Play a 1D version of Tetris in the free One Dimensional Arcade

(Image credit: 14hourlunchbreak)

You know, Deadwood lied to me. I remember the piano from Al Swearengen's Wild West saloon, but they had none of the historically accurate arcade cabinets that I now know were everywhere at the time. I learn this fact from One Dimensional Arcade, which sensationally reveals the primitive arcade machines that saloon-goers would play with back in the day.

As you may have guessed from the title, these arcade games were strictly one-dimensional in nature, which the developer interprets as meaning 'you can only move or perform actions in a straight line.' I love the idea that Tetris, Breakout and Frogger existed in the 1800s.

And so it goes in these 1D versions of those classic games. Of the bunch, only Tetris and Frogger really work as games, as you're required to perilously leap back and forth in the latter, and wrangle a single column of Tetrominos, by rejecting rapidly falling blocks until you eventually find matching ones. Breakout, on the other hand, is a joke game—and a good one, I might add.

But it's the aesthetic that impresses me most. True, the VHS filter doesn't make a lot of sense, but the sepia-toned pixel art, the pleasantly jaunty piany soundtrack, and the cheerful barman introducing the games all succeed in bringing such a ridiculous concept to life.

For more great free experiences, check out our roundup of the best free PC games.

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.