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    FAQ by gmasterflash

    Version: 5.0 | Updated: 09/05/05 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    (thump, thump...is this thing on? ok, good. <ahem> here is the...)
    
     __       __    __  .___  ___.  __  .__   __.  _______    _____
    |  |     |  |  |  | |   \/   | |  | |  \ |  | |   ____| /      |
    |  |     |  |  |  | |  \  /  | |  | |   \|  | |  |__    |   (--
    |  |     |  |  |  | |  |\/|  | |  | |  . `  | |   __      \   \    
    |  `----.|  `--'  | |  |  |  | |  | |  |\   | |  |____.  ---)  |   
    |_______| \______/  |__|  |__| |__| |__| \__| |_______| |_____/    
                                                                       
             .______    __        ______     ______  __  ___ 
             |   _  \  |  |      /  __  \   /      ||  |/  / 
             |  |_)  | |  |     |  |  |  | |  ,----'|  '  /  
             |   _  <  |  |     |  |  |  | |  |     |    <   
             |  |_)  | |  `----.|  `--'  | |  `----.|  .  \  
             |______/  |_______| \______/   \______||__|\__\ 
                                                   
                      _______    ___       ______   
                     |   ____|  /   \     /  __  \     
                     |  |__    /  ^  \   |  |  |  
                     |   __|  /  /_\  \  |  |  |  |    
                     |  |    /  _____  \ |  `--'  '--
                     |__|   /__/     \__\ \_____\_____\
     
    
    or, Way more than you wanted to know about maximizing your score
         
         
                            By G-MasterFlash
                       trashmail@columbus.rr.com
                      Copyright: 2005 Grant Parsons
    
    This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for
    personal, private use. It may not be placed on any web site or
    otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission.
    Use of this guide on any other web site or as a part of any public
    display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Index
    -----
    
    0.  Intro ("Lumines" pronunciation and some terminology)
    1.  Block basics (What kinds of blocks there are)
    2.  Game mechanics (How the game works)
    3.  General tips for placing blocks (The five key rules)
    4.  Combos and the time line (When to hold 'em, when to drop)
    5.  Destroyer square strategies (Get the most from the rare square)
    6.  Block frequency (How often each appears; what that means)
    7.  Block strategies (How to handle the trickier blocks)
    8.  The phases of the game (One game, three phases, three strategies)
    9.  The pause button (Panicked? Use the pause that refreshes)
    10. An aside (Comparing Lumines to Tetris)
    11. Time Attack Mode (Making the most of combos and throwing blocks)
    12. Puzzle mode and solutions (A few tips and a lot of solutions)
    13. What's coming in future editions of this FAQ (What's coming)
    14. Thanks (Thanks)
    15. Postscript: The quest for the ultimate solution
        (which so far has proved difficult)
    16. Copyright notice (In case you didn't read the one above)
    
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    
    0. Intro
    -------------------------------------------------------------------- 
    
    OK, three important things first: 
    
    Thing No. 1:
    
    The name of this game is promounced "loo men-ESS," the same 
    way that "luminous" or "luminese" is promounced. How do we know? 
    That's how the game's creator, Tetsuya Mizuguchi,says it in the clips
    found at the Official Playstation Magazine website (thanks, guys!):
    
    http://psp.1up.com/do/gameOverview?cId=3134877
    
    The vids are at toward the bottom of the page.
    
    Personally, I find this pronounciation odd, as the spelling would
    suggest that it would be pronounced similarly to "anime"--an-eh-MAY.
    Another, equally odd option that also isn't correct, is LOO-mines.
    
    But hey, whether I (or you) think it's odd, the correct way
    to say it, as per the guy who created it, is "Lumin-ESS."
    Go figure ;-)
    
    Here's another take on why it's pronounced the way it is, courtesy
    of Daryl Cooper, who apparently knows Kanji. Quite interesting..
     
      I'm just reading your Lumines FAQ - really good info there!
    
      I read the section about the pronounciation - and I thought you 
      might be interested to hear the explaination as to why it is 
      pronounced lumin-ess
    
      The reason is Japanese Katakana pronounciation. I live in Tokyo, 
      and am learning japanese. One thing that you notice a lot of when 
      you live here is that english words are greatly simplified - to 
      the extent sometimes that totally different words in english have
      the same pronounciation. This is because when they are written in 
      Katakana (the japanese character set for writing forign words) 
      there are only a limited number of sounds - and these sounds 
      only approximate english!
    
      For example the japanese pronounciation for the name VLAD will 
      also be the same for BRAD, (actually it will be prounced bu-ra-do).
    
      The same reson stands for lumines. Japanese read english, as 
      katakana  sounds, so lumines will be read as RU-MI-NE-SU. In 
      Japanese, if a word ends in 'U' (like ru, or su) the u sound 
      is usually dropped. thus ru-mi-ne-ss or lumin-ess. The ru sound 
      is actually somewhere between the english sounds for L and R, so
      kinda sounds wrong most of the time...
    
      Anyway, hope this makes some sense!
    
      Daryl
    
    Thanks, Daryl--actually, it does make sense, and as a fan of most
    things Japanese, including Pocari Sweat (and, to a lesser extent,
    Death Chips), I appreciate you sending this along!
    
    ------
    
    Thing No. 2: 
    
    If you put Lumines to sleep and come back later to finish your game,
    (and sometimes when you don't) when you finish that game with a 
    high score, it will ask you if you want to "load" a profile. SAY NO!
    It may be counter-intuitive, but you want to decline loading a 
    profile if you'd rather save a high score.
    
    _After_ you decline the first question, Lumines asks if you want
    to save. Here is where you say yes. 
    
    I don't know how many times I've screwed this up. It really, really
    blows if you do this after getting some unobtainium skin or two, and
    don't save it because you answer a game query out of reflex. Don't
    ask me how I know.
    
    The key here is that the same questions don't come in the same order 
    every time. The thing to remember? Any time the game asks you a 
    question, read it and think carefully. Your saved skins may hang in 
    the balance! ;-)
    
    ------
    
    Thing No. 3:
    
    In this FAQ, a "block" is  this size...
    
      -----
     |  |  |
     |  |  |
     |--+--|
     |  |  |
     |  |  |
      -----
    
    
    ..and a "square" is one-fourth of a block, or one of these things...
    
      --
     |  |
     |  |
      --
    
    Got it? Cool.
    
    
    Where to start reading this FAQ:
    --------------------------------
    
    If you've played Lumines for longer than about 20 minutes and 
    are looking for some general strategies, you can skip Block Basics,
    (which is interesting mainly from a mathematical perspective), and...
    
    ..You can also skip Game Mechanics, which will be fairly old
    hat to you, so...
    
    Jump straight to section 3.
    
    And,
    
    If you're coming here because you're stuck on the puzzle solutions,
    you will probably never even see this graf, because you've already
    don't a CNTL-F and searched for "Clear All x2). But if you've been
    dutiful enough to read this far, I am truly flattered.
    
    Please skip to Section 12, and find peace, my brother ;-)
    
    
    However...
    
    If you've never played Lumines before,or you're looking for a 
    deeper understanding of the game, start reading here.
    
    
    1. Block basics
    -------------------------------------------------------------------- 
    
    
    The whole game is built around a mere six blocks:
    
     _____     _____     _____     _____     _____     _____  
    |  |  |   |XX|  |   |XX|  |   |XX|  |   |XX|  |   |XX|XX| 
    |  |  |   |XX|  |   |XX|  |   |XX|  |   |XX|  |   |XX|XX| 
    |--+--|   |--+--|   |--+--|   |--+--|   |--+--|   |--+--| 
    |  |  |   |  |  |   |XX|  |   |  |XX|   |XX|XX|   |XX|XX| 
    |  |  |   |  |  |   |XX|  |   |  |XX|   |XX|XX|   |XX|XX| 
     -----     -----     -----     -----     -----     -----  
    blankey    oney      twoey     deuce     trey      quad
    
    However, when you rotate them, they can become other unique blocks.
    So technically, there are more unique blocks in the game than five;
    they just happen to be the five original blocks in different
    orientations.
    
    A blankey doesn't change when it rotates, so it's:    1 block
      _____
     |  |  |
     |  |  |
     |--+--|
     |  |  |
     |  |  |
      -----
    
    A oney changes four times  when it rotates, so it's:  4 blocks
     _____     _____     _____     _____ 
    |XX|  |   |  |  |   |  |  |   |  |XX|
    |XX|  |   |  |  |   |  |  |   |  |XX|
    |--+--|   |--+--|   |--+--|   |--+--|
    |  |  |   |XX|  |   |  |XX|   |  |  | 
    |  |  |   |XX|  |   |  |XX|   |  |  | 
     -----     -----     -----     -----   
    
    A twoey changes four times when it rotates, so it's:  4 blocks
     _____     _____     _____     _____ 
    |XX|  |   |  |  |   |  |XX|   |XX|XX|
    |XX|  |   |  |  |   |  |XX|   |XX|XX|
    |--+--|   |--+--|   |--+--|   |--+--|
    |XX|  |   |XX|XX|   |  |XX|   |  |  |
    |XX|  |   |XX|XX|   |  |XX|   |  |  |
     -----     -----     -----     -----   
    
    A deuce changes two times when it rotates, so it's:   2 blocks
     _____     _____ 
    |XX|  |   |  |XX|
    |XX|  |   |  |XX|
    |--+--|   |--+--|
    |  |XX|   |XX|  |
    |  |XX|   |XX|  |
     -----     -----    
    
    A trey changes four times when it rotates, so it's:    4 blocks
     _____     _____     _____     _____ 
    |XX|  |   |  |XX|   |XX|XX|   |XX|XX|
    |XX|  |   |  |XX|   |XX|XX|   |XX|XX|
    |--+--|   |--+--|   |--+--|   |--+--|
    |XX|XX|   |XX|XX|   |  |XX|   |XX|  |
    |XX|XX|   |XX|XX|   |  |XX|   |XX|  |
     -----     -----     -----     -----   
    
    A quad doesn't change when it rotates, so it's:       1 block
    
     _____
    |XX|XX|
    |XX|XX|
    |--+--|
    |XX|XX|
    |XX|XX|
     -----                                               _________
    
    Therefore, those five original blocks actually equal: 16 blocks
    
    As it turns out, this is entirely predictable when you have a block
    made up of four squares, and you try as many combinations as possible.
    
    4x4 = 4(squared) = 16.
    
    Math lesson over ;-)
    
    ...well, not exactly over. Charles Blaquière offers this mathwhiz take
    on the numbers...
    
       Actually, the math is wrong. The reason why there are 16 combinations
       is that each square is one of 2 colors and since there are 4 squares 
       per block:
    
        2^4 (2 to the fourth power) = 16.
    
       You may want to correct your text. And thanks for going through the effort 
       of writing this guide!
    
    Thanks, Charles!
    
    
    2. Game mechanics
    -------------------------------------------------------------------- 
    
    Lumines plays very simply, and anyone can figure out the rules by 
    playing for about two minutes. Mastering the game and doing well,
    that's a whole 'nother thing. Here's the rules, for the sake of 
    FAQ completeness, more than anything...:
    
      A. You drop a block into the grid.
    
      B. The block drops until it hits something (either another block or
         the "floor," then stops.
    
      C. If only part of a block (two vertical squares) hits something,
         the rest of the block (the remaining two vertical squares) keep
         falling until they hit something (either another square or the
         "floor").
    
      D. If any of the falling squares come to rest creating a solid block
         or rectangle (either colored or white/clear), that block deletes
         when the "time line," which sweeps the grid from right to left,
         crosses over it. (The time line gets its name from a simliar bar 
         in a music sequencer, I read somewhere on the net (uncredited, 
         sorry!).
    
      E. If, before the timeline arrives, you manage to pile on more squres
         that make even more rectangles out of your original rectangle,
         you get mondo pointage. I think the points are multiplied by the
         number of squares formed.
    
      F. If you make a block with a special square that occasionally 
         appears contaning a contrasting dot, (called in this faq a
         "destroyer") every square of the same color that's touching
         the destroyer either horizontally or vertically (not diagonally) 
         disappears,too, and you get mondo pointage - and a lot more
         space to work with.
    
      G. Fill up the screen so you can't drop blocks = game over.
    
    
    
    3. General tips for placing blocks
    -------------------------------------------------------------------- 
    
    Think leftovers...
    
    Before we talk about the main focus of this game--making rectangles of
    like-colored blocks--let's first consider something much more important
    to your long-term survival in Lumines...
    
    What's left behind when you make those wonderful like-colored blocks?
    
    Consider the following. It happens to be a very good technique in its 
    own right -- the best for getting rid of a leftover "nub" (one square
    sticking up with nothing surrounding it). It, in fact, makes you a 
    "delete" and gets you pointage. 
    
    But it also leaves something behind, which many (but not all)
    dropped blocks will do.
    
