each moment more panicked than the last. Sometimes it really is fine, and the right sequence of movements mixed with a little luck returns my grid to a nice, orderly structure. Other times the garbage is too much, and all that remains of my screen is a gray dumpster that signals an early exit from this frantic, pulse-racing spin on one of the most beloved puzzle games of all time.
I get irrationally nervous during a seemingly solid run; a palms sweaty, heart beating out of my chest, jittery kind of nervous. If I had a blood pressure cuff on during a top-10 run, my doctor would probably tell me I need to be on medication. When I make it into the top five, I feel like I can run through a brick wall. I also feel like I’m going to pass out. I’m 99 percent sure Tetris 99 is bad for my health. It’s a vice I will gladly live with, though, because the overbearing tension is also what makes it such a thrilling and ultimately fulfilling multiplayer experience.