- "PLAYFIELD: This is where the action is."
—Manual for Tetris for NES
The playfield is the grid into which tetrominoes fall, also called the "well" (common in older games) or the "matrix" (especially in more recent Tetris brand games). The playfield is surrounded by a frame called the tetrion, which controls the overall behavior of tetrominoes.
The vast majority of tetromino based game use a playfield 10 cells wide and between 16 and 24 cells tall. Notable exceptions are the following:
- Abandoned Bricks: 9 w
- Gnometris (now known as Quadrapassal due to TTC having a de facto trademark on the "-tris" suffix): 11 w until mid-2007; then 14 w (
- Tetrinet: 12 w (
- Tetris Jr.: 8 w
- Tetris Wristwatch: 6 w
- Tetripz: 11 w
- TAP Doubles Mode: 14 w
- Tetris Party Doubles: 20 w
- Tetris Brick: 6 w
Columns are conventionally numbered from left to right, and rows from bottom to top.
The Tetris Guideline specifies a playfield 10 blocks wide by 40 blocks tall, where the tetrominoes are started in rows 21 and 22. Most games hide rows 21 and up, but some games show the bottom of row 21.
Tetrominoes may land and lock partially within the "vanish zone"; they reappear once a line is cleared below them.