    
     Trey deletes nub
     ----------------
    
    
       _____
      |XX|  |
      |XX|  |
      |--+--|  <--this block falls on the nub below,
      |XX|XX|     and the nub pushes up the two right
      |XX|XX|     squares, while the two left squares
       -----      finish falling to the floor...
    
    
    
    
    
    
        ||                 +--+
        ||                 |  |
        \/   ..creating  __|__|     ...which leaves
                this... |XX|XX|           this...               ...after
                        |XX|XX|                                  the like-
          __            |--+--|                          ---  colored block
         |XX|  =======> |XX|XX| ====>            ==>    |   |    deletes.
         |XX|           |XX|XX|                         |   |
      ---+--+-         -+--+--+-                       -+---+-
    
    
    You get the delete, and the pointage that goes with it, but you're left
    with another nub. Of course,if you drop a contrasting trey on it you
    get another delete, and the pointage that goes with _it._ But you're 
    left with another nub, and...well, you get the idea.
    
    In fact, it's not a bad strategy to park a nub out somewhere that you
    can use to get rid of treys, if that's your style. But we're getting 
    ahead of things here.
    
    The main point to be learned here is that a lot of the time, dropping 
    blocks may get you deletes, which in turn gets you points. But the act 
    of dropping also leaves squares behind. It's how you manage those 
    squares left behind--both in terms of how you make them, and how you 
    endeavor to get rid of them--that will dictate your long-term survival,
    and, ergo, how high your score gets, and how many of those precious 
    skins you unlock.
    
    So, here's two points worth remembering: 
    
     A. Deleting blocks gets you points; and,
     
     B. Managing leftover blocks lets you survive longer
    
    To have ying, you must have yang. And that's the true balance of 
    this game.
    
    Concentrate just on making blocks to delete, and you'll not last long. 
    And if you concentrate just on leaving good stuff behind, you won't as
    high a score.
    
    But do both... ah, now that is the beauty.
    
    Ahem. Where was I? Oh, right. This brings me to the the cardinal rules
    of Lumines...
    
    
     Rule No. 1: Checkerboard bad
     ----------------------------
    
    Repeat after me: "Checkerboard bad."
    
    This is your new mantra. What this means is that anytime you make 
    deletes that produce a pattern like this...
    
     ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- 
    |XX|  |XX|  |XX|  |XX|  |XX|  |
    |XX|  |XX|  |XX|  |XX|  |XX|  |
    |--+--|--+--|--+--|--+--|--+--|   
    |  |XX|  |XX|   XX|  |XX|  |XX| 
    |  |XX|  |XX|  |XX|  |XX|  |XX| 
     ----- ----- ----- ----- -----  
    
    ..or the vertical equivalent that looks like this...
    
     -----
    |XX|  |
    |XX|  |
    |--+--|
    |  |XX|
    |  |XX|
     ----- 
    |XX|  |
    |XX|  |
    |--+--|
    |  |XX|
    |  |XX|
     ----- 
    |XX|  |
    |XX|  |
    |--+--|
    |  |XX|
    |  |XX|
     ----- 
    |XX|  |
    |XX|  |
    |--+--|
    |  |XX|
    |  |XX|
     ----- 
     
    
    ...you will have a difficult time getting rid of those blocks. Why? 
    Since only rectangles of like-colored blocks can be deleted, 
    you cannot add anything to this pattern from above that creates a
    delete.
    
    Strange but, as my kid says, "oddly true."
    
    At best, you can only start over using the top of this row as the
    new "floor." Bummer is you're that much closer to the top of the grid,
    and, ergo, the end of the game.
    
    If you've been unfortunate enough to create this pattern, your only hope
    to delete part of it is to get a destroyer bock. Use a destroyer
    and create a square on top of this pattern, and you'll be lucky enough to 
    create a one-square chink in it, which you could theoretically use to
    start the laborious work of slowly getting rid of the whole "new floor."
    
    If you're super-good, you could build an elaborate chain connected to
    the destroyer (something covered later in this FAQ) to delete more
    than one like-colored square. But that's a lot of work. Better to not 
    get yourself in this position in the first place.
    
    Luckily, there is a corollary to "checkerboard bad," and it is:
     
    
     Rule No. 2: Pairs good
     ----------------------
    
    Repeat after me: "Pairs good." This is your new complementary mantra.
    
    
    Ideally, as you create deletes, you want to be creating a pattern
    that looks like this..
    
    
     ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- 
    |XX|XX|  |  |XX|XX|  |  |XX|XX|
    |XX|XX|  |  |XX|XX|  |  |XX|XX|
    |--+--|--+--|--+--|--+--|--+--|   
    |  |  |XX|XX|  |  |XX|XX|  |  |   
    |  |  |XX|XX|  |  |XX|XX|  |  | 
     ----- ----- ----- ----- -----   
    
    
    ...or the vertical equivalent that looks like this...
    
    
     -----
    |  |  |
    |  |  |
    |--+--|
    |XX|XX|
    |XX|XX|
     ----- 
    |  |  |
    |  |  |
    |--+--|
    |XX|XX|
    |XX|XX|
     ----- 
    |  |  |
    |  |  |
    |--+--|
    |XX|XX|
    |XX|XX|
     ----- 
    |  |  |
    |  |  |
    |--+--|
    |XX|XX|
    |XX|XX|
     ----- 
    
    
    
    
    These are better, because you could drop a twoey that looks like
    this...
    
     _____                        -----
    |  |  |                      |XX|XX|
    |  |  |                      |XX|XX|
    |--+--|    ...or this...     |--+--| 
    |XX|XX|                      |  |  |
    |XX|XX|                      |  |  |
     -----                        -----
    
    ..or even a trey or oney that looks like this...
    
     _____                        -----
    |XX|  |                      |XX|  |
    |XX|  |                      |XX|  |
    |--+--|    ...or this...     |--+--| 
    |XX|XX|                      |  |  |
    |XX|XX|                      |  |  |
     -----                        -----
    
    ... or even a blankey or quad that looks like this...
    
    
     _____                        -----
    |  |  |                      |XX|XX|
    |  |  |                      |XX|XX|
    |--+--|    ...or this...     |--+--| 
    |  |  |                      |XX|XX|
    |  |  |                      |XX|XX|
     -----                        -----
    
    
    ...and produce deletes. Even cooler, in some cases (twoey) the
    leftovers would delete the pair below them. Pretty cool, huh? 
    
    Clearly, then, pairs good. (This has been true in one way or another
    throughout the history of recorded time. But i digress...)
    
    All this brings us to...
    
    
     Rule No. 3: Think first, drop second
     ------------------------------------
    
    Before you drop a block, take a split-second to ask yourself this
    question:
    
        Will your leftovers leave a checkerboard, or a pair?
    
    If it's a pair, huzzah! A checkerboard? You can probably do better.
    (Assuming you have time, which is a big assumption.)
     
    Which brings us to...
    
    
     Rule No. 4: Drop blocks
     -----------------------
    
    This is the one you've been waiting for:
    
        Create like-colored deletes with falling blocks.
    
    Wierd, huh?
    
    Isn't this crazy?: Only after everything you've read so far, is it
    _really_ safe to drop a block. Odd that a game so focused on the 
    seemingly simple act of dropping blocks would require you to take
    so much in consideration before actually dropping a block.
    
    That is the genius of this game. It really is deep as heck. Hats off
    to the dudes who came up with it. These first rules only scratch the
    surface.
    
    
     Rule No. 5: If all else fails, do no harm
     -----------------------------------------
    
    If all else fails, and you can't find anywhere to drop a block that
    makes any sense to your overall strategy, then drop it so that it
    makes at least a pair. Ideally, this pair will be horizontally, so 
    it can be most easily gotten rid of. But in a pinch, a vertical
    pair isn't bad, either, since you will at least have a fighting 
    chance of getting rid of it.
    
    Remember, if you can't get rid of it quickly, chances are good that
    if you follow all the rules and strategies in this FAQ, you'll have
    the opportunity to get rid of it later.
    
    
    4. Combos and time line strategies
    -------------------------------------------------------------------- 
    
    When you create at block of at least four like-colored squares, it 
    will glow until the timeline hits it, at which point it will become
    a delete, and everything above it (if anything) will drop down.
    
    While the block is glowing, any other two like-colored squares you 
    can drop on it or beside it will up your score. Pretty much any two
    or more squares you can get to touch the square will make more 
    squares, so it pays to have as much time as possible in which to
    build combos.
    
    To get the max time, wait until the timeline has just passed the area
    in question before you create the glowing delete. Sometimes, this will
    mean you have to drop the block with the down arrow, to speed things
    up. Other times you'll be waiting for the line to clear before 
    dropping. Either works.
    
    Combos really do up your score, so it pays to throw blocks with like-
    colored squares at glowing deletes like a madman. The downside is that
    if you don't think much while you're doing it, you could be building
    yourself quite a mess to dig out of. Again, that's part of the fun
    balance of the game. You must always be thinking, and risk gets you 
    reward--or makes a mess.
    
    One last key rule about the time line. Never create a delete when the
    timeline is in the middle of it. Do that, and only the part of the 
    delete to the right of the time line will be destroyed. The part to the
    left will remain. Usually, this is a bummer (though at times it's an
    advanced technique that can aid you if you're daring enough to try 
    to use half-deleted blocks in your overall strategy; it's also a boon
    in the 2x puzzles--see puzzle section below). <-- Boy, that's a long
    parenthetical statement ;-)
    
    
    5. Destroyer square strategies
    -------------------------------------------------------------------- 
    
    Destroyer squares are those tiny squares with the contrasting colored
    blocks inside them. Any like-colored squares touching that square
    horizontally or vertically--and any like-colored square touching those
    squares--will all disappear when the destroyer deletes with a block.
    
    According to my frequency checks, destroyers come along about every
    36 blocks, give or take, which isn't very often. So use them to
    the fullest.
    
    It's tough to think ahead, especially when you're first starting, but
    it's important to keep at least part of your attention on the blocks
    that are coming up--the three on the left part of the screen that 
    move up when your dropped block moves down. The block at the top of 
    the three is the one that will appear atop the grid next.
    
    This way, you can see a destroyer squares three blocks before it comes
    into play, giving you time to plan.
    
    There are three key points to using destroyer blocks.
    
     A. Don't just make a block; think. If you use a destroyer square to
        just make a single delete, and nothing else is deleted, you get no
        benefit from the destoyer.
    
     B. You can drop a destoyer square into the best position avalable 
        to make a delete, and hope that you take out as many extra like-
        colored squares as possible. This is better than "A," but not
        the best use of a destoyer.
     
     C. The best way to use a destoyer is to drop it so that it doesn't
        immediately disappear, but can be completed into a delete easily.
        Then use new blocks to link existing and new like-colored squares 
        together, and tie them back to the destoyer's soon-to-be deleted 
        block. Then, when you delete the destoyer, everything else goes, 
        too.
    
        This is actually great fun, and it's possible, with a bit of 
        planning, to have a destoyer "snake" that goes from one side of 
        the grid to the other, and when it all deletes, it's great fun
        and gets you extra points. 
    
        The downside to this strategy, of course, is that you can make
        ridiculously long snakes, and then screw up deleting the destroyer,
        which leaves you with something that's really tough to get rid of.
        Yin, meet yang; yang, yin.
    
    
    
    
    6. Block Frequency
    -------------------------------------------------------------------- 
    
    
    In game mode, blocks drop "somewhat" randomly--the order in which
    they show up is never the same twice. (The same is true in many,
    though not all, of the levels in puzzle mode.) I say "somewhat," 
    however, because some blocks show up more often than others.
    I've recorded the blocks that appear over several games, then 
    averaged the results. Here's what I've come up with...
    
     _____     _____     _____     _____     _____     _____  
    |  |  |   |XX|  |   |XX|  |   |XX|  |   |XX|  |   |XX|XX| 
    |  |  |   |XX|  |   |XX|  |   |XX|  |   |XX|  |   |XX|XX| 
    |--+--|   |--+--|   |--+--|   |--+--|   |--+--|   |--+--| 
    |  |  |   |  |  |   |XX|  |   |  |XX|   |XX|XX|   |XX|XX| 
    |  |  |   |  |  |   |XX|  |   |  |XX|   |XX|XX|   |XX|XX| 
     -----     -----     -----     -----     -----     -----  
    
    blankey    oney      twoey     deuce     trey       quad
    
     6.3%      25.1%     21.5%     14.5%     25.1%      6.3%
    
    
    Among the games I sampled, the numbers were generally the same, 
    though from game to game the percentage of a given block could
    fluctuate a point or two. I think it's accurate enough for
    general use.
    
    ---Note added 4/25/05:
       
       Two people who read earlier versions of this FAQ, Todd Salerno
       and Carl2, both looked at the figures above and saw something
       different. Apparently being number guys, they noted that the 
       numbers I got were very close to what you'd get if the 16 blocks
       (in section 1) were randomized, as opposed to the way I did this,
       which was looking at it in terms of six blocks.
    
