This is what it looks like when someone plays Tetris on a mechanical flipboard

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Is it possible to play Tetris on a mechanical flipboard? Yes, it is. But that doesn’t mean that it makes sense – as our find shows.

They are mainly to be found at airports and train stations: the so-called fall sheet display boards, which keep travelers informed about when which train is leaving, which aircraft is delayed or where a track has changed. But that’s not all you can do with the mechanical flipboards.

Can Tetris be played on a mechanical flipboard?

The product developers at Oat Foundry from Philadelphia took on a special challenge and wanted to find out if it was possible to play Tetris on a fall-leaf scoreboard. The result: it is possible. Whether you should do it, however, is another matter.

The principle according to which fall leaf displays work is quite simple: Fall leaves are attached to an axis at regular intervals, each of which shows a symbol – usually these are the letters of the alphabet and numbers, but purely black or white plates are of course also simple actionable. If the axis rotates, a new fall leaf folds forward and displays the following symbol. If you mount many of these axes next to and one below the other, you get a mechanical flipboard as we know it.

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Such boards only work in one direction – if a B is displayed, for example, the way to A does not lead via “one back”, but all tiles have to be leafed through once until the A is in front again. It just takes a few seconds. This is not a problem with scoreboards, but rather with a game like Tetris, where speed is a factor.

The conclusion of the hobbyists at Oat Foundry is correspondingly: Yes, it is possible to play Tetris on a mechanical flipboard. But players also have to concentrate quite a bit and somehow hide the fact that every block – experts know that they are called Tetriminos – leaves a “trail” of letters before the flipboard field turns black again.

If you still want to try it out yourself or want to bring Tetris to other “consoles”, you should stop by Gitconnected: There you will find detailed instructions on how to do it Writing Tetris in Python which Oat Foundry also used.

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