Lost In Translation/Columns

From ExoticA
Out Run (Arcade version)
Out Run (Sinclair ZX Spectrum version)

This page is a stub for arcade games that are part of the Lost In Translation series using information based on MAME (version 0.113u2).
For an example of preferred content and layout please refer to Out Run or The Ninja Warriors.

Columns marquee.
No screen shot.
Columns control panel.
Manufacturer Sega
Released 1990
8-way Joystick
1 Button(s)
Main CPU 68000 (@ 8.949 MHz)
Sound CPU Mono
YM3438 (@ 7.670 MHz)
SN76496 (@ 3.580 MHz)
Raster (Horizontal)
320 x 224 pixels
60.00 Hz
2,048 Palette colours
Screens 1
ROM Info 2 ROMs
262,144 bytes (256.00 KiB)
MAME ID columns · columnsj · columnsu

About The Game

Columns is Sega's answer to the legendary "Tetris", the rules of Columns are simple : a column of 3 square pieces - stacked one on top of the other - drops from the top of the screen into the play area. As with 'Tetris', the column puzzle pieces can be moved left and right as they fall, but unlike "Tetris", they cannot be rotated. Instead, pressing a button will cause the order of the colored blocks in a column to shift by one position.

The object of the game is to place columns at the bottom of the pit in such a way that lines of 3 or more like-colored blocks are created (either horizontally, vertically or diagonally). When this happens, these blocks disappear, and any blocks resting upon them immediately fall onto the recently vacated space. This will often cause additional lines to be arranged, producing a 'cascade' effect. The key to a long game (and, ultimately, a high score) is to set up these cascades wherever possible.

While not achieving the same legendary status as the mighty "Tetris" (something that no puzzle game can realistically hope to achieve), the 'Columns' series has managed to garner a dedicated following of its own and is a respected example of the genre.


Released in June 1990.


The US version is slightly different :

  • 'Winners Don't Use Drugs' screen added.
  • Sega logo screen during the attract mode added.
  • Cocktail mode dip-switch.
  • Different music.


  1. Columns (1990)
  2. Columns II - The Voyage Through Time (1990)
  3. Columns III - Revenge of Columns (1993)
  4. Stack Columns (1994)
  5. Super Columns (1995, Sega Game Gear)
  6. Columns '97 (1997)
  7. Hanagumi Taisen Columns - Sakura Wars (1998)
  8. Hanagumi Taisen Columns 2 (2000, Sega Dreamcast)
  9. Columns Crown (2002, Nintendo Game Boy Advance)

Cabinet and Artwork


Sega Mega Drive (1990)
Sega Game Gear (1990)
Sega Master System (1990)
NEC PC-Engine (1991)
Sega Mega Drive (1994, "MegaGames 3in1 Vol 1")
Sega Mega Drive (1995, "6-PAK")
Sega Saturn (1997, "Columns Arcade Collection")
Nintendo Super Famicom (1999)
Sony PlayStation 2 (2003, "Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol.7")
Sony PlayStation 2 (2006, "Genesis Collection")
Sony PSP (2006, "Genesis Collection")
FM Towns Marty
MSX2 (1990)
Sharp X68000 (1991)
PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (1999, "Sega Smash Pack")

Soundtrack Releases

Album Name Catalogue No. Released Publisher Comments
COLUMNS PCCB-00057[1] 1991-03-21 Pony Canyon/Scitron CD version.
Beep! Sega Megadrive Best Selection PSCX-1018[2] 1991-04-25 DATAM Polystar CD version.


The contents of this page are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
The sources used include MAME (version 0.113u2) and history.dat (revision 1.28 - 2008-10-18).
Please see http://www.arcade-history.com for credits.