       Confused? Here's how Todd explained it (which is very close to 
       how Carl explained it, as well):
    
         >it seems to me rather likely that the game randomizes for each
         >unique orientation. 100% divided by 16 = 6.25%, so it's probably
         >close to:
         >
         >blankey: 1 x 6.25% = 6.25%
         >oney: 4 x 6.25% = 25%
         >twoey: 4 x 6.25% = 25%
         >deuce: 2 x 6.25% = 12.5%
         >trey: 4 x 6.25% = 25%
         >quad: 1 x 6.25% = 6.25%
         >
         >...your numbers seem close enough to these mathematical ideals to
         >make me think that they would regress to the mean with a 
         >large enough sample.
    
       It took me about two seconds to see that Carl and Todd must be
       right, as well. (Meaning that, in fact, both sets of frequency
       numbers are right; they're just arrived at from two different
       directions.) It only makes sense, actually. What's really neat,
       though, is that this second way of looking at block frequency
       only makes me have more respect for the developers of Lumines.
       Why? Simple...
    
       If this is true--and it seems quite likely--then the game is made
       "pure," meaning that the blocks are fully random, and the order
       you get them hasn't been "tweaked" for the sake of either difficulty
       or ease. The developers realized there were 16 blocks, so they
       randomized all 16.
    
       Pretty neat, really.
      
       OK, so I lied about the math lesson being over above. _Now_ it's
       over. ;-)
      
    ---End note added 4/24/05
    
    Of course, since they're random, they don't drop in the same order 
    every time, and it's entirely possible to get several of the same
    blocks dropping one after another, which is rather maddening if you
    don't have a stragegy for them.
    
    From these percentages, you can divine a few things worth considering.
    
      A. Taken togeher, Oneys and Treys make up more than half
         of the blocks dropped. If you're not adept at handling
         them, you'll have a hard time. (See "Strategies for
         Oneys and Treys," below)
    
      B. Twoeys are the second largest group, but they're relatively
         easy to deal with since making pairs with them isn't
         too tough--if you've been following the rule "pairs good"
         above.
    
      C. Deuces are the next largest group, and they're a bit tricky,
         too (see "Strategies for Deuces," below). 
    
    
    7. Block strategies
    -------------------------------------------------------------------- 
    
    
    The way to get high scores in Lumines is to employ several block
    strategies at once, balancing each against each other in a dynamic,
    ever-changing environment.
    
    
    A. Special Strategies for Oneys and Treys
    
    There are two good ways to get rid of treys and oneys, which are the
    same piece but reversed.
    
     1). Slicing
    
    Look for a lone square that is the same color as the majority of the 
    oney or trey, and position the block above it, so the one, off-
    colored square is directly above it. This can be done to squares that
    are sitting by themselves, like this...
    
    
    
      -----
     |  |XX|
     |  |XX|
     |--+--|
     |  |  |
     |  |  |
      ----- 
    
    
         --
        |  |
        |  |
    ----+--+------
    
    ...or part of a string, like this...
    
    
      -----
     |  |XX|
     |  |XX|
     |--+--|
     |  |  |
     |  |  |
      ----- 
    
    
         -- -- -- --  
        |  |XX|XX|XX|
        |  |XX|XX|XX|
    ----+--+--+--+--+-----
    
    
    The end result will be that you create a delete, and leave the sheared-
    off single color behind.
    
    If you don't have any nubs, you can use another technique, called...
    
     2) Double slicing
    
    Similar to slicing, only done with blocks that are two squares high...
    
      -----
     |  |XX|
     |  |XX|
     |--+--|
     |  |  |
     |  |  |
      ----- 
    
         -- -- -- --  
        |  |XX|XX|XX|
        |  |XX|XX|XX|
         -- -- -- --  
        |  |XX|XX|XX|
        |  |XX|XX|XX|
    ----+--+--+--+--+-----
    
    Note that when doing this, you can have the off-colored square in 
    a position like above, or like this...
    
      -----
     |  |  |
     |  |  |
     |--+--|
     |  |XX|
     |  |XX|
      ----- 
    
         -- -- -- --  
        |  |XX|XX|XX|
        |  |XX|XX|XX|
         -- -- -- --  
        |  |XX|XX|XX|
        |  |XX|XX|XX|
    ----+--+--+--+--+-----
    
    Either one may have an advantage over the other, depending on what's
    around it. Remember, "pairs good." Scan and think before placing.
    
    If you don't have blocks in the above configurations, you could...
    
     3) Build with the blocks themselves
    
    Aim to produce this...
     _____  _____   
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
     -----  ----- 
    
    ...which can be gotten rid of pretty obviously with this...
    
         ----- 
        |XX|XX|
        |XX|XX|
        |--+--|
        |  |  |
        |  |  |
         -----
     _____  _____   
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
     -----  ----- 
    
    ...in two passes of the time line. 
    
    
    B.  Strategies for Deuces
    
    Deuces can be tricky because they are part of the dreaded
    checkerboard that you don't want to be building. Instead,
    aim to produce patterns like this...
    
     _____  _____   
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |  |  ||  |XX| 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
     -----  ----- 
     _____  _____   
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
     -----  ----- 
    
    ..which, in two passes of the timeline, become this...
    
     __        __   
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |  |      |XX| 
    |--+      +--| 
    |  |      |  | 
    |__|      |__| 
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
    |--+      +--| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
     ------------ 
    
    ...which can be deleted with this, with another two passes
    of the timeline...
    
         ----- 
        |XX|XX|
        |XX|XX|
        |--+--|
        |  |  |
        |  |  |
         -----
         ----- 
        |  |  |
        |  |  |
        |--+--|
        |XX|XX|
        |XX|XX|
         -----
    
    
     __        __   
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |  |      |XX| 
    |--+      +--| 
    |  |      |  | 
    |__|      |__| 
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
    |--+      +--| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
     ------------ 
    
    
      Another technique for deuces
    
    Another useful technique for deuces is to create a five-square-wide
    area on the right side of the 16-square grid, that you set aside for the 
    sole purpse of getting rid of deuces--and only deuces. (The right side
    is the best place so you can keep an eye on the time line, something
    that is important with this strategy).
    
    Interested? Do it this way:
    
    One of the five squares is left blank to separate the rest of the grid
    from the area used for deuces. On the larger part of the grid, deal with
    chaos the same way you usually do, effectively managing leftovers,
    creating deletes and concentrating on making at least pairs when you
    can't make anything else.
    
    Then in the special area you set aside to get rid of deuces, build
    the same pattern as above, but use only deuces to get rid of it,
    like this...
    
    
     -----  -----   
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
     -----  ----- 
     -----  -----   
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
     ------------ 
    
    ..which deletes the block in the middle to create this...
    
     --        --   
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |--+      +--| 
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
     --        -- 
     -----  -----   
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
     ------------ 
    
    ...which deletes the block in the center bottom to create this...
    
    
     --        --   
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |--+      +--| 
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
     --        -- 
     --        --   
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
    |--+      +--| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
     ------------- 
    
    ...then, when the next deuce comes up, drop it in like this...
    
         _____   
        |  |XX|
        |  |XX|
        |--+--| 
        |XX|  | 
        |XX|  | 
         -----
    
     --        --   
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |--+      +--| 
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
     --        -- 
     --        --   
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
    |--+      +--| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
     ------------- 
    
    ...which creates this....
    
    
     --        --   
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |--+      +--| 
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
     --        -- 
     -----  -----   
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
     ------------ 
    
    ...into which you drop your next deuce, thusly...
    
         _____   
        |XX|  |
        |XX|  |
        |--+--| 
        |  |XX| 
        |  |XX| 
         -----
     --        --   
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |--+      +--| 
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
     --        -- 
     -----  -----   
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
     ------------ 
    
    ...which produces this...
    
     -----  -----   
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
     -----  ----- 
     -----  -----   
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
     ------------ 
    
    ...which (hold on, end is coming) deletes the block in the middle 
    left, to produce this...
    
    
            -----   
           |  |XX| 
           |  |XX| 
           |--+--| 
           |XX|  | 
           |XX|  | 
            ----- 
     -----  -----   
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
     ------------ 
    
    ...which deletes the block on the lower left to produce this...
    
            -----   
           |  |XX| 
           |  |XX| 
           |--+--| 
           |XX|  | 
           |XX|  | 
            ----- 
            -----   
           |XX|  | 
           |XX|  | 
           |--+--| 
           |  |XX| 
           |  |XX| 
     ---------------
    
    Which astute observers will realize is the right two blocks that 
    allow you to start building the pattern again.
    
    A few tips about this technique..
    
      1. Destroyers can screw this up, so if you're using this technique
         and you get a deuce that contains a destroyer, drop it in your
         chaos area. You'll not only keep your deuce-destroying area 
         pristine, but you'll get more points by using the destroyer
         to its fullest (see destroyer section below), as opposed to 
         wasting it on deleting a four-square block.
    
      2. If you make a delete in your deuce section when the time line is
         part of the way through the deuce sction, only part of the delete
         could be deleted. This is bad, and will screw up your deuce area.
         So, whenever you're dropping a deuce, pay particular attention to 
         the time line. Drop only when you're sure that: a) You can drop
         before the timeline arrives at your four-square-wide deuce area,
         or, 2) Drop only after it has cleared
    
      3. If you get too many deuces dropping in a row, drop them as you
         would if the inner or leftmost blocks had already deleted. Once
         the anticipated blocks delete, your pattern will restore and you
         can continue.
    
      4. If you mess up the pattern, try to build a new "floor" and create
         the pattern again on top of it. Barring that, just keep playing.
         Imagine you're the piano player in a western saloon. Those dudes
         never stop playing, even when the gunfire breaks out. Neither should
         you. ;-)
    
    
    C. Strategies for towers
    
    Sooner or later, you'll have blocks stacked together forming towers,
    or empty space behind next to stacks of blocks. Either way, you have
    a tower space you need to get rid of.
    
    For these, your best bet will be to attack them from the bottom. Look at
    the bottom two squares and see what you'll need to match them with.
    If they're checkerboarded, like this..
    
     -----
    |XX|  |
    |XX|  |
    |--+--|
    |  |XX|
    |  |XX|
     ----- 
    |XX|  |
    |XX|  |
    |--+--|
    |  |XX|
    |  |XX|
     ----- 
    |XX|  |
    |XX|  |
    |--+--|
    |  |XX|
    |  |XX|
     ----- 
    |XX|  |
    |XX|  |
    |--+--|
    |  |XX|
    |  |XX|
     ----- 
     
    ...you're hosed. you can do anything with them. However, if they're
    like this..
    
     -----
    |XX|  |
    |XX|  |
    |--+--|
    |  |  |
    |  |  |
     ----- 
    |XX|XX|
    |XX|XX|
    |--+--|
    |  |  |
    |  |  |
     ----- 
    |XX|  |
    |XX|  |
    |--+--|
    |  |XX|
    |  |XX|
     ----- 
    |XX|XX|
    |XX|XX|
    |--+--|
    |  |XX|
    |  |XX|
     ----- 
    
    ...you've got a fighting chance. Drop something like this...
    
     -----
    |XX|  |
    |XX|  |
    |--+--|
    |  |  |
    |  |  |
     ----- 
    |XX|XX|
    |XX|XX|
    |--+--|
    |  |  |
    |  |  |
     ----- 
    |XX|XX|
    |XX|XX|
    |--+--|
    |  |XX|
    |  |XX|
     ----- ----- 
    |XX|XX|XX|XX|
    |XX|XX|XX|XX|
    |--+--+--+--| 
    |  |XX|XX|XX|
    |  |XX|XX|XX|
    -------------
    
    ...and, well, you get the idea. 
    
    
    8. The phases of the game
    -------------------------------------------------------------------- 
    
    It helps to think of a game of Lumines as several games, or phases,
    each with its own optimum strategy.
    
     A. The early phase. This encompasses the first few blocks, and the
        next few, if you're lucky enough to use them right. In this phase,
        you want to concentrate on both: 1) deleting all blocks of one color,
        which gets you pointage, or; 2) deleting all blocks on the screen
        entirely, which gets you even more mondo pointage. 
    
        If you're skilled enough to do both these things a few times in the
        first 10 or so blocks, you'll "start" the game with several tens
        of thousands worth of points.
    
        To help with that, see below, in the section on Puzzle Mode, the 
        solution to the "Clear All" puzzle. There's a technique to clear
        the screen of all blocks that will get your mind thinking right
        about how to do this. I've used similar techniques several times
        in the early parts of the game to build up lots of points before
        even starting the next phase, which is...
    
    
     B. The middle phase. This is the phase that lasts most of the game. If
        The early phase lasts maybe 30 seconds or a minute, the middle phase
        can last hours. In this phase, you want to put together everything
        you've learned playing Lumines, avoiding checkerboard, managing treys
        and oneys, and using time line tricks, combos and destoyers to pop
        your scores even higher.
    
