Retrocon 2024

Four Modern Versions of Columns: the Classic 3-Match Video Game

When it comes to video games, the best have a clearly defined aesthetic. We look at them and we’re instantly transported to somewhere else – to another time and place entirely. With Columns and those 3-match games created in a similar vein, we flashback to the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Columns was created by Jay Geertsen in 1989 and developed by Sega in 1989. It would first appear in arcades later that year and then eventually be ported for the Mega Drive/Sega Genesis home console in 1990 and the handheld Sega Game Gear in 1991. Columns was well received by game critics and would spawn several sequels in the ‘90s.

Today, the retro aesthetic of Columns has been borrowed by many games, and while Bejeweled might be the most famous of them, there are even more available to keep you occupied on a rainy afternoon.

Cookie Jam


Sharing a similar aesthetic and aim to Columns and Bejeweled, Cookie Jam is heavily inspired by its classic video game predecessors. Featuring a match-three format, it allows you to move through various wonderlands inside a traveling bakery, solving an assortment of sweet and tasty puzzles as you go. Utilizing lots of bright colors and era-appropriate graphics, the game has hundreds of different levels for you to try out, meaning that even the shortest attention span will find plenty to hold its interest.

Book of Life: Sugar Smash 

Another game that could have come straight from the '80s is Book of Life: Sugar Smash. Revolving around a match-three format, it nonetheless has adventure at its heart, providing the opportunity to collect dozens of specified treats over the course of almost 100 different levels. As you play, you’ll find yourself joined by a host of colorful characters, who you’ll need to help as they gather together the delicious treats required to fill the game board. Charming, sweet, and era-appropriate, it undoubtedly rivals Bejeweled in terms of its ability to deliver hours of enjoyment.


A slot rather than video game, the Gemix slot at Regal Wins Casino is another crafted in the same style as the original. Sharing much in common with '80s arcade games, it features a variety of worlds, levels, and entertaining on-reel behaviors to provide players with hours of entertainment. Played on a seven by seven grid, brightly colored jewels shower down as you’re challenged to match at least five gems, leaving space for more of the same to drop into their empty spots. Available to play on an array of devices, from desktops to tablets and smartphones, this is a great alternative for those who want the option of gaming on the go.

Muffin Quest

Last but not least, why not try your hand at a game known as Muffin Quest? Featuring the standard match-three format, it differs from most of the titles in this genre by allowing you to move rows and columns as well as individual tiles. Coming complete with 200 different levels for you to accomplish, every step challenges you in a slightly different way, with the game’s complexity increasing as you go.

When it comes to classic 3-match games, these four titles all give our beloved Columns a run for its money. Why not give one of them a try today?
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