The Brick Game was a popular handheld game console in the late 1980s to the early 1990s. It was introduced mid-1980s in China, originally as a clone variant of the original Tetris that dates back to 1984-1985 in the former Soviet Union which is developed by Russian programmer Alexey Pazhitnov for the Soviet ELEKTRONIKA-60 home computer system.
It is essentially a LCD-based Tetris, but usually had a few simple games styled after Tetris block matrixes. The games are usually arranged within alphabetical letters (A-Z), with each letter corresponds with different games. Each game has its own variations by selecting the number below the letter. The difficulty level and speed of each game can be adjusted by pressing the left or right D-pad.
Brick Game was popular after a few years following the success of many Tetris variations in the late 1980s. It still manufactured in China and it is often considered as a low-cost toy that can be easily found on dollar stores or toy stores.
Even though the handheld gaming industry was popularized by Nintendo's Game Boy in the early-1990s, the Brick Game remained as a popular electronic game as an affordable alternative that is readily available in the market.
Today, the Brick Game has become significantly rarer in toy stores and mostly superseded by handheld Famiclone consoles. However, it is still iconic as a collector item among retro-gaming enthusiasts.
- Simple clones of Tetris. This one come in many different variations, ranging from normal Tetris clone to complex clones featuring more block shapes and even blocks that could shoot.
- Racing: The player controls a car and switches between left and right lanes to avoid other cars passing through. The player loses if the car hits one of them. The higher the level, the game's speed will be faster.
- Tanks: A multi-directional shooter in a similar vein to Namco's arcade game Battle City. The player must shoot other tanks in the screen until a certain number has achieved, then each level is ended with a short boss battle. The boss battle will be more difficult at higher levels, requiring precise shooting.
- Snake: An adaptation of the popular Snake game.
- Vertical shooting: Rows of blocks gradualy descending down the screen, and the player must destroy them before they reach the bottom. The player loses if all blocks reached the bottom.
- Filler shooting: This combines the aforementioned shooter with elements of Tetris. The player shoots blocks from below to form a complete horizontal line that disappears.
- Crossing: An adaptation of Frogger. The player controls a flashing dot and has to cross the rows without touching any moving tiles throughout the level.
- Breakout-style game: Self-explanatory
These can only be found on certain models
- Galaxian-style shooter: As the name suggests, this is a vertical shooter based on Galaxian. Several rows of blocks act as enemies at the top of the screen, and they will fall down one by one to hit the shooter. The player must eliminate the entire rows without getting hit by falling blocks.
- Matching: Three different shaped blocks appear at the top and bottom of the screen. The upper blocks will descend down and the player must match the lower blocks with its upper counterpart.
- Whack-A-Mole: The player must use the fire and directional buttons to hit one of the four corresponding targets on the screen. The player loses if either he/she presses the wrong button, or taking too long to press.
- Rally racing: This is similar to racing as mentioned before, but the car can move freely across the screen instead of just moving in left and right lanes. Also, the player avoids walls instead of other passing cars
The Chinese/Asian Brick Game is the most common variant found worldwide. It is notable for using two AA batteries and comes in many different sizes and shapes, ranging from a small "keychain" model to a large, expansive model that resemble an old mobile phone or a game controller.
The Russian variant of the Brick Game can be found across Russia, Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics. This model usually has only standard shape; the regular rectangular shape with some sort of curved part in the middle, separating the buttons and the LCD. Unlike Asian variants, the Russian version usually uses three batteries instead of two (both AA and AAA type), and known for its loud sound.