QUOTE(acorneli @ Jun 17 2013, 03:23 PM)
Hi, I am the director of Ecstasy of Order and also ran the 2012 Classic Tetris Championship.
unfortunately I think the great roadblock to making it spectator friendly is the hard drop. Average casual players just can't follow along at all.
FWIW, we have had some great success with our tournaments in regards to live audiences sitting and watching 2 hours of tetris, oohing and ahhing and screaming, applauding, all that. I think its because they can follow along on NES because they can actually see the piece falling and have a second or two to imagine where they might put it, even if they don't understand all the strategy.
So finding a soft drop version that everyone can get into and relish competing on would be a start.
Heya acorneli! I also think that making a game "spectator friendly" is important to the success of any competitive scene, but I don't think removing hard drop would accomplish that. While decreasing speed would allow spectators to keep up and understand what's going on, so would doing things like making DAS incredibly slow or increasing ARE. All of these just put constraints on what a player can do, something we wouldn't see in SC2 with those crazy KPT players. Ooohing and aahing at an event all depends on the crowd. People were going nuts for Paul676 when he was playing Nullpo 40L at hard to follow speeds during a live talent show, and Jin8's TGM invisible is one of the most viewed Tetris videos on Youtube and how many people can really follow that. TTO2 finals also had over 2k concurrent viewers at the time with the Twitch chat going crazy.
Instead, there just needs to be a way to make Tetris more fun to watch for a long period of time. While playing Tetris feels fresh and spontaneous each round for us as the player, watching it at any speed - fast or slow - will get boring and repetitive after a few months. There's no characters, creatures, environment or animations that really stimulate the viewer. How would someone make Tetris easier to watch though? It's a curse for pretty much any puzzle game. I've tried watching top Puyo-Pop games too and while it's impressive it only keeps me watching for a short period of time. I think the real problem is that at the end of the day, who wants to stare at shapes falling down, resetting , and repeat.
That's another problem with multiplayer puzzle games. Each round is extremely quick, while being seperate from the one before and after it. Rounds start over so often that it gives each individual round less meaning, making it less intense especially in a lopsided game. Because multiplayer rounds can last just a few seconds, I've made tournaments that go first to 15 or first to 11 while also being double elim, but ideally it should only be best of 3 or 5 with each individual round somehow lasting longer so that every mistake is amplified and every good play is that much sweeter. In order to make rounds longer, I think TB was on to something with multiple lives but really dropped the ball with solid garbage and bombs. Multiple lives would make individual rounds and comebacks more intense, while also allowing tournament matches to only go on for 3 or 5 rounds max to increase the importance and intensity of each individual round. As an added dynamic to the game, there could be an ingame penalty immediately following the loss of each life (like no holding or b2b bonus for X seconds) during a round which forces the player who just lost a life to have to play defensively for awhile.
While some might disagree with how to do it, there definitely needs to be some drastic changes to make Tetris easier to follow. At least with multiple lives its clear that even if you don't have a lot of skill, you still can tell who's winning by who has more lives. You know that the person who's higher up is in trouble, and that coming back from being down to your last life is impressive even if you can't personally comprehend all the pieces being dropped at once.
Tournament matches that last fewer rounds but with additional lives might make Tetris more fun to watch.