From Sega Retro

Revision as of 14:23, 8 March 2012 by Andlabs (Talk | contribs)


Columns SystemC2Title.png
Publisher: Sega, Sharp X68000 SystemSoft, TurbografX-16/PC Engine Laser Soft MSXFM Towns/FM Towns Marty Telenet Japan
System(s): Sega System C, Sega Mega Drive, Sega Game Gear, Sega Master System, MSX, PC Engine, Sharp X68000, FM Towns, Super Famicom
ROM size: Sega Mega DriveSega Master System 128kB Sega Game Gear 32kB TurbografX-16/PC Engine SNES 512kB
Genre: Puzzle

Release Date RRP Code
Arcade JP 1990 ¥?  ?
Sega Mega Drive JP 1990-06-30 ¥5,500 G-4035
Sega Mega Drive JP (Game Tokoshan) 1991 ¥?  ?
Sega Mega Drive US 1990 $?  ?
Sega Mega Drive US (Sega Channel) 1992 $? 1701
Sega Mega Drive EU 1990 £?  ?
Sega Master System US 1990 $? 5120
Sega Master System EU 1990-12 £24.99 5120
Sega Master System AU 1990 $? 5120
Sega Master System KR 199x ₩? GB-1001
Sega Game Gear JP 1990-10-06 ¥2,900 G-3101
Sega Game Gear JP (Meisaku) 1993-07-23 ¥? G-3104
Sega Game Gear US 1990 $? 2201
Sega Game Gear EU 1990 £19.99  ?
Sega Game Gear BR 199x $?  ?
MSX JP 1990 ¥7,200  ?
Sharp X68000 JP 1991 ¥?  ?
TurbografX-16/PC Engine JP 1991 ¥?  ?

Columns (コラムス) is a puzzle game first created in 1989 by Jay Geertsen of Hewlett-Packard on the HP/UX with X Window System, with ports to DOS, Macintosh. Windows, and the Atari ST. In 1990, Geertsen sold the rights to Sega, where it was ported to the System C arcade board. This version was successful enough to be ported to various Sega and non-Sega hardware (including being both a Game Gear launch title and pack-in) and launched a series of sequels, that, despite bottomed-out popularity, continues to receive attention today.

Version Differences

Each console version of Columns adds several game modes:

  • 2-player Competitive play: The original arcade version does have two players on screen at once, but this is not a competitive mode as players can join and leave at will.
  • Flash Columns: the player must mine their way through a set number of lines to get to a flashing jewel at the bottom. The faster the player accomplishes this, the higher his rank.

Furthermore, each individual port has its own features:

  • Master System/Game Gear: In single-player mode, the jewels can be changed to fruit, squares, dice, or card suits.
  • Mega Drive: Two game modes were added, accessible from the Menu option on the title screen menu. These modes can be applied to either the Original Game or Flash Columns.
    • Time Trial: Either Original Game or Flash Columns may be time-limited to three minutes.
    • Doubles: Either Original Game or Flash Columns may have two players competing on the same well instead of different wells
  • PC Engine: "Stone" and "Freeze" competitive modes (TODO)
  • Super Famicom: Media Factory also produced a SNES port of Columns under that name in 1999, also released exclusively in Japan — this time through issues of the Japanese version of Nintendo Power. This version includes a competitive play option, a tutorial, alternate jewel shapes, and an option to have jewels drop faster than usual from the get-go.


<meta itemprop="ratingValue" content="Expression error: Unexpected < operator.">

{{{{{icon}}}|L}} Expression error: Unexpected < operator. Sega Retro Average 
Based on 7 reviews
Publication Score Source
Sega Game Gear 68 №48
Arcade 87 №107
Sega Mega Drive 90
Sega Master System 84 №110
Sega Mega Drive 88
Sega Mega Drive 70 Sega Master System 90
Sega Master System 89
Sega Mega Drive 74 Sega Master System 85
Sega Mega Drive 77 Sega Master System 63

Mega Drive Version

Physical Scans

System C Version

System C, JP
Columns Arcade JP Flyer.jpg
System C, JP (instructions card)
Columns instructions.jpg

Mega Drive Version

Mega Drive, US
Columns md us cover.jpg
Columns md us cart.jpg
Mega Drive, US (Sega Classic)
Columns MD US Box SegaClassic.jpg
Mega Drive, EU
Columns md eu cover.jpg
Mega Drive, JP
Columns md jp cover.jpg
Columns MD JP Cart.jpg

Master System Version

Master System, US
Columns sms us cover.jpg
Columns sms us cart.jpg
Master System, EU
Columns sms eu cover.jpg
Master System, Australia
Columns SMS AU cover.jpg
Master System, South Korea
Columns SMS KR Box.jpg

Game Gear Version

Game Gear, US
Columns GG US backcover.jpgNospine.pngColumns gg us cover.jpg
Columns gg us cart.jpg
Game Gear, EU
Columns gg eu cover.jpg
Columns gg eu cart.jpg
Game Gear, JP
Columns gg jp cover.jpg
Columns gg jp cart.jpg
Game Gear, JP (Meisaku Collection)
Columns GG JP Box Front Meisaku.jpg
Game Gear, BR

Columns GG BR cart.jpg

MSX Version

Columns MSX JP Box Back.jpgColumns MSX JP Box Front.jpg

Sharp X68000 Version

Sharp X68000, JP
Columns X68000 JP Box Front.jpg

TurboGrafx-16 Version

TurboGrafx-16, JP
<div style="margin:auto; max-width:Expression error: Unexpected < operator.px"> 320x80px


External Links

Games in the Columns Series
Columns (1990) | Columns II: The Voyage Through Time (1990) | Columns III: Revenge of Columns (1993) | Stack Columns (1994) | Super Columns (1995) | Columns '97 (1996) | Hanagumi Taisen Columns (1997) | Columns Arcade Collection (1997) | Columns GB: Tezuka Osamu Characters (1999) | Hanagumi Taisen Columns 2 (2000) | Columns Crown (2001) | Columns Deluxe (2008) | Columns Jewel (200x)
Columns Related Media
Albums Columns・Columns II (1991)