Games with Braille – not just for learning: Computer game Tetris for the Braille display

Contribution by Reiner Delgado DBSV Employee

I would say: Tetris is intangible cultural heritage. Tetris is already a vocabulary when it comes to precisely fitting objects into a limited space. For 10 years now, Tetris has also been available for the Braille display and is called Dotris there. Unlike the original computer game, objects here come on the Braille display from the right and move piece by piece to the left. These objects can have different shapes made up of four dots like the Braille characters: L g r p 4 t 8 While the objects move towards the left end of the line, you can move them up or down or rotate them with different keys.

The aim is to fill the line with the objects as seamlessly as possible. When a column on the line, that is points 1 2 3 7 or 4 5 6 8 of a cell, is completely filled, this column disappears and the rest moves to the left. So if you stack the objects skillfully, the line will never be completely full. If you don’t manage, it will eventually be filled towards the right, albeit with many gaps, and you will lose, just like in regular Tetris.

The game was programmed by Nick Adamson from Wales. You can download the necessary files here: If you are not using the Dolphin screen reader HAL, you must first download the Braill-Zeilen-Treiber SAM from Dolphin and ensure in the configuration menu of SAM that your own Braille display is being controlled. Then you can install Dotris, exit other screen readers, and start Dotris. Everything necessary for the game will then be displayed on the Braille display and also announced in English. Nick Adamson appreciates a donation if you use Dotris, to CleerVision, who make tactile children’s books in London or for the children’s books of the DBSV.

Upon first starting the game, you must first determine which keys of the used Braille display should be assigned to which function: moving the current object up and down as well as rotating and immediately shifting the object all the way to the left. I think it’s really cool that you can actually play Tetris on the Braille display!