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columns: MAME ROM Information.


Columns (c) 1990 Sega.

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.


Sega System C hardware

Main CPU : 68000 (@ 8.948862 Mhz)

Sound Chips : YM3438 (@ 7.670453 Mhz), SN76496 (@ 3.579545 Mhz)

Players : 2

Control : 8-way joystick

Buttons : 1


Released in June 1990.

April Simmonds of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada holds the official record for this game with 267,360 points on November 13, 2006.


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 [Model G-3226] (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)


* Consoles :

Sega Mega Drive [JP] (June 30, 1990; "Columns [Model G-4035]")

Sega Game Gear [JP] (Oct. 30, 1990; "Columns [Model G-3101]")

Sega Master System [US] (1990; "Columns [Model 5120]")

NEC PC-Engine [JP] (Mar. 29, 1991; "Columns [Model TJ03002]")

Sega Mega-CD [JP] (Apr. 23, 1993; "Sega Classics Arcade Collection [Limited Edition] [Model G-6012]")

Sega Game Gear [JP] (July 23, 1993; "Columns [Meisaku Collection] [Model G-3104]")

Sega Mega Drive (1994, "MegaGames 3in1 Vol 1")

Sega Mega Drive (1995, "6-PAK")

Sega Saturn (Oct. 20, 1997; "Columns Arcade Collection [Model GS-9161]")

Nintendo Super Famicom [JP] (Aug.01, 1999; "Columns [Model SHVC-BCLJ]")

Sony PlayStation 2 (2003, "Columns - Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol.7 [Model SLPM-62425]")

Sony PlayStation 2 (2006, "Genesis Collection")

Sony PSP (2006, "Genesis Collection")

Nintendo Wii [Virtual Console] (2006 - Mega Drive version)

* Computers :

FM Towns PC (1990)

MSX2 [JP] (Dec.1990; Columns)

Sharp X68000 [JP] (Oct. 16, 1991; Columns)

FM-7 [JP] (Jun.1991)

PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (1999, "Sega Smash Pack")


Game's rom.

Machine's picture.

MAME Info:

0.37b9 [David Haywood, Aaron Giles]


- [possible] Sound issue. Jonemaan (ID 01107)


- 0.125u1: Roberto Fresca added 'Background Music' dipswitch to clone Columns (US, cocktail).

- 0.102u4: Arzeno Fabrice added clone Columns (US, cocktail). Changed parent description to 'Columns (World)'.

- 14th December 2005: David Haywood - Thanks to Arzeno Fabrice the US version of Columns is now supported (the old 'US' set is actually a World set). The US set is slightly different to the other sets, it has the WDUD logo, then an additional Sega logo previously only found in Columns 2, a dipswitch to enable cocktail mode and different music (although I have no idea WHY they changed the music, the new music doesn't fit with the game at all, it's the music from Columns 2 when it uses the standard graphic pieces).

- 0.57: Fixed rom names.

- 0.37b10: Changed 68000 CPU1 clock speed to 7670442 Hz and SN76496 to 3579540 Hz.

- 0.37b9: David Haywood and Aaron Giles added Columns (US) (Sega 1990) and clone (Japan).

- 15th September 2000: David Haywood submitted a very preliminary Sega C2 driver, currently supporting only Puyo Puyo, Columns and Columns II.

Other Emulators:

* Sega System C2

Recommended Games:


Columns (Mega-Tech)

Columns II - The Voyage Through Time

Columns III (Mega Play)

Stack Columns

Columns 97

Hanagumi Taisen Columns

Romset: 256 kb / 2 files / 59.3 zip

MAME XML Output:

       <game name="columns" sourcefile="segac2.c">
              <description>Columns (World)</description>
              <rom name="epr-13114.ic32" size="131072" crc="ff78f740" sha1="0a034103a4b942f43e62f6e717f5dbf1bfb0b613" region="maincpu" offset="0"/>
              <rom name="epr-13113.ic31" size="131072" crc="9a426d9b" sha1="3322e65ebf8d0a6047f7d408387c63ea401b8973" region="maincpu" offset="1"/>
              <chip type="cpu" tag="maincpu" name="68000" clock="8948862"/>
              <chip type="audio" tag="mono" name="Speaker"/>
              <chip type="audio" tag="ymsnd" name="YM3438" clock="7670453"/>
              <chip type="audio" tag="snsnd" name="SN76496" clock="3579545"/>
              <display tag="megadriv" type="raster" rotate="0" width="256" height="224" refresh="60.000000" />
              <sound channels="1"/>
              <input players="2" buttons="1" coins="2" service="yes">
                     <control type="joy" ways="8"/>
              <dipswitch name="Coin A" tag="COINAGE" mask="15">
                     <dipvalue name="4 Coins/1 Credit" value="7"/>
                     <dipvalue name="3 Coins/1 Credit" value="8"/>
                     <dipvalue name="2 Coins/1 Credit" value="9"/>
                     <dipvalue name="2 Coins/1 Credit, 5/3, 6/4" value="5"/>
                     <dipvalue name="2 Coins/1 Credit, 4/3" value="4"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/1 Credit" value="15" default="yes"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/1 Credit, 5/6" value="3"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/1 Credit, 4/5" value="2"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/1 Credit, 2/3" value="1"/>
                     <dipvalue name="2 Coins/3 Credits" value="6"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/2 Credits" value="14"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/3 Credits" value="13"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/4 Credits" value="12"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/5 Credits" value="11"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/6 Credits" value="10"/>
                     <dipvalue name="Free Play (if Coin B too) or 1/1" value="0"/>
              <dipswitch name="Coin B" tag="COINAGE" mask="240">
                     <dipvalue name="4 Coins/1 Credit" value="112"/>
                     <dipvalue name="3 Coins/1 Credit" value="128"/>
                     <dipvalue name="2 Coins/1 Credit" value="144"/>
                     <dipvalue name="2 Coins/1 Credit, 5/3, 6/4" value="80"/>
                     <dipvalue name="2 Coins/1 Credit, 4/3" value="64"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/1 Credit" value="240" default="yes"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/1 Credit, 5/6" value="48"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/1 Credit, 4/5" value="32"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/1 Credit, 2/3" value="16"/>
                     <dipvalue name="2 Coins/3 Credits" value="96"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/2 Credits" value="224"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/3 Credits" value="208"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/4 Credits" value="192"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/5 Credits" value="176"/>
                     <dipvalue name="1 Coin/6 Credits" value="160"/>
                     <dipvalue name="Free Play (if Coin A too) or 1/1" value="0"/>
              <dipswitch name="Unused" tag="DSW" mask="1">
                     <dipvalue name="Off" value="1" default="yes"/>
                     <dipvalue name="On" value="0"/>
              <dipswitch name="Demo Sounds" tag="DSW" mask="2">
                     <dipvalue name="Off" value="2"/>
                     <dipvalue name="On" value="0" default="yes"/>
              <dipswitch name="Unused" tag="DSW" mask="4">
                     <dipvalue name="Off" value="4" default="yes"/>
                     <dipvalue name="On" value="0"/>
              <dipswitch name="Unused" tag="DSW" mask="8">
                     <dipvalue name="Off" value="8" default="yes"/>
                     <dipvalue name="On" value="0"/>
              <dipswitch name="Difficulty" tag="DSW" mask="48">
                     <dipvalue name="Easiest" value="0"/>
                     <dipvalue name="Easy" value="16"/>
                     <dipvalue name="Normal" value="48" default="yes"/>
                     <dipvalue name="Hard" value="32"/>
              <dipswitch name="Unused" tag="DSW" mask="64">
                     <dipvalue name="Off" value="64" default="yes"/>
                     <dipvalue name="On" value="0"/>
              <dipswitch name="Unused" tag="DSW" mask="128">
                     <dipvalue name="Off" value="128" default="yes"/>
                     <dipvalue name="On" value="0"/>
              <driver status="good" emulation="good" color="good" sound="good" graphic="good" savestate="unsupported" palettesize="2048"/>

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