Title text: There's also a Katamari level where everything is just slightly bigger than you, and a Mario level with a star just out of reach.
Tetris is a game where the player has to manipulate falling blocks into forming complete rows, which will then be deleted and give points to the player. This comic is a play on this, presenting the player with a version of the game with a curved bottom that renders forming flat rows nearly impossible. Hell is a mythological and/or religious concept of a posthumous punishment for wrongdoers, depicted in many religions as eternal torment. Here the Tetris player feels they are in Hell when they try to play this game.
The title text presents similar situations where frustration is likely to occur. Katamari Damacy is a video game in which the player controls a sticky sphere which grows by assimilating objects smaller than itself, so gameplay would be extremely frustrating if none of the objects available is smaller than your sphere. Super Mario is a long-running franchise of platforming games; in some of the games (beginning with Super Mario 64), levels are completed by collecting large, golden Power Stars – so it would be very frustrating if one is impossible to reach.
There actually is a star in Super Mario 64 that is just out of reach in the A Button Challenge, where the goal is to minimize the number of presses of the A button. The star Treasure of the Ocean Cave is just 24 units too high to be reached without using the A button, and no alternative method has been found yet to get it without pressing A. As of February 16 2023 however, this star has been solved in 0.5 A presses.
This last part may also be a reference to the Ancient Greek myth of Tantalus; as punishment for cannibalism, he suffers in Hades, confined to a pool with a fruit tree above it. As his punishment, the fruit branches on the tree recoil every time he tries to eat, and the water recedes every time he tries to drink.
Also see comic 888: Heaven, which presents an inverse situation in which the Tetris game provides unfairly perfect pieces to help the player win.
There is a playable version of this comic at Kongregate which, unsurprisingly, is frustratingly difficult (but not impossible) to play.
- [The panel shows the display of a Tetris game where the bottom of the pit is curved into a semicircle making the two blocks at the bottom, a square and a reverse L piece lean crookedly towards each other at the bottom of the pit; an S piece is falling and the next piece is an L piece.]
- [Below the panel:]
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That playable version is actually quite fun. My best was 22 pieces on the screen (screenshot). Shine (talk) 18:20, 22 September 2012 (UTC)
Guess what, this is actually scorable. The trick is to form a solid base with your blocks, and play normal tetris over that. 188.8.131.52 13:56, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure if saying the hell came "cannot be won" is worth saying. Keep in mind, the regular game of tetris can't be won either. 184.108.40.206 01:29, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
"In Soviet Russia, game wastes time with you!"?! 220.127.116.11 23:28, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
If Heaven was #888, why wasn't Hell #666? --Quicksilver (talk) 02:39, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Super Mario Bros with a star just out of reach - reference to Tantalus? 18.104.22.168 03:23, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
For posterity, there's also not tetris, by stabyourself.net, which is similarly hellish in that you freely rotate the tetronimoes, and they will most likely not align perfectly, although its bottom border is a straight line. --22.214.171.124 11:53, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
For the star just out of reach, there's also the SM64 A Button Challenge stars which are just out of reach of a dive recover 126.96.36.199 02:46, 10 September 2021 (UTC)