The Last Word: Tetris Fan on a New Interactive Version of the Game at Immersive Gamebox at Grandscape

“It’s like the old version, but way better.”

Sam LeBlanc
…. A 10-year-old Tetris fan, after playing an interactive game room version of the classic game at Immersive Gamebox at Grandscape in The Colony, via D Magazine

Immersive Gamebox, a London- and Dallas-based group gaming company with two North Texas locations at Grandscape in The Colony and in Deep Ellum in Dallas, launched its new Tetris 1991 experience in late January and invited a special guest to kick it off: 13-year-old Willis Gibson, who earlier that month became the first person to “beat” the Nintendo Entertainment System version of Tetris. 

To do that, Gibson cleared 1,511 Tetris “lines” in just 38 minutes, a record previously achieved only by artificial intelligence.

“Four decades after it was first launched, Tetris remains popular among adults and young people alike,” Immersive Gamebox Founder and CEO Will Dean said in a statement. “Our immersive gaming version plays on the well-loved classic and promises to offer nostalgia for those around in the ’90s and pure excitement for those with the pleasure of experiencing it for the first time at one of our Immersive Gamebox locations.”

Dean’s company launched in 2018 and now has a team of 40 located at offices in London and Dallas. The company operates 30 locations in 27 cities across the U.S., U.K., Germany, and the United Arab Emirates.

Wired has said Immersive Gamebox is “affectionately called a theme park in a box.”

Gamers often sit around playing games alone, accompanied only by the clicks and button presses of their devices as they move from game to game. But Immersive Gamebox offers a very different experience, Each location has multiple “gamebox” rooms where groups of players can interact and actively move around inside a game’s world. Players where special hats adorned with trackballs that enable the company’s technology to track their movements and rack up their scores as they play the game.

Players trying out another Immersive Gamebox game, “Alien Aptitude Test: London ‘84,” in 2021 [Photo: Immersive Gamebox]

“Immersive Gamebox’s mission is to build stronger communities and social bonds through gaming,” Dean added. “That’s why all our games are built to be collaborative and connection building—a far cry from the isolating and often violent games currently offered by the industry.”

The company’s latest title, Tetris 1991, is “a retro take on the classic puzzle game in which players are brought back to the golden age of console gaming to take on a series of Tetris-esque challenges in different locations and styles,” the company said.

Tetris CEO Maya Rogers noted that her company was celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, “Tetris 1991 offers our fans a unique way to physically engage with the brand and have fun with family and friends at the same time,” Rogers said in a statement.

Another new game customers at the North Texas locations can try out? Black Mirror Careers, where players duck, weave, and jump with their friends through fun, calibrated tests and immersive challenges “to determine their roles in a future society.”

Immersive Gamebox, originally known as Electric Gamebox, opened its Grandscape location in December, 2020, several months before raising $11 million in a Series A2 funding round, bringing its total raise at that time to $25 million. In November 2021, it opened its second North Texas location in Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood.

For more of who said what about all things North Texas, check out Every Last Word.

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