     C. The last phase. This comes when the screen gets nearly full, and 
        is a different length for different people. Depending on how well
        you handle the frantic activity of making squares under pressure,
        this can last either a few seconds or a few minutes. Here, there's
        not a lot of tricks to offer; your instincts and luck with either
        pull you through for a few extra points, or you'll go down fast.
    
    
    9. The pause button
    -------------------------------------------------------------------- 
    
    Don't forget that if things start getting too crazy, you can always pause
    the game by hitting the start button, and study the screen.
    
    
    10. An aside
    -------------------------------------------------------------------- 
    
    Interesting thought: Compare Lumines to Tetris. 
    
    Tetris' complexity is actually fairly simple: 
      
      Rotate different shapes and drop them to clear lines.
    
    In Tetris, leftovers can be dealt with from above, assuming you don't
    cap a hole with another falling shape. The challenge comes from the 
    order in which the shapes fall, how fast they fall, and whether you
    can maneuver them to fill the spaces you've left yourself to deal 
    with. And, of course, whether your feeble attempts only allow you 
    to create holes you must cap later, requiring you to start over with 
    a new floor.
    
    Tetris is genius, and I don't mean to suggest otherwise. It's
    particularly cool because its game concept is so simple it can be
    grasped by very young children. Yet it's compelling enough to 
    hold the attention of people who society would consider adults,
    like me ;-). 
    
    Contrast that to Lumines, whose main complexity is:
    
      Rotate versions of the same shape and drop them to clear blocks.
    
    The differences, basically, are that there are a lot more ways you
    can trip yourself up by not managing leftovers; you can do what 
    the game asks you (create deletes) from the side, as well as the
    top, and there are some neat ways to be a hero with combos and 
    destroyers. It's a bit more complex a game than Tetris, and a small
    child couldn't grasp it quite as quickly as Tetris.
    
    Personally, I don't think you could have Lumines in a world that 
    didn't have Tetris first.
    
    I take that back: Of course you could. I guess what I mean is that you
    wouldn't be in a position to truly get caught up in a game of this 
    complexity if Tetris hadn't made falling blocks seem so simple.
    
    At first, I had a hard time deciding which I preferred, Tetris or
    Lumines. I came to the early conclusion that both games' creators 
    made magic with the technology and the player-receptiveness they 
    had available to them at the time. And I still stand by that
    statement.
    
       And yet......
    
    There are bigger--and more important--differences between the two
    games that kept gnawing at me, and made me ultimately decide 
    that one of them is better than the other--for _me_, at least. 
    
    One of those differences, in my mind, is that Lumines is more 
    "pure" than Tetris. By this, I mean that more of the gameplay in 
    Lumines revolves (pun intended) around using a single shape 
    (a block) in as many ways as possible, and in as many facets 
    of the game, as possible.
    
    In fact, the gameplay in Lumines is significantly enhanced by (not
    degraded by) the apparent simplicity of the recurring use of a single
    shape. The downside, if you'd call it that, and I wouldn't, is that
    the game is slightly more difficult to  understand at first, mainly 
    because it requires you to "see" negative shapes and create positive
    shapes within them. <-- wow, dude, that's deep!
    
    Think of it this way: The main symetry or "purity" of the original
    Tetris is that each block is made up of four squares, which is kinda
    cool in its own right. But beyond that, Tetris has been made 
    "difficult" or "balanced" by the very artificial, non-random order 
    in which the blocks fall. To oversimplify, you get, for example, far
    fewer blocks with four squares in a single line than you do any other 
    type of block. In fact, you can significantly change the level of 
    difficulty of Tetris by changing the artifically derived frequency
    that each block appears in the game--as anyone who has every coded 
    a Tetris game for a class project can tell you.
    
    Lumines uses 16 different blocks (actually six blocks in 16 unique
    orientations), and drops them with equal frequency, which is in no way
    artifically tweaked. Me, I appreciate touches like that.
    
    The other big difference comes in how the two games approach the 
    concept of increasing game difficulty in upper stages.
    
    To make Tetris' difficulty ramp up as the game levels up, the only 
    thing the designer changed is the speed at which the blocks fall. 
    This is meant to stop you at some point by the use of brute force.
    Meaning: even the greatest can only go so fast, and, at some point, 
    the speed becomes so great that you can't make your fingers keep
    up with your brain. It becomes, in the end, not a mental challege, 
    but a physical one.
    
    Frankly, to me, that's a cop out way to beat someone ;-) And that, 
    really, is where I become disenchanted with Tetris. 
    
    Simply: Tetris starts as a thinking-person's game, and ends as 
    a twitch game.
    
    Since I like thinking games more than twitch games, I lean toward 
    Lumines. Some may disagree, but hey, it's my FAQ ;-)
    
    Now consider Lumines (again)...
    
    Lumines, in contrast, uses blocks of a single shape, with only
    two colors, with a simple goal. To keep it from being _too_ simple,
    and, by extension, beatable, Tetsuya Mizuguchi introduced the time line
    and the destroyer block. This is the part of the game that takes you
    five minutes to grasp, instead of Tetris' two minutes.
    
    But the time line and the destroyers fundamentally change how a
    game designer can monkey with the complexity. Instead of simply
    ramping up how fast the blocks fall until you're crushed by the
    sheer weight of them, Lumines relies on the speed of the time line
    and the speed of the blocks--and different color-and-shape treatments
    for the squares used to build the blocks. The key, however, is that
    none of those changes ever becomes a ridiculous attempt to crush you;
    they can both be dealt with with different playing strategies.
    
    Ergo, a game of Lumines has ebbs and flows. When the timeline goes
    slow you can be Mr. Hero Destroyer Block Man. When it goes fast
    you can get rid of deletes like a madman. When the blocks change
    color you must force yourself to adjust how you "see" them--and 
    make that adjustment nimbly. You can almost "feel" the new skin sink
    into your mind and reactions when it changes. And when you find that
    "zone," you can play Lumines seemingly forever, to some ridiculously
    high scores (at least one person on the net claims to have maxed
    out the high score at 999,999--go, dog go!).
    
    In the end, to me, a high score in Lumines is more an effective 
    measure of how well you can think on your feet, interpret what 
    you see and react your playing strategies to a dynamic environment.
    In contrast, beyond a certain point, a high score in Tetris 
    is a measure of how quickly you can move your thumbs.
    
    I'm not sure I'm saying that one game is better than the other, 
    per se (both really are genius). But I am saying this: Since I prefer
    thinking-type puzzle games to twitch-type puzzle games, I like Lumines
    better.
    
    You? You may think differently. Ain't the world a wonderful place ;-)
    
    Lastly, in thinking of Lumines, it's amazing that no one thought of
    this game before. Lumines is one of those rare games that, as soon
    as you see it, seems so simple, logical and intuitive that you can't
    imagine that someone didn't do it before. Start to think about it
    and break it down, and you realize its complexity and depth, and you
    start to realize why it took so long to show up.
    
    Thanks Tetsuya!
    
    Got a thought comparing the two? I'd love to hear it. Mail to:
    trashmail@columbus.rr.com
    
    -----
    
    Here's another thought, from Alvyn Villanueva, a big Tetris Attack
    fan, who sees a few echos of that block-destroy game (mainly involving
    the timeline and combo system) in Lumines.
    
      I like your bit of sun-tzu-style-philosophy take on the arrangement 
      of blocks. Maybe I'm not the first to mention this to you, but I
      have an interesting thought that I'd like to incude in your "aside"
      section that compares Tetris and Lumines.
    
      Not only can you compare Lumines to Tetris, but you can also
      compare it to another favorite puzzle game of mine. Its called Tetris
      Attack / Pokemon Puzzle League / Puzzle de pon.
    
      If you havent played Tetris Attack, the premise in this game is
      to make a match of 3, like in Columns.  Instead of falling blocks,
      The field fills slowly with rising blocks of a set pattern. You have
      a cursor where you can switch any two blocks to make a match. The
      beauty of this game, is the ability to make new chains with the blocks
      that fall. There's an in-depth method to this called ChainBrain that
      even has its own strategy website devoted to it: www.tetrisattack.net
    
      Anyway what I want to compare with lumines is the comboing
      system. They share a similarity in the way you manipulate the pieces.
      In lumines you can arrange the blocks so that the falling blocks form
      new deletes.  The key is that not only can you chain vertically, but
      with horizontally adjacent blocks as well, so that the chain flows
      from left to right, top to bottom as the sweep line flows. This
      develops the same kind of thinking as ChainBrain, and I'm sure we'll be
      seeing videos of small japanese kids greating chains of ten blocks
      blazing across the screen. (Editor's note--I sure hope so!)
     
      How the two games contrast is in their approach. In Lumines you
      start with a blank canvas for you to project the complex chains you
      see in your mind. Whereas in Tetris Attack, you have a canvas
      already painted that you fix and rearrange into a complex chain of
      events.
    
      Well, I hoped I explained clearly enough so that you can see the
      similarities as i do. I have been playing and trying to improve on
      TetrisAttack for more than four years now, and just barely started on
      Lumines. I immediatley noticed thsi striking similarity in design and
      thought it was worthy of writing down and saving for my own thoughts. 
      Then I came across your FAQ along with the other 4 FAQs on
      gamefaqs.com, and yours was the only one that had insight, so I thought
      I'd share this with you as I'd think you would appreciate it. (Editor's
      note: I do! Thanks, Alvyn!)  Anyway, Tetris atack is a great and deep 
      game in itself and provides as a wonderful complement to Lumines and 
      the infamous Tetris.
    
    Thanks, Alvyn! I'm going to have to track down a version of TetrisAttack
    and give it a try. Other puzzle game freaks may want to do the same.
    
    ---
    
    Here's some more insight from Jewl, who is obviously pretty serious about
    Lumines--and more power to her. Those of you who aspire to max out the
    game at 999,999,999 would benefit from her take.
     
      Hey de ho.  Something of a puzzle game fan, lumines is my current
      favorite, up  there with kirby's avalanche, read your FAQ and thought
      I'd email with various tibits. (Editor's note: tried Klonoa? It rocks.)
    
      Totally agree with you on the tetris vs lumines thing, tetris
      blatently forces one out of the game with excessive speed, while
      lumine's challenges one intellectually, there's even that nice
      few-second pause at the top, before the block begins to fall, that
      allows one time to think, or allows the time-slider to delete blocks,
      or finish a combo. Once you've gone through all the skins one time,
      though (level 100 is the last skin, that stays for a few levels then
      begins cycling through them again) all the skins reappear with a
      considerable speed boost.  You still get varying time slider speeds
      (which can actually trip you up on some levels, if you're not careful
      with block management, or careful with how fast you drop the blocks,
      the stack of deletes just piles on the page, and since the they don't
      dissapear until the time-slider's completed it's pass, you may be
      forced into dying by a glowing stack of blocks), but the rate at which
      the block falls seems locked above a certain point.  It may be that
      every level is x2 or x1.5 times it's original rate, but I'm not
      certain of this, as I haven't timed it.  The THIRD time through all
      the skins however, the skins are in a different order, and it just
      goes really, really fast.  So, at a certain point, lumines starts
      doing the same thing tetris does...  only tetris does it around level
      15-30 (depending on version, speed and skill) while lumines does it
      around...  300+ something.  Also, lumines maintains the little delay
      before the drop up 'till the end..  so theoretically, it could be much
      longer.  :)
    
      However, by the time you're going through the skins for the third
      time, you really should be around 999,999,999, at which point the
      score stops going up (sucks, I know -and please note, this takes a few
      hours to get to-) so it's really a moot point anyway.
    
      Also, on managing the deuces, I actually find it far simpler simply to
      drop it on a "nub".  Especially if you switch it so the base colors
      match, it gives you a nice little thing of pairs. This can be done on
      really any edge, as long as you watch how it drops, and would free up
      a great deal of your screen, since you wouldn't need the little
      managing zone.
    
      As for the threys, if you keep your screen sufficiently clear, you can
      contiously drop them on nubs to get single color bonuses.  Pairs can
      just drop over the side, it'll clear itself, and more single color
      bonuses.  With careful block 'n drop management, I've gotten 8-15
      single color bonues in a row using this method (haven't exactly
      counted, just know it's a lot... get too caught up in the game to
      really keep my mind on counting them out (n_n);).  Keeping the blocks
      somewhat condensed seems to work best, expanding or contracting your
      little field of chaos as need be.
    
      As for time-attack, it's an awesome place to train for vs cpu mode. 
      Personally, although this probably depends on how you play, my towers
      of junk tend to flucuate, they pile up as I toss combos together, then
      I use the underlying bricks to add to my current combo, placing
      like-colored blocks near others, eventually working back down to bare
      surface, then spreading out long thin combos, or starting to pile up
      again.  Especially as the rough percentage of one color over another
      flucuates, I glance over what's coming up, then set massive combos of
      all silvers, or all oranges, depending on surrounding blocks and the
      predominant color, often switching between the two as the time slider
      clears out all of one and leaves remnants of the other behind.
    
