Can you make a no-code Tetris?

by | Apr 24, 2023

The release of the new Tetris movie on Apple TV got the Squirrel365 team thinking about Tetris and whether it is possible to create a no-code version. Squirrel365, if you’re not aware, is a no-code app development platform that basically uses spreadsheet formulas as the logic layer of your application. Tetris, the game, uses simple 4 block shapes to fill a gameboard.  There are a number of resources out there teaching you to build Tetris using programming languages such as this javascript youtube tutorial, others have gone for an easy visual coding environment such as Scratch a programming language popular with kids learning to code.  All these options rely on code for the visuals and the game mechanics.

Fun fact did you know the 4 block shapes use in Tetris are called tetrominoes

So how easy would it be to create Tetris with a no-code platform?

At the most fundamental level, the gameboard is very similar to the grid inside a spreadsheet.  A Google search (or a ChatGPT enquiry) will tell you it’s possible to create Tetris in Excel, but you must use VBA to create it.

VBA or Visual Basic for Applications is a programming language you can use to make Excel do clever things.  But if you must resort to programming to build Tetris, why use Excel, when it could just be coded?  However, with Squirrel, you can also do clever things without writing code!

The challenge: Can you make a Tetris game with Squirrel365?

So a couple of weeks ago, we set this challenge to our community members.

The rules of the challenge were simple… 

  • No add-ons,
  • No coding,
  • Just native Squirrel functionality and spreadsheet logic.

This was no doubt a complicated challenge. Which might require a bit of lateral thinking and some chunky spreadsheet formulas. Our very own Graham (from the Squirrel365 development team) took the challenge on and created this no-code version of Tetris.

It uses 2 data movers and 1 timer, along with spreadsheet logic to make it work.  The UI was achieved with rectangles and buttons.  There’s still a few bugs to iron out, and scoring to add, but overall it’s looking and feeling pretty good!

This proved to be the inspiration needed to get the community going! Finally one of our community members Josh blew us away with his version of no-code Tetris shortly after! Test out Josh’s Tetris version here.

Want to share your version of Tetris with us?

It’s fair to say that this challenge caused a fair bit of head-scratching for even the sharpest Squirrel users! But it’s not impossible, and the results prove that with some imagination and some spreadsheet logic anything is possible in Squirrel365.

If you fancy adding your version of Tetris to the table, it’s not too late! See the full conversation on the Squirrel community here.