From West Elmira Computers Museum
Columns cover.jpg
Developer Jay Geertsen, Sega
Publisher Sega
Hewlett Packard (HP-UX)
Kobian (PlayPal)
Systems Arcade, Astro City Mini, Atari ST, DOS, Game Gear, Game Gear Micro, Genesis, HP-UX, Linux, Mac OS, macOS, PlayPal, Master System, MSX, PC Engine, PlayStation 4, Switch, Windows, X68000, Xbox One
Released Atari ST, DOS, HP-UX, Mac OS
NA: 1989
WW: 1990
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
NA: June 29, 1990
JP: June 30, 1990
EU: July 9, 1990
Game Gear
JP: October 6, 1990
EU: April 26, 1991
NA: April 26, 1991
JP: December 25, 1990
PC Engine
JP: March 29, 1991
JP: October 16, 1991
PlayPal (Game Gear)
EU/NA: 2006
Windows (Genesis Classics)
WW: September 13, 2010
Linux, macOS, PS4, XOne (Genesis Classics)
WW: May 29, 2018
Nintendo Switch (Genesis Classics)
EU: December 6, 2018
NA: December 7, 2018
Nintendo Switch
JP: August 8, 2019
WW: October 17, 2019
Game Gear Micro (Game Gear)
JP: October 6, 2020
Astro City Mini
JP: December 17, 2020
NA: March 26, 2021
EU: June 22, 2021
Added to
Windows: March 11, 2016
Linux macOS: December 21, 2018
PlayPal: October 31, 2020
Game Gear Micro: March 26, 2021
Switch (Sega Ages): April 14, 2021
Astro City Mini: September 14, 2021
Columns marquee.jpg

Columns is a puzzle video game that was created by Jay Geertsen and was sold to Sega in 1989.


Jay Geertsen developed Columns, in 1989, while working at Hewlett Packard. He was working on a tutorial for X11 as his task was to port a graphic application to that windowing system. He felt that working on a game would be more of a fun way to learn X11 than working on a tutorial.

The game was uploaded to the Hewlett Packard server, and was ported to Atari ST, DOS, and Mac OS.

One of Sega's lawyers contacted Jay Geertsen to buy the rights and he consulted the management at Hewlett Packard as HP resources had been used to create the game. In late 1989, Hewlett Packard sold the rights to the game to Sega and donated the money to the Mile High United Way. Sega had exclusive rights to create future ports of the game, however, Hewlett Packard retained the rights to package the original X11 version with their HP-UX Unix implementation.