      What's kinda sad is running out of things to do in the game.  As far
      as keeping interest up, getting time-attack records higher then the
      number of seconds is a fun exercise.  Current record for the 60-second
      time attack is 82, kinda doubt I'm going to beat that soon, but still
      working on getting the 600-second record above above 600, kinda stuck
      around the 570 area....
     
    
      Anyway, that's all for now.  Hope it helps.
    
    
    Actually, Jewl, it helps a lot. Maybe now I'll get as high as you--
    speaking of scores, of course. (I bow to your 570 score in 600 time attack
    You rule!) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    
    
    
    11. Time attack modes
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    These are simply timed modes where you must make as many deletes as 
    possible. There's only a few things to keep in mind here.
    
    60-second mode is probably my favorite in the entire game, because
    it's short enough that you don't have to worry about filling the
    whole screen with junk; there just isn't enough time. You can just 
    have fun throwing blocks together to make combos like crazy. Most
    of what you'll use here involves quick reflexes, dropping blocks
    early with the down arrow and occasionally--but not very often--
    waiting for the time-line.
    
    To get a good score, concentrate on combo-ing every single drop,
    and then combo-ing your combos.
    
    With the longer modes, it's actually possible to fill up the screen,
    especially in the center, which can cramp your style, so play will
    involve a bit more block management, and a bit less willy-nilly
    block-throwing.
    
    Time attack mode is a great way to learn the finer points of the game.
    Get good here, and your scores in the regular game with shoot to 
    the stratosphere.
    
    
    
    12. Puzzle mode and solutions
    -----------------------------
    
    Puzzle mode is cool, actually. It offers a new way to enjoy Lumines,
    and it's actually kind of neat that after you've spent a lot of time
    learning to make blocks, you must unlearn all that to make very specific
    shapes. 
    
    Once you Port-O-Let your block skills, though, you find that you can very
    quickly build on what you know. It's like speed learning.
    
    There are a couple things to keep in mind when it comes to puzzle mode.
    
    Generally, you build patterns in puzzle mode by waiting for the right
    blocks to come along, and then rotating them and dropping them in the
    right place. (There may be a faster way, but I can tell you that this
    way actually works.) 
    
    In practical terms, this means you have to manage the blocks you don't
    need for your pattern, and you manage them by creating a separate
    area for them, where you concentrate on making deletes.
    
    Depending on the shape required, I usually build from the left part of 
    the screen, and use the right part of the screen to get rid of the blocks
    I don't need. Play two games: Build on the left and destroy on the right.
    When you're getting rid of blocks you don't need, use all your skills: do
    it quickly and be efficient. Sometimes you'll have to wait a very long
    time for the blocks you need, and if you're sloppy about making deletes,
    you can lose the game by filling up the board or not using enough blocks
    for the key later blocks--or patterns of blocks--to show up.
    
    So, yeah, I guess you don't totally Port-O-Let your block skills. You
    just add more skills. 
    
    Lastly, do one thing before you begin each puzzle. Spend some time 
    studying the design you're supposed to make. It's on the right side 
    of the screen when you highlight the puzzle, before you press
    the "X" to begin the puzzle.
    
      Things to keep in mind  while doing puzzles:
    
        1)   Think wide: The key in puzzle mode is that you must create
             the shape (shown on the right side of the PSP screen) while
             also surrounding it with squares of the opposite color--or,
             no blocks at all. If you've built a white horse, having an 
             extra white block touching it somewhere is a very bad idea.
             As a matter of fact, it won't work at all.
     
        2)   Support your blocks: Just completing the shape isn't quite
             enough. If part of your shape hangs off in space and falls,
             then it won't count. In practice, that means you must support
             all blocks from underneath, meaning you have to think about
             how you surround the shape with opposite colors.
     
        3)   If you get in a jam, hit the pause button (the "start" button)
             and study the screen. From a designer standpoint, it's a shame
             you can do this, but from our standpoint, it rules. Pausing
             lets you take a moment to see: your current piece, the shape
             you must make, the upcoming three pieces, and how you're doing
             building the shape. Take all this in at your leisure, go get
             something to drink, take a nap, go to work, whatever.
    
        4)   Blocks appear in random fashion in many puzzles This means that
             waiting for the right blocks may take some time--and may not
             work at all the first time. Just try again. It will work.
    
        5)   If you can't get what you want in a puzzle that requires, say,
             a lot of the same piece, remember that you can always build the
             piece you need. If, for example, you need one a million of these...
    
             -----
            |XX|  |
            |XX|  |
            |--+--|
            |XX|XX|
            |XX|XX|
             ----- 
    
    
             ...you can build them as you go out of, say, this combo delete...
    
    
             -----
            |XX|  |
            |XX|  |
            |--+--|
            |  |  |
            |  |  |
             ----- 
             -----
            |  |  |
            |  |  |
            |--+--|
            |XX|XX|
            |XX|XX|
             ----- 
           
            ...There are other ways to build nearly all the pieces, but you get 
               idea. 
         
         6) Building pieces you need really comes in handy when you accidentally
            position a piece wrong and you'd otherwise have to quit and start the 
            puzzle over. In situations like this, it's best to pause the game, 
            study what you've built, and figure out what piece you'd need to add
            on top of your mis-placed piece to build what you really need.
            
            Remember, just because the designers coudn't make the pause button
            not work is no reason that you have to ignore it. If you get in a
            jam as the time ticks down, pause and study.
    
         
    
    To get the most fun out of the game, go ahead and try and solve each
    puzzle with the info above. It'll be vastly more fun. If, however, you want
    clear solutions, read on...
    
    
    Puzzle Solutions
    ----------------
    
    Many of these are not the only ways to solve the puzzles, but they are
    _a_ way..
    
     A. Small Cross
     _____   
    |  |  |
    |  |  |
    |--+--| 
    |  |XX| 
    |  |XX| 
     -----   
     _____  _____   
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |  |XX||  |  | 
    |  |XX||  |  | 
     -----  ----- 
    
     B. Small Square  
    
     _____  _____   
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
     -----  ----- 
     _____  _____   
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
     -----  ----- 
    
     C. Small Checker
    
     _____  _____   
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
     -----  ----- 
     _____  _____   
    |  |XX||  |  | 
    |  |XX||  |  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
     -----  ----- 
    
     D. Dog
    
     _____  _____   
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||XX|XX| 
    |XX|  ||XX|XX| 
     -----  ----- 
     _____  _____   
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
     -----  ----- 
    
     E."A"
    
     _____  _____   
    |  |XX||  |  | 
    |  |XX||  |  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
     -----  ----- 
     _____  _____   
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
     -----  ----- 
    
     F. Giraffe
    
            _____   
           |  |  | 
           |  |  | 
           |--+--| 
           |XX|XX| 
           |XX|XX| 
            ----- 
     _____  _____   
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
     -----  ----- 
     _____  _____   
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
     -----  ----- 
    
     G. Aligator
    
                   _____  
                  |  |  | 
                  |  |  | 
                  |--+--| 
                  |  |XX| 
                  |  |XX| 
                   -----   
     _____  _____  _____  _____   
    |XX|XX||XX|XX||XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX||XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--||--+--||--+--| 
    |  |  ||XX|  ||XX|  ||  |  | 
    |  |  ||XX|  ||XX|  ||  |  | 
     -----  -----  -----  -----   
    
     H. Create 4x4
    
    This one is tricky in that major parts of it can't actually
    exist. To be more specific, they can only exist for a very
    short time--that time when a delete is highlighted and you 
    can drop something else on it. Here's what I mean: It's very easy
    to create this:
    
     _____  _____   
    |XX|  ||  |XX|
    |XX|  ||  |XX|
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
     -----  -----    
     _____  _____   
    |XX|  ||  |XX|
    |XX|  ||  |XX|
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
     -----  -----    
    
    ...which deletes the center block to produce this...
    
     --        --
    |XX|      |XX|
    |XX|      |XX|
    +--+      +--+ 
    |XX|      |XX|
    |XX|      |XX|
    +--+      +--+ 
    |XX|      |XX|
    |XX|      |XX|
    |--+--  --+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
     -----  -----    
    
    Now, the tricky part. You have to throw the unused blocks to the 
    sides, and you have to be smart about it and produce deletes, since
    you'll be waiting a long time for the right pair of blocks to come
    up. Me, I had to wait quite a while, and I'm guessing you will, too.
    And since the same blocks don't drop in the same order every time, 
    you may have to create the above pattern a couple times on a couple
    replays before you get what you're waiting for. Hey, I said it'd be 
    easy; I never said it'd be instantaneous.
    
    You can see three blocks in advance, so when you see the two you 
    want,time dropping the first one so that it's just after the time 
    line passes the empty space, then drop these two, one after the 
    other, before the timeline comes back...
    
        _____   
       |  |  |
       |  |  |
       |--+--| 
       |XX|XX| 
       |XX|XX| 
        -----   
        _____   
       |XX|XX| 
       |XX|XX| 
       |--+--| 
       |XX|XX| 
       |XX|XX| 
        ----- 
     --       --
    |XX|     |XX|
    |XX|     |XX|
    +--+     +--+ 
    |XX|     |XX|
    |XX|     |XX|
    +--+     +--+ 
    |XX|     |XX|
    |XX|     |XX|
    |--+-- --+--| 
    |XX|XX|XX|XX| 
    |XX|XX|XX|XX| 
     -----  -----    
    
    ...and Gooooaaaaaaaallllll! If you don't get the pair you're waiting for,
    try again. It took me a few tries.
    
     I. Smile
    
    
     _____  _____   
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
     -----  ----- 
     _____  _____   
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
     -----  ----- 
     _____  _____   
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |  |XX||  |  | 
    |  |XX||  |  | 
     -----  ----- 
    
     J. Horse
    
    This one is interesting in that it shows you can't have blocks hanging
    out in space in puzzle mode. You need something to support your blocks,
    and you must surround the puzzle with other-colored blocks. The key 
    thing here is that you must support the horse's "muzzle" with blocks
    from underneath, and they must be a contrasting color to the horse
    itself.
    
    
               _____   
              |XX|  | 
              |XX|  | 
              |--+--| 
              |XX|XX| 
              |XX|XX| 
               ----- 
     _____  _____   _____  
    |  |  ||  |XX| |  |XX|
    |  |  ||  |XX| |  |XX|
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| |  |XX|
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| |  |XX|
     -----  -----   -----
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |XX|
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |XX|
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |XX|
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |XX|
     -----  -----   -----
    
    This will be an important element as puzzle mode continues.
    
     K. Arrow up
    
            _____   
           |  |  | 
    
           |  |  |
           |--+--| 
           |XX|  | 
           |XX|  | 
            ----- 
     _____  _____   _____  
    |  |XX||XX|XX| |  |  |
    |  |XX||XX|XX| |  |  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |XX|  ||XX|  | |XX|  |
    |XX|  ||XX|  | |XX|  |
     -----  -----   -----
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |  |  ||XX|  | |  |  |
    |  |  ||XX|  | |  |  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |XX|  ||XX|  | |XX|XX|
    |XX|  ||XX|  | |XX|XX|
     -----  -----   -----
    
    Note that the bottom left and right pieces are designed to
    do two things: 1) support the blocks above them (without
    creating a block that disappares, while also 2) making sure
    that no like-colored blocks are touching the puzzle shape.
    
     L. Arrow left
     _____  _____   
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |  |  ||  |XX| 
    |  |  ||  |XX| 
     -----  -----  
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |  |  ||XX|  | |  |  |
    |  |  ||XX|  | |  |  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |  |XX||XX|XX| |XX|XX|
    |  |XX||XX|XX| |XX|XX|
     -----  -----   -----
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |  |  ||XX|  | |  |  |
    |  |  ||XX|  | |  |  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |XX|  ||  |XX| |  |XX|
    |XX|  ||  |XX| |  |XX|
     -----  -----   -----
    
    
    Again, the bottom left and right blocks are designed to 
    do two things: 1) support the blocks above them (without
    creating a block that disappares, while also 2) making sure
    that no like-colored blocks are touching the puzzle shape.
    
     M. Arrow right
    
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |  |  ||  |  | |  |  |
    |  |  ||  |  | |  |  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |  |  ||  |XX| |  |  |
    |  |  ||  |XX| |  |  |
     -----  -----   -----
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |  |  ||  |  | |XX|  |
    |  |  ||  |  | |XX|  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |  |XX||XX|XX| |XX|XX|
    |  |XX||XX|XX| |XX|XX|
     -----  -----   -----
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |  |  ||  |  | |XX|  |
    |  |  ||  |  | |XX|  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |  |
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |  |
     -----  -----   -----
    
    Bottom left block designed to support and not delete at the same
    time.
    
