Introduction: Unforgiving Tiny Tetris

About: I want to build my moon base with remote controlled robots and solar sintering.

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In this instructable you'll learn how to quickly build a tiny arduino driven game of Tetris. It has all the pieces: two S, two L, T, box, and the I. You can turn them clockwise, make them drop faster, and even get a Tetris. This game is also kind of brutal. Even though it doesn't get faster it doesn't leave a lot of room for mistakes!

If you have all the parts in hand assembly time is less than 30 minutes.

At the end there will be links to learn how and why it works.

Step 1: Stuff You Need

This tutorial requires:

  • 1 Arduino UNO
  • 1 USB cable
  • 1 Joystick on a breakout board
  • 1 8x8 LED grid model 1088BS
  • 21 wires, male on one end and female on the other.
  • 1 PC to upload the code.

All the parts except the PC are available in my Arduino Starter Kit, coming soon.

You will need to download and install Arduino software if you don't already have it. You will need to know how to upload code to your Arduino board.

It might be helpful to download and install a Git client if you don't already have it. Get the code for the Arduino Starter Kit on Github. You can "clone to desktop" with your github client or "download as zip".

Step 2: Wire It Together

In a previous post we reverse engineered the 8x8 LED pins. Remember that to light an LED power has to enter the anodes and leave through the cathodes. On this grid the anodes and cathodes are shared and mixed randomly. You need the right pair to get just one light. If your software doesn't match your wiring then the results will be strange, but not fatal. Notice the LED grid has a bump on the "bottom" side of the back, and it's highlighted on the drawing so what you build will match the sample.

Step 3: Upload & Run!

Download the Arduino code from

(there's lots more good stuff in that project, check it out!)

Use the Arduino software to open ArduinoStarterKit/LED8x8tetris

Set Tools > Board to "UNO"

Choose your serial port.

Hit upload!

If you've done everything right, your tetris game should now be running.

Hit the reset button to start a new game.

Press down to make pieces fall faster.

Click the joystick to turn the piece.

Step 4: Final Thoughts

Know how to code? Feeling adventurous?

Change the code so the game gets faster the longer you play.

Change the odds so you get more of your favorite piece.

Replace the grid with an RGB grid and color the blocks.

Don't know how to code?

Read the full explanation of how and why it works at

Thank you

Tweet a video of you playing and tag @aggrav8d, it would make my day.

Follow me at for more robot goodness.

Thank you!