Tetris (1984)

An avid tetrisfriends.com player, I am surprised how far its history stems back to. “Tetris” (The Tetris Company 1984) is an iconic game created in 1984 in Moscow, Russia. It was developed by Russian scientist Alexey Pajitnov who on his free time apart from studying and creating artificial intelligence loved puzzles and got his inspiration from “Pentominos”, a classic board game. The success of then “Tetris” grew quickly, spreading to IBM PCs in the Soviet Union the following year and later, PCs in North America and Europe (businessinsider.com).

Creator of “Tetris” Alexey Pajitnov

By 1989, industry capitalists claimed the rights to “Tetris” although they didn’t have any to begin with. They mostly distributed the game not only across PCs but across consoles as well. This infuriated the Soviet Union, the true owner of the game, and thus they decided to sell “Tetris” to an organization called “ELORG” which consisted of giving the Atari Games the arcade version and Nintendo the console and handheld version (businessinsider.com).

More importantly, when Nintendo developed “Tetris” for the Game Boy handheld device in 1988 is what changed “Tetris” forever. Roger (a developer for Nintendo) convinced the CEO of Nintendo of America to include the game to be bundled with the Game Boy rather than the company’s very own “Super Mario Bros.” so that it would reach boys and girls and would be fairly accessible. Later, The Tetris Company was formed in 1996 and now holds the rights to all things “Tetris” (businessinsider.com).

Early “Tetris” Gameplay

The gameplay of “Tetris” is fairly easy to pick up, but difficult to master. “Tetris” features geometric shapes that you must stack upon each other and fill up the rows to delete a row so that more “Tetrominos” or four square block pieces can fall down. While one “Tetromino” is falling, you can choose to rotate it if it fits better into the other “Tetrominos” at the bottom so that you can clear a row. However, if the “Tetrominos” fill up the entire screen, then you will lose the game. The game makes it much harder by increasing the speed of which they fall the higher the score. Of course, there are ways that you can maximize your potential in playing “Tetris”. Almost every version since the original will tell you which piece will be coming next. It could be a line, a cube, or some other random shape. In recent versions, you can even “save” a piece by hitting a button on your handheld device or pressing a letter on your computer keyboard. Then, you can use it later when it is deemed necessary. Clearing more lines at once will add more bonuses to your score. To help you differentiate pieces, many games have pattern (older version) or color differences (newer versions). This is the most classical version of Tetris but you can explore many more versions on tetrisfriends.com or newer “Tetris” games in which you can battle others or compete against yourself for the highest score possible.

The word “Tetris” comes from the word “tetra” meaning four and “tennis” which was Pajitnov’s favorite sport (tetris.com). Today, nearly everyone knows what the name “Tetris” is and what it means thanks to its universal marketing through consoles, computers, calculators, phones, and media players (euronews.com). What once was a simple leisure activity is now a classic and strategic puzzle game that has already left its mark on video game history.

Works Cited

Euronews. “Is Tetris the Greatest Computer Game Ever?” Euronews. N.p., 05 June 2013. Web.

Levy, Karyne. “The Complicated History Of ‘Tetris,’ Which Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary Today.” Business Insider. Business Insider, 06 June 2014. Web

The Tetris Company 1984, Tetris, video game, NES, Nintendo.

“About Tetris – Tetris | Official Site.” Tetris. N.p., n.d. Web.

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