    
     N. Arrow down
            _____    
           |  |  | 
           |  |  | 
           |--+--| 
           |  |XX| 
           |  |XX| 
            -----  
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |  |  ||  |XX| |  |  |
    |  |  ||  |XX| |  |  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |XX|
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |XX|
     -----  -----   -----
     _____  _____   _____  
    |  |  ||XX|XX| |XX|  |
    |  |  ||XX|XX| |XX|  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |XX|  ||  |XX| |  |  |
    |XX|  ||  |XX| |  |  |
     -----  -----   -----
    
     O. Infinity
    
     _____  _____  
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
     -----  -----  
     _____  _____   _____  
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| |XX|  |
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| |XX|  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |  |  ||XX|  | |XX|  |
    |  |  ||XX|  | |XX|  |
     -----  -----   -----
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |XX|  ||XX|XX| |XX|  |
    |XX|  ||XX|XX| |XX|  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |XX|  ||  |  | |  |  |
    |XX|  ||  |  | |  |  |
     -----  -----   -----
    
     P. Clear all
    
    As far as I can tell, this is the first puzzle that does not 
    use random blocks. This one drops blocks in a set sequence. This
    actually makes it easier to beat. Here's the deal...
    
    Drop the first blocks like this
    
        _____   
       |  |  |
       |  |  |
       |--+--| 
       |XX|XX| 
       |XX|XX| 
        -----   
          3
     _____  _____  
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||  |  | 
    |XX|  ||  |  | 
     -----  -----  
       1      2
    
    ..while dropping block No. 3 when the time line has just cleared
    the area, which will delete the center XX'd box to create this...
    
     _____  _____  
    |XX|  ||  |  | 
    |XX|  ||  |  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||  |  | 
    |XX|  ||  |  | 
     -----  -----  
    
    ..Now, while the six-block square above is still glowing, rotate
    and drop the next block like this _before_ the time line gets
    back. Timing is key. This may take a few tries, but learning
    the timing is a good skill to know...
    
        _____   
       |XX|  |
       |XX|  |
       |--+--| 
       |  |  | 
       |  |  | 
        -----   
     _____  _____  
    |XX|  ||  |  | 
    |XX|  ||  |  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||  |  | 
    |XX|  ||  |  | 
     -----  -----  
    
    ...the eight-block area including the bottom six white squares and
    the two white squares above it will delete, creating this...
    
     __           
    |XX| 
    |XX| 
    |--+--  --
    |XX|XX||  |
    |XX|XX||  |
     -----  -- 
    
    ...onto which you rotate and drop the next block, thusly...
    
        _____   
       |  |  |
       |  |  |
       |--+--| 
       |XX|  | 
       |XX|  | 
        -----   
     __           
    |XX| 
    |XX| 
    |--+--  --
    |XX|XX||  |
    |XX|XX||  |
     -----  -- 
    
    ...which creates this..
    
            __   
           |  |
           |  |
            --| 
           |  | 
           |  | 
            --   
        --  --
       |  ||  |
       |  ||  |
        --  -- 
    
    ..onto which you drop this...
     _____   
    |  |  |
    |  |  |
    |--+--| 
    |  |  | 
    |  |  | 
     -----   
    
            __   
           |  |
           |  |
            --| 
           |  | 
           |  | 
            --   
        --  --
       |  ||  |
       |  ||  |
        --  -- 
    
    ...which makes the clouds part, the birds sing, and everything
    disappear.
    
     Q. Big square
    
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |  |  ||  |  | |  |  |
    |  |  ||  |  | |  |  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| |XX|  |
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| |XX|  |
     -----  -----   -----
     _____  _____   _____  
    |XX|  ||  |  | |XX|  |
    |XX|  ||  |  | |XX|  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |XX|  ||XX|  | |XX|  |
    |XX|  ||XX|  | |XX|  |
     -----  -----   -----
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |XX|  ||  |  | |XX|  |
    |XX|  ||  |  | |XX|  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| |XX|  |
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| |XX|  |
     -----  -----   -----
    
     R. Big G
    
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |  |  ||  |  | |  |  |
    |  |  ||  |  | |  |  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| |XX|  |
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| |XX|  |
     -----  -----   -----
     _____  _____   _____  
    |XX|  ||  |  | |  |  |
    |XX|  ||  |  | |  |  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |XX|  ||XX|XX| |XX|  |
    |XX|  ||XX|XX| |XX|  |
     -----  -----   -----
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |XX|  ||  |  | |XX|  |
    |XX|  ||  |  | |XX|  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| |XX|  |
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| |XX|  |
     -----  -----   -----
    
     S. UFO
    
        _____  _____  _____ 
       |  |  ||XX|  ||  |  |
       |  |  ||XX|  ||  |  |
       |--+--||--+--||--+--|
       |XX|XX||XX|XX||XX|  |
       |XX|XX||XX|XX||XX|  |
        -----  -----  -----
     _____  _____  _____  _____   
    |XX|  ||XX|  ||XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |XX|  ||XX|  ||XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--||--+--||--+--| 
    |  |XX||  |XX||  |XX||  |  | 
    |  |XX||  |XX||  |XX||  |  | 
     -----  -----  -----  -----   
    
      Interesting aside on the UFO puzzle. Rctdaemon e-mailed to 
      note that this puzzle is different in the earlier Japanese 
      version. He says:
    
       I have the Japanese version of Lumines and I noticed that 
       there was a different puzzle where the UFO is in the US 
       Version in it called the Fylfot, which is a swastika.
    
       I’m not sure if you’d want to add this to your block faq 
       or not, but I figured I’d sent it anyways.
    
    Actually, I find this quite interesting, since the swastika has
    such symbolism for the U.S. and, presumably, other Allied powers
    during WWII. The swastika, however existed in lots of cultures 
    prior to Hitler hijacking it for his uses. Other cultures using 
    the symbol include American Indian culture, and, presumably, 
    Japanese culture as well. So, I read nothing into the change 
    for the American market. But I do find such changes as this quite
    interesting. (Kind of like how Hot Shots Golf is called something
    different for the Europe release; would love to know why...)
    
    
    
     T. Human
    
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |  |  ||  |  | |  |  |
    |  |  ||  |  | |  |  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |  |  ||XX|  | |  |  |
    |  |  ||XX|  | |  |  |
     -----  -----   -----
     _____  _____   _____  
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| |XX|  |
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| |XX|  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |  |  ||XX|  | |  |  |
    |  |  ||XX|  | |  |  |
     -----  -----   -----
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |XX|
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |XX|
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |XX|
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |XX|
     -----  -----   -----
    
     U. Snake
    
     _____  _____   _____  _____
    |  |  ||  |  | |  |XX||XX|  |  
    |  |  ||  |  | |  |XX||XX|  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--||--+--|
    |  |XX||XX|XX| |  |XX||  |  |
    |  |XX||XX|XX| |  |XX||  |  |
     -----  -----   -----  -----
     _____  _____   _____  _____
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |XX||  |XX|  
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |XX||  |XX|
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--||--+--|
    |XX|XX||  |XX| |XX|XX||  |XX|
    |XX|XX||  |XX| |XX|XX||  |XX|
     -----  -----   -----  -----
     
     V. Big Checker
    
    Waiting for all the deuces you need to make this happen
    really requires that you get rid of your trash quickly
    build left, make deletes right.
    
    This is a good puzzle to get used to building the pieces
    you need, as per tips Nos. 5 and 6 above.
    
    
            _____    
           |  |  |  
           |  |  |  
           |--+--|  
           |XX|  |  
           |XX|  |  
            -----   
     _____  _____   _____  
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |  |
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |XX|  ||XX|  | |XX|  |
    |XX|  ||XX|  | |XX|  |
     -----  -----   -----
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |  |
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |  |  ||XX|  | |  |XX|
    |  |  ||XX|  | |  |XX|
     -----  -----   -----
    
     W. Big Cross
    
     _____          _____ 
    |  |  |        |  |  |
    |  |  |        |  |  |
    |--+--|        |--+--|
    |XX|  |        |XX|  |
    |XX|  |        |XX|  |
     -----          -----
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |  |
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |  |  ||XX|  | |  |XX|
    |  |  ||XX|  | |  |XX|
     -----  -----   -----
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |  |
    |  |XX||  |XX| |  |  |
    |--+--||--+--| |--+--|
    |XX|  ||  |  | |XX|  |
    |XX|  ||  |  | |XX|  |
     -----  -----   -----
    
     X. Delete over 20 blocks
    
    This one just requires that you blow out 20 blocks. The trick is
    that they don't have to be in the square shown on the outline on the
    right side of the screen. They can be anywhere.
    
    So, if you've been playing Lumines long, you know exactly how to do
    that:
    
      1. Delete blocks like crazy until you get a destroyer block.
    
      2. Place the destroyer block in such a way that it can be easily
         completed, but don't complete it.
    
      3. Build a chain of like-colored squares that touch the soon-to-be-
         completed destroyer block that is at least 20 squares. The same-
         colored blocks must touch either horizontally or vertically
         (not diagonally).
    
      4. Drop the block that completes the destroyer, and when all your
         blocks light up, you'll clear the level.
    
    Piece of cake, right?
     
     Y. Zero to three
    
    This is the toughest of the first 26 puzzles, mainly because you really
    have to manage leftovers well. The idea of the puzzle is to first make a
    0, then make a 1, then a 2, then a 3. 
    
    You have to make each numeral separately. If you make the 2 before the 1,
    it won't work. The best way is to build at least two numerals at a time.
    Just make sure you complete them in order. If your two needs one bocks
    to finish, but your 1 still needs more, concentrate on the 1.
    
    You may also have to clear away your leftovers from when an earlier numeral
    clears, or you may have to build a new "floor" and build a new numeral 
    on top of it. Stopping and pausing and building the pieces you need from
    others with deletes, as per the tips above, will really come in handy here.
    
    This is all you need to know to get through this one. For completeness' 
    sake, here's the block layouts for each numeral.
    
    0.
     _____  _____   
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
     -----  -----  
     _____  _____   
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
     -----  -----  
     _____  _____   
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |XX|  ||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
     -----  -----  
    
    1.
     _____   
    |  |  | 
    |  |  | 
    |--+--| 
    |XX|XX| 
    |XX|XX| 
     -----   
     _____   
    |  |XX| 
    |  |XX| 
    |--+--| 
    |  |XX| 
    |  |XX| 
     -----   
     _____    
    |  |XX| 
    |  |XX| 
    |--+--| 
    |  |XX| 
    |  |XX| 
     -----   
    
    2.
     _____  _____   
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
     -----  -----  
     _____  _____   
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
     -----  -----  
     _____  _____   
    |XX|  ||  |  | 
    |XX|  ||  |  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
     -----  -----  
    
    3.
     _____  _____   
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
     -----  -----  
     _____  _____   
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
     -----  -----  
     _____  _____   
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
     -----  -----  
    
     Z. Large O
    
    Funny, I always thought the Large O was something else. ;-)
    
    This one is a bit tougher, but only because you can't put a 
    contrasting colored square in the middle of it, and if you don't
    do that, you run the risk of deleting out the center section.
    No fear, though. There's a trick that's pretty simple, really.
    Build the shape below on the right; delete unneeded boxes quickly
    on the left...
     _____     _____  
    |  |  |   |  |  | 
    |  |  |   |  |  | 
    |--+--|   |--+--| 
    |XX|XX|   |XX|XX| 
    |XX|XX|   |XX|XX| 
     -----     -----  
     _____     _____  
    |XX|  |   |  |XX| 
    |XX|  |   |  |XX| 
    |--+--|   |--+--| 
    |XX|  |   |  |XX| 
    |XX|  |   |  |XX| 
     -----     -----  
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |XX|  ||  |  ||XX|  |
    |XX|  ||  |  ||XX|  |
    |--+--||--+--||--+--|
    |XX|XX||XX|XX||XX|  |
    |XX|XX||XX|XX||XX|  |
     -----  -----  -----
    
    ...Then, wait for the right two blocks to come up, wait until just
    after the timeline comes by, and drop them both quickly, before the
    timeline returns, like this:
    
    
            _____ 
           |  |XX| 
           |  |XX| 
           |--+--| ...drop this one second, but before the time line
           |XX|  |    comes back.
           |XX|  | 
            -----  
    
        _____ 
       |XX|  |  
       |XX|  | drop this one first 
       |--+--| 
       |  |  | 
       |  |  | 
        -----  
     _____     _____  
    |  |  |   |  |  | 
    |  |  |   |  |  | 
    |--+--|   |--+--| 
    |XX|XX|   |XX|XX| 
    |XX|XX|   |XX|XX| 
     -----     -----  
     _____     _____  
    |XX|  |   |  |XX| 
    |XX|  |   |  |XX| 
    |--+--|   |--+--| 
    |XX|  |   |  |XX| 
    |XX|  |   |  |XX| 
     -----     -----  
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |XX|  ||  |  ||XX|  |
    |XX|  ||  |  ||XX|  |
    |--+--||--+--||--+--|
    |XX|XX||XX|XX||XX|  |
    |XX|XX||XX|XX||XX|  |
     -----  -----  -----
    
    ...to produce this...
    
