Gems intro screen #1 Gems intro screen #2
Gems intro screens
Gems game screen

Gems game screen

Gems is a clone of the hit Sega game Columns. Columns itself is similiar to the smash hit Tetris, but with subtle differences. Unlike Tetris, where one has to rotate a shape of blocks, Gems has you rotating the blocks vertically through a fixed set of three shapes. You wipe out any shapes that you can line up at least 3 in a row of when they hit the bottom; this can be in diagonal, horizontal or vertical lines. You get more points if you can get more than 3, and there are also "wildcard" blocks that will match any shape. Like Tetris, you can move the shapes back and forth as they fall, as well as drop them faster. The game has several different shape sets (including dice), and various difficulty levels (basically, how many unique shapes you have to deal with). Gems also supported saving your high scores to disk.

Gems was one of the very few games that actually took advantage of the Orchestra-90 stereo sound card, and actually had the sound of you moving the shapes back and forth get stronger on the left or right speaker, depending on which direction you moved them.

John still sells the game for $15.00 US, and you can email him here to order it, or Soviet Bloc.

Title: Gems

Author: John R. Strong

Publisher: Strongware

Released: 1991

Requires: Color Computer 3, 128K RAM, disk ONLY, joystick optional, Orchestra-90 card optional.

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