        __     __ 
       |XX    |  |  
       |XX    |  |  
       |--|   |--| 
       |  |   |  | 
       |  |   |  | 
        --     --  
     _____ ___ _____  
    |  |  |      |  | 
    |  |  |   |  |  | 
    |--+--|---|--+--| 
    |XX|XX|XX |XX|XX| 
    |XX|XX|XX |XX|XX| 
     ----- --- -----  
     _____ ___ _____  
    |XX|  |   |  |XX| 
    |XX|  |   |  |XX| 
    |--+--|---|--+--| 
    |XX|  |   |  |XX| 
    |XX|  |   |  |XX| 
     ----- --- -----  
     _____  _____  _____ 
    |XX|  ||  |  ||XX|  |
    |XX|  ||  |  ||XX|  |
    |--+--||--+--||--+--|
    |XX|XX||XX|XX||XX|  |
    |XX|XX||XX|XX||XX|  |
     -----  -----  -----
    
    Note that since you're only really concerned about the bottom two and
    top right right squareas of the first dropper, and the bottom two
    and top left squares for the second dropper, you could also use two
    blocks like this, for example...
    
            _____ 
           |  |  | 
           |  |  | 
           |--+--| ...drop this one second, but before the time line
           |XX|  |    comes back.
           |XX|  | 
            -----  
    
        _____ 
       |  |  |  
       |  |  | drop this one first 
       |--+--| 
       |  |  | 
       |  |  | 
        -----  
    
    ...or a combination of this one, and the ones above. You get the idea.
    This makes it easier to look for the correct two blocks that you'll
    need to come in succession. You have more opportunities for it to 
    appear.
    
    No big deal, huh?
    
    Do the first 26 puzzles, and you get a skin.
    
    
      AA. 2x puzzles. 
    
    In these, you build the same thing as the first go-round, but you build it
    twice. That means managing leftovers heavily, using blocks you don't want
    effectively, and in many cases, perhaps building two shapes at once--making
    sure not to complete both at the same time. Time becomes much more of a 
    factor here.
    
    At least,that's the advice for every puzzle except the "Clear All x2", which 
    is the second puzzle, which, to my knowledge, has a set order of falling
    blocks. That will be dealt with two three paragraphs below this one.
    
    Also, for the rest of the 2x puzzles, consider a technique suggested by 
    Derek Kisman comes in handy for the 2x puzzles: Time your completion 
    of the puzzle just as the time line crosses only the rightmost column of 
    blocks or so. That way, you only have to rebuild part of the whole pattern.
    This makes things stupid simple. Thanks, Derek!
    
    Of course, it should be obvious that the hardest of the puzzles to do in 2x
    style would be the "One to Three." Expect to take a few tries on that one :-)
    Do all the puzzles in their 2x versions, and you're done. 
    Plus, you get another skin
    
    
       The Clear All x2 solution.
    
    Clear the first one as per "P" above, then get ready to clear all the blocks
    using a mere 13 total blocks. Follow along.
    
    ...Start by giving yourself a little room--say three open blocks--on the left
    side of the screen. then drop the first three blocks like this...
    
     _____  _____   _____ 
    |XX|  ||  |XX||XX|  |
    |XX|  ||  |XX||XX|  |
    |--+--||--+--||--+--|
    |XX|XX||XX|  ||  |XX|
    |XX|XX||XX|  ||  |XX|
    ----------------------
       1      2      3
    
    ...then drop Nos. 4 and 5 like this...
    
                           _____   
                          |  |  | 
                          |  |  | 
                          |--+--| 
                          |XX|  | 
                          |XX|  | 
                           -----   
                              5
        _____   
       |XX|XX| 
       |XX|XX| 
       |--+--| 
       |  |  | 
       |  |  | 
        -----   
          4
     _____  _____  _____ 
    |XX|  ||  |XX||XX|  |
    |XX|  ||  |XX||XX|  |
    |--+--||--+--||--+--|
    |XX|XX||XX|  ||  |XX|
    |XX|XX||XX|  ||  |XX|
    ----------------------
    
    ...which, in two passes of the timeline produces this....
    
    
               _____  _____  __ 
              |XX|XX||  |  ||  |
              |XX|XX||  |  ||  |
              |--+--||--+--||--|
              |  |  ||XX|XX||  |
              |  |  ||XX|XX||  |
    ----------------------------------
    
    ...into which you drop Nos. 6 and 7, thusly...
    
                       _____   
                      |XX|XX| 
                      |XX|XX| 
                      |--+--| 
                      |  |  | 
                      |  |  | 
                       -----   
                         7
               _____   
              |  |  | 
              |  |  | 
              |--+--| 
              |XX|XX| 
              |XX|XX| 
               -----   
                 6
    
               _____  _____  __ 
              |XX|XX||  |  ||  |
              |XX|XX||  |  ||  |
              |--+--||--+--||--|
              |  |  ||XX|XX||  |
              |  |  ||XX|XX||  |
    ----------------------------------
    
    
    The above series works with the timeline to produce 
    this...
    
    
    
                             __ 
                            |  |
                            |  |
                            |--|
                            |  |
                            |  |
    ----------------------------------
    
    ...onto which you drop Nos. 8 and 9, like this...
    
    
    
                 _____   
                |XX|XX| 
                |XX|XX| 
                |--+--| 
                |XX|XX| 
                |XX|XX| 
                 -----   
                   9
    
                       _____   
                      |XX|  |
                      |XX|  | 
                      |--+--| 
                      |XX|XX| 
                      |XX|XX| 
                       -----   
                         8   __ 
                            |  |
                            |  |
                            |--|
                            |  |
                            |  |
    ----------------------------------
    
    ...producing this....
    
                          _____ 
                         |  |  |  
                         |  |  |  
                         |--+--| 
                         |XX|  | 
                         |XX|  | 
    -----------------------------------
    
    ...Hold on, now, we're in the home stretch. Drop
    Nos. 10 and 11 and 12 like this..
                          _____   
                         |XX|  |
                         |XX|  | 
                         |--+--| 
                         |  |  |
                         |  |  | 
                          -----   
                            12
                    _____   
                   |XX|XX|
                   |XX|XX| 
                   |--+--| 
                   |XX|  |
                   |XX|  | 
                    -----   
                      11
                    _____   
                   |XX|  |
                   |XX|  | 
                   |--+--| 
                   |XX|XX|
                   |XX|XX| 
                    -----   
                      10  _____ 
                         |  |  |  
                         |  |  |  
                         |--+--| 
                         |XX|  | 
                         |XX|  | 
    -----------------------------------
    
    
    ...which produces this....
    
                    _____ _____   
                   |XX|XX|XX|  | 
                   |XX|XX|XX|  | 
                   |--+--|--+--|  
                   |XX|  |  |  | 
                   |XX|  |  |  | 
                    -----+-----   
                   |XX|  |  |  | 
                   |XX|  |  |  |  
                   |--+--|--+--| 
                   |XX|XX|XX|  | 
                   |XX|XX|XX|  | 
    -------------------------------------
    
    ...which in two passes of the timeline produces this...
    
    
                    --       --   
                   |XX|     |  | 
                   |XX|     |  | 
                   |--|     |--| 
                   |XX|     |  | 
                   |XX|     |  | 
    -------------------------------------
    
    ...into which you drop lucky No. 13 thusly...
                       _____   
                      |XX|  |
                      |XX|  | 
                      |--+--| 
                      |XX|  |
                      |XX|  | 
                       -----   
                         13   
    
                    --       --   
                   |XX|     |  | 
                   |XX|     |  | 
                   |--|     |--| 
                   |XX|     |  | 
                   |XX|     |  | 
    -------------------------------------
    
    
    ..and once again the clouds part, the birds sing,
    and everything right with the world rises to the 
    top like so much whipped cream in a root beer float.
    (sniff. that makes me so sentimental ;-)
    
    
    
    13. What's coming in future additions to this FAQ:
    -------------------------------------------------------------------- 
    
    
    I consider this Block FAQ pretty much complete at this point, but I may
    add a few new sections in time. perhaps something on scoring; perhaps 
    something on vs. mode. Who knows? ;-)
    
    E-mail questions to:
    
     trashmail@columbus.rr.com
    
    Usual disclaimers and no-reply warnings apply ;-)
    
    
    14. Thanks
    -------------------------------------------------------------------- 
    
    Thanks to the folks that made this game possible--particularly its 
    creator, Tetsuya Mizuguchi. I've played a pantload of games in my life, 
    but this is the first game I've played that has moved me to write 
    a FAQ--and that's saying something.
    
    Thanks Tetsuya!
    
    
    15. Postscript: The quest for the ultimate solution
        (which so far has proved difficult)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------- 
    
    When I first started playing with Lumines, I played with a lot of graph
    paper, and I thought I had stumbled on the ultimate solution. I foolishly
    called it "the elegant solution" and even included it in some early 
    versions of this faq. I then took it out after I realized the solution 
    was neither elegant nor solution ;-)
    
    However, I've gotten a few e-mails about other tries at an ultimate
    solution, so I thought I'd resurrect them here, mainly as a testament to
    the genius of the game and the fact that it has defied an ultimate solution.
    
    I give the credit to bringing all this back up to Casey Whitelaw, who has
    a most excellent blog at www.caseyporn.com. He actually wrote a computer
    program to find "loops" of blocks, something that he explains better than
    me. If you're a student of Lumines, or even a fan, you'd do well to check
    out his blog entries on the subject. Here's what he wrote:
    
       I really enjoyed your FAQ on Lumines, thanks very much. It took me a
       while to find it, and I thought I might have to write it myself, so I
       was very glad when I read it!
    
       The most interesting thing for me was the solution you proposed for
       dealing with deuces in a loop seperately to the other pieces, nice
       thinking. Anyway, I wrote a program to find loops like that for all
       the pieces, turns out that there's space for a loop for each
       block-type. I wrote it up on a web page:
       http://caseyporn.com/blog/archives/000819.html if you're curious.
    
       Cheers,
    
       Casey
    
    Actually, I'm really impressed with the effort there, Casey. You came
    up with a programme that is very similar to my earlier one, but 
    probably more optimized with fewer wasted moves.
    
    I'm including the information below, cribbed from my earlier FAQ, as 
    an illustration of one possible "solution." As it turned out, this 
    one was actually worked--for a short while. It was fairly stable up 
    to about 25,000, depending on what kind of destroyers you got and 
    how careful you were at managing the timeline--which is the real 
    key to making this work. The end result was terribly boring, too, 
    and took as much work as actually dealing with chaos the way 
    the game intended.
    
    As I say, I include it here for the interest of the very hardcore.
    Funny. Now looking back, it sure seems breathless, but I leave it 
    in its original glory, with all its faults. I guess I really did 
    think I had found the solution. 
    
    
    
      The Elegant Solution 
      -----------------------------
    It took me a while, but I finally figured out the way to "beat"
    Lumines. 
    
    It's boring as heck, and it doesn't have any of the great
    saves and hero-block making of a "real" game,  but it works really
    well. Your score tends to climb more slowly than a real game, since
    you're not making all those coolio combos, but, then, you can always
    go back to that after you use The Elegant Solution to unlock
    everything. And I guess it is challenging to follow the pattern
    strictly and time your drops behind the time line and all that.
    But I'm getting ahead of myself here.
    
    Oh, what's that? You want me to stop wasting your time and get on 
    with it? Fair enough :-)  First, the overview, then the specifics, 
    then a few tips.
    
    
       A. Elegant Solution Overview
     
      Bascially, you want to create this pattern across the bottom of the
      grid...
    
    
    
               ----------- -----------     -----------
              |XX|XX|XX|XX|  |  |  |  |   |XX|  |  |XX| 
      Any     |XX|XX|XX|XX|  |  |  |  |   |XX|  |  |XX| 
     one of   |--+--+--+--|--+--+--+--|   |--+--+--+--| 
     three    |XX|  |  |XX|  |XX|XX|  |   |  |XX|XX|  | 
     blocks   |XX|  |  |XX|  |XX|XX|  |   |  |XX|XX|  | 
     shown     ----------- -----------     -----------
     below    |XX|  |  |XX|  |XX|XX|  |   |  |XX|XX|  | 
     under    |XX|  |  |XX|  |XX|XX|  |   |  |XX|XX|  | 
     number   |--+--+--+--|--+--+--+--|   |--+--+--+--| 
      "1"     |XX|XX|XX|XX|  |  |  |  |   |XX|  |  |XX| 
              |XX|XX|XX|XX|  |  |  |  |   |XX|  |  |XX|
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    |  1  | 2 |     3     |     4     | 5 |     6     |
    |     |   |           |           |   |           |
    |     |   |           |           |   |           |
    ...using just the shapes below (except in the case of No. 1,when any one
       of three shapes can be used)...
    |     |   |           |           |   |           |
    |     |   |           |           |   |           |
    |  1  | 2 |     3     |     4     | 5 |     6     |
     -----       -----        -----           -----    
    |  |  |     |XX|  |      |  |XX|         |XX|  |  
    |  |  |     |XX|  |      |  |XX|         |XX|  |  
    |--+--|     |--+--|      |--+--|         |--+--|  
    |  |  |     |XX|XX|      |  |  |         |  |XX| 
    |  |  |     |XX|XX|      |  |  |         |  |XX| 
     -----       -----        -----           -----    
     
     OR
       |
      \ /
    
     -----
    |XX|XX|
    |XX|XX|
    |--+--|
    |XX|XX|
    |XX|XX|
     ----- 
    
     OR
       |
      \ /
    
     -----
    |  |  |
    |  |  |
    |--+--|
    |XX|XX|
    |XX|XX|
     ----- 
    
      ...Then, in square "1" you use any of the three shapes under "1" to
      make a delete every time you drop (or,in the case of a twoey, every
      other time you drop), and...
    
      ...in the remaining three 4x4 blocks (hereafter called "uber-blocks"),
      you use only the shape that built it to continue building it as 
      deletes are created. The way you drop each block throughout the game
      (shown in detail below) isn't exactly intuitive, at least not at 
      first, but the required drops are easy enough to pick up the first
      few million times you do it--and you'll be doing it a lot ;-).
    
      There are two other things to keep in mind: 1) You must be extremely
      careful about when you drop the block--the time line must have just
      passed the area; and 2) you can't screw up the drop pattern even once
      for however long you play--even being a quarter-turn off will hose
      you majorly, and you will be severly bummed.
    
      Do it right,though, and you can play as long as you want, building 
      your score as high as you want.
    
      I haven't tested this beyond about 25,000 points, because I got so
      excited that I stopped to write it down in this FAQ. I'd be interested
      to hear from folks who attempt to try this solution to bigger 
      scores: trashmail@columbus.rr.com.
    
      Pretty elegant, huh? Create/destroy/rebuild uber-blocks, all using
      only the one type of block that made them. Lumines becomes one giant
      circle-of-life thing of beatific wonder (and, unfortunately, much
      less mystery).
    
    
        B. Elegant Solution specifics
     
    
    Clearing space No. 1
    
    The technique for perpetually clearing the first two-square-wide
    space is pretty obvious if you've played for more than about 20 
    minutes. But for the sake of completeness, I'll spell it out in
    detail.
    
    A oney clears itself, thusly:
    
     -----
    |  |  |
    |  |  |
    |--+--|
    |  |  |
    |  |  |
     ----- 
    
    A quad clears itself, thusly:
    
     -----
    |XX|XX|
    |XX|XX|
    |--+--|
    |XX|XX|
    |XX|XX|
     ----- 
    
    A twoey clears itself when you stack it on top of a oney or quad in the 
    proper orientation. Or, when two come in a row, stacked like this:
    
     -----            -----
    |  |  |          |XX|XX|
    |  |  |          |XX|XX|
    |--+--|          |--+--|
    |XX|XX|          |  |  |
    |XX|XX|  ..or    |  |  |
     -----    this..  -----
     -----            -----
    |XX|XX|          |  |  |
    |XX|XX|          |  |  |
    |--+--|          |--+--|
    |  |  |          |XX|XX|
    |  |  |          |XX|XX|
     -----            -----
    
    The first space, then, is the easy-to-learn one, though the rest aren't that
    hard, really, once you get the hang of them.
    
    
     Clearing the uber-block in space No. 3
    
    First, you build it like this:
    
     -----
    |XX|XX|
    |XX|XX|
    |--+--|
    |XX|  |
    |XX|  |
     -----
            _____   
           |XX|XX| 
           |XX|XX| 
           |--+--| 
           |  |XX| 
           |  |XX| 
            ----- 
     _____  _____   
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
     -----  ----- 
    
    
    ...which produces this...
    
     _____  _____   
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
     -----  ----- 
     _____  _____   
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
    ---------------
    
    ...which deletes the center block to produce this...
    
     __        __   
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |--+      +--| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
     --        -- 
     _____  _____   
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
    ---------------
    
    ...which deletes the bottom eight squares to produce this...
    
     __        __   
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |--+      +--| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    ---------------
    
    Now, the next time you get the correct block, add it like this...
    
         _____   
        |  |XX|
        |  |XX|
        |--+--| 
        |XX|XX| 
        |XX|XX| 
         -----
    
     __        __   
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |--+      +--| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    ---------------
    
    
    ...which produces this...
    
    
     _____  _____   
    |XX|  ||XX|XX| 
    |XX|  ||XX|XX| 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
    |XX|XX||XX|XX| 
    ---------------
    
    ...which deletes the block on the right to produce this...
    
    
     _____   
    |XX|  |
    |XX|  |
    |--+--| 
    |XX|XX| 
    |XX|XX| 
    ---------------
    
    ...which astute observers will note is the first building block
    required to start building the uber-block all over again. So, as
    it turns out, this block is one big ol' circle of life thing!
    It grows, is torn down and grows again-all from using one single 
    kind of block; in this case, a trey. 
    
    Isn't it just a thing of beauty?
    
    Oh. Sorry. I seem to be getting carried away. So. On to the next
    uber-block, the one in slot No. 4
    
    
    
      Clearing the uber-block in space No. 4
    
    This uber-block is simply a mirror image of the first one, so the 
    drill goes as follows. First, build it like this...
    
    
     -----
    |  |  |
    |  |  |
    |--+--|
    |  |XX|
    |  |XX|
     -----
            _____   
           |  |  | 
           |  |  | 
           |--+--| 
           |XX|  | 
           |XX|  | 
            ----- 
     _____  _____   
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
     -----  ----- 
    
    
    ...which produces this...
    
     _____  _____   
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
     -----  ----- 
     _____  _____   
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    ---------------
    
    ...which deletes the center block to produce this...
    
     --        --   
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
    |--+      +--| 
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
     --        -- 
     _____  _____   
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    ---------------
    
    ...which deletes the bottom eight squares to produce this...
    
     --        --   
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
    |--+      +--| 
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
    ---------------
    
    Now, the next time you get the correct block, add it like this...
    
         _____   
        |XX|  |
        |XX|  |
        |--+--| 
        |  |  | 
        |  |  | 
         -----
    
     --        --   
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
    |--+      +--| 
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
    ---------------
    
    
    ...which produces this...
    
    
     -----  -----   
    |  |XX||  |  | 
    |  |XX||  |  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    ---------------
    
    ...which deletes the block on the right to produce this...
    
    
     _____   
    |  |XX|
    |  |XX|
    |--+--| 
    |  |  | 
    |  |  | 
    ---------------
    
    ...which is, as above, the first building block to start
    the repeating circle of life that is this uber-blocks wonderful
    future. Again: beauty, no?
    
    Next up:
    
    
      Clearing the uber-block in space No. 6
    
    
    I now present the one that gave me the toughest time trying to
    figure out, the uber-block built of deuces...
    
    First, you build it like this....
    
     -----
    |XX|  |
    |XX|  |
    |--+--|
    |  |XX|
    |  |XX|
     -----
            -----   
           |  |XX| 
           |  |XX| 
           |--+--| 
           |XX|  | 
           |XX|  | 
            ----- 
     -----  -----   
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |  |  ||  |XX| 
    |  |  ||  |XX| 
    --------------- 
    
    ...which creates this...
    
     -----  -----   
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
     -----  ----- 
     -----  -----   
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
    |  |XX||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
     ------------ 
    
    ..which deletes the block in the middle to create this...
    
     --        --   
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |--+      +--| 
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
     --        -- 
     -----  -----   
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |  |  ||  |  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
    |XX|  ||  |XX| 
     ------------ 
    
    ...which deletes the block in the center bottom to create this...
    
    
     --        --   
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |--+      +--| 
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
     --        -- 
     --        --   
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
    |--+      +--| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
     ------------- 
    
    ...then, when the next deuce comes up, drop it in like this...
    
         _____   
        |  |XX|
        |  |XX|
        |--+--| 
        |XX|  | 
        |XX|  | 
         -----
    
     --        --   
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |--+      +--| 
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
     --        -- 
     --        --   
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
    |--+      +--| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
     ------------- 
    
    ...which creates this....
    
    
     --        --   
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |--+      +--| 
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
     --        -- 
     -----  -----   
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
     ------------ 
    
    ...into which you drop your next deuce, thusly...
    
         _____   
        |XX|  |
        |XX|  |
        |--+--| 
        |  |XX| 
        |  |XX| 
         -----
     --        --   
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |XX|      |XX| 
    |--+      +--| 
    |  |      |  | 
    |  |      |  | 
     --        -- 
     -----  -----   
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
     ------------ 
    
    ...which produces this...
    
     -----  -----   
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
     -----  ----- 
     -----  -----   
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |  |  ||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
     ------------ 
    
    ...which (hold on, end is coming) deletes the block in the middle 
    left, to produce this...
    
    
            -----   
           |  |XX| 
           |  |XX| 
           |--+--| 
           |XX|  | 
           |XX|  | 
            ----- 
     -----  -----   
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |XX|XX||XX|  | 
    |--+--||--+--| 
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
    |XX|XX||  |XX| 
     ------------ 
    
    ...which deletes the block on the lower left to produce this...
    
            -----   
           |  |XX| 
           |  |XX| 
           |--+--| 
           |XX|  | 
           |XX|  | 
            ----- 
            -----   
           |XX|  | 
           |XX|  | 
           |--+--| 
           |  |XX| 
           |  |XX| 
     ------------ 
    
    Which astute observers will realize is the right two blocks that 
    allow you to start building the uber-block again.
    
    So, you see we've constructed here a logical way to use every block
    that comes down the pipe, without allowing everything to go all
    crazy and random. Lets all say it together...
    
    HUZZAH!
    
    
     A few tips about The Elegant Solution
    
    
    As I said, I haven't tested this beyond about 25,000 points, so I'd 
    be interested to hear from folks who attempt to try this solution 
    in an attempt to reach bigger scores: trashmail@columbus.rr.com. 
    It's conceivable that there is some gameplay dynamic at work on the
    higher levels that may make this not work beyond a certain point.
    
    With that caveat, here are a few tips to keep in mind if you try
    this.
    
      A. Timing is everything. Some drops you'll want to do just before
         the time line arrives, some you'll want to do just after. You'll
         get a feel from what you need to do by trying this for a few
         minutes. In my experience, bad timing is one of two ways this
         tends to get screwed up. This is especially true when the time
         line is only halfway through your creation when it you create
         your delete, and only the stuff to the right of the line
         disappears.
    
      B. The other easy way to screw this up? Deviate from the pattern.
         Do it and weep. I know I did.
       
      C. So far, destroyer squares don't seem to upset this; in my
         early experience they have only taken out the stuff that was
         going out anyway.
     
      D. Make sure a block has touched down before you start moving the
         next one. It's too easy to get hypnotised while you do this, and,
         wanting to get on with things, start moving the next block too 
         soon. What happens is you move your last block = waaaaahhhhh.
    
      E. It's possible I've overlooked something with the game dynamic
         at higher levels. If you find something and want to share, please
         let me know: trashmail@columbus.rr.com.
    
      F. Interesting note: The thing that makes this work is the two 
         uber-blocks that are touching. Without them touching, there 
         wouldn't be enough space on the grid to make this happen. Because
         they're contrasting colors, a delete on one doesn't "carry
         over" to the other. If any two uber-blocks had same-colored
         sides, deletes in one could blow holes in the other, and 
         vice-versa.
    
    Lastly, for those who see The Elegant Solution as something that killed
    a great puzzle game, I'm truly sorry. If it does, indeed, hold up through 
    higher levels, then it would be all too methodical (still difficult, but
    methodical) to achieve a full clear.
    
    ---end quoted material---
    
    Of course, this turned out to be not so elegant, not so solution. But I 
    include it here so that those in the Holy Grail quest for the ultimate
    soltion at least have the benefit of Casey and my attempts. Anyone who
    finds such a solution, I'd love to hear of it.
    
    I e-mailed Casey with my kudos, noting that I've come to the conclusion
    that this type of solution is a main reason why the creators may have
    introduced the timeline and the destroyer block, and here is his reply....
    
      I gotta say, the three-wide loop for checkerboard pieces surprised 
      me too, who would have thought? The rest of the loops are optimal,
      I'm pretty sure, but there are a lot of variations that might be 
      easier/harder to remember, or more/less stable with regard to "early
      dropping" (before sweeps). 
    
      I'm curious too about whether the creators thought about this at all. 
      I'm going to see if I can dig up a contact address and ask them some 
      questions, you never know my luck! Honestly I don't think they 
      expected this - there are other, much better reasons for having a 
      timeline and destroyer-blocks for normal gameplay, not fixing this 
      "problem". Another thing I realised is that playing in this way 
      will keep your score very low, no cool combo action.
    
    Thanks again, Casey. I've become a regular reader of your blog...
    
    
    
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