All Articles: Tetris

The making of Tetris will be chronicled in a new graphic novel this October

tetris-graphicnovelMost people know that Alexey Pajitnov created Tetris while working for the Soviet government in the early 80s, but the story will be retold this October in a brand new graphic novel by Box Brown.

Tetris: The Games People Play will be published by the Macmillan imprint First Second, and it’ll reveal the story behind the game’s creation and the subsequent legal battle over distribution rights to the puzzle game outside the USSR:

Alexey Pajitnov had big ideas about games. In 1984, he created Tetris in his spare time while developing software for the Soviet government. Once Tetris emerged from behind the Iron Curtain, it was an instant hit. Nintendo, Atari, Sega—game developers big and small all wanted Tetris. A bidding war was sparked, followed by clandestine trips to Moscow, backroom deals, innumerable miscommunications, and outright theft.

New York Times–bestselling author Box Brown untangles this complex history and delves deep into the role games play in art, culture, and commerce. For the first time and in unparalleled detail, Tetris: The Games People Play tells the true story of the world’s most popular video game.

Brown has experience with finding larger-than-life figures from pop culture and adapting their lives into graphic novels. The writer and artist was previously responsible for Andre the Giant: Life and Legend, a well-received graphic novel that was originally published in 2014.

Meanwhile, Pajitnov seems to a popular biography subject these days. Director Brett Ratner announced plans to develop a film based on the developer’s life last year, and Interestingly enough, the untitled film will also feature an emphasis on the court case surrounding Tetris.

Tetris: The Games People Play will be available on store shelves on October 11.

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Tetris: The Movie is a “sci-fi thriller” that’s the first in a trilogy

tetrisgameboyNearly two years ago, the producer of Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Lawrence Kasanoff, surprised the world by saying he was going to turn Tetris into a blockbuster film franchise. We all had a good laugh at the sheer absurdity of an action movie starring animatronic Tetris pieces and then we forgot about it. But Kasanoff didn’t forget, and he was just biding his time until a group of investors decided to drop a bag of cash into his lap.

According to a report on Deadline, Kasanoff’s Threshold Entertainment has partnered with Bruno Wu of Seven Star Works to produce Tetris: The Movie. The $80 million film will be shot in China and other locations with a predominantly Chinese cast, though Kasanoff said he makes “world movies for the world market.”

So how do you make a movie out of Tetris? Beats me, but Kasanoff said he has that part figured out too. Tetris: The Movie will be a “sci-fi thriller,” and also, “the first in a trilogy.” It’s an ambitious plan, and while I can’t wrap my head around the idea of Tetris as a sci-fi thriller, maybe Kasanoff has an elusive line piece in his back pocket.

Meanwhile, director Brett Ratner is continuing to work on his biographical film about the life of Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov. It’s currently without a release date, but maybe we’ll have another Armageddon/Deep Impact situation on our hands.

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Brett Ratner is making a movie about Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov’s life

metatop100-tetrisAlexey Pajitnov’s creation of Tetris is going to get the Social Network treatment courtesy of Brett Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment.

According to Tracking Board, the film will portray Pajitnov’s early days at the Soviet Academy of Sciences and his programming work with Dmitry Pavlovsky and Vadim Gerasimov. The film will also focus on the court case that eventually awarded a publishing license for the game to Nintendo. The Tracking Board article even hints at the possibility of some international intrigue as the court case is said to have “threatened to destabilize relationships between governments.”

RatPac Entertainment is currently seeking a screenwriter for the film.

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World Video Game Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015 is Tetris, Super Mario Bros, Pong, Doom, WoW, Pac-Man


The World Video Game Hall of Fame, which is administered by the International Center for the History of Electronic Games and The Strong in Rochester, New York, has announced its inaugural list of inductees. Drum roll, please.

The 2015 Class of the World Video Game Hall of Fame includes…

  • Doom, id Software’s pioneering first person shooter.
  • Pac-Man, the dot-eating, ghost-chasing hero of every 80s arcade.
  • Pong, one of video gaming’s earliest arcade hits.
  • Super Mario Bros., the side-scroller that put the NES on the map and made Mario a household name.
  • Tetris, the falling block puzzler that’s surely invaded your dreams at least once.
  • World of Warcraft, Blizzard’s MMO made the genre what it is today and is still going strong after a decade.

While all of the games are at least ten years old, it’s amazing how important they still are to video gaming’s current climate. Bethesda will pull the curtain back on the next game in the Doom series at this year’s E3 Expo. Pac-Man recently celebrated his 35th anniversary and will star in a new mobile game this Summer. Super Mario Bros. is also celebrating a big anniversary this year and will influence this September’s Mario Maker. The Tetris Company, and Alexey Pajitnov, continues to license new version of Tetris and the latest, Tetris Ultimate, was released last year. Finally, Blizzard released World of Warcraft’s fifth expansion, Warlords of Draenor, in November and a sixth is already in the works.

These six games represent gaming at its greatest and are excellent choices for the Hall of Fame’s inaugural class. As part of their selection, the inductees will be on permanent view (and in playable form) at The Strong’s “eGameRevolution” exhibit.

Nine other finalists were considered for inclusion by the international committee including Angry Birds, FIFA International Soccer, The Legend of Zelda, Minecraft, The Oregon Trail, Pokemon Red/Blue, The Sims, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Space Invaders. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until all of them are enshrined in the Hall of Fame. But if you want to campaign for your favorite game, nominees for the Class of 2016 are currently being accept at the World Video Game Hall of Fame’s website.

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The Strong announces finalists for the World Video Game Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015


The Strong National Museum of Play and the International Center for the History of Electronic Games have announced the finalists for the inaugural class of the World Video Game Hall of Fame. More than a dozen classic games passed this first test on their way to video game immortality, which were selected from thousands of nominations that poured in from gamers all across the world. Nominations for the Class of 2015 were accepted from February 17 through March 31, but in case you missed out, the Hall of Fame is already accepting games for next year’s class.

This year’s inductees to the World Video Game Hall of Fame will be chosen from the finalist pool by an “international selection committee” made up of journalists, scholars, and other individuals. The inaugural class will be announced on June 4 at 10:30 AM (Eastern Time) during a ceremony at The Strong.

The finalists for the World Video Game Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015 include:

  • Angry Birds
  • Doom
  • FIFA International Soccer
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Minecraft
  • The Oregon Trail
  • Pac-Man
  • Pokemon Red/Blue
  • Pong
  • The Sims
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Space Invaders
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Tetris
  • World of Warcraft

“The 15 finalists for the World Video Game Hall of Fame span decades, gaming platforms, and geographies… but what they all have in common is their undeniable impact on popular culture and society in general,” said Jon-Paul Dyson, the Director of the International Center for the History of Electronic Games.

Inductees into the World Video Game Hall of Fame will be selected based on the following criteria: “Icon Status,” “Longevity,” “Geographical Reach,” and “Influence.” All 15 finalists certainly qualify, but I know I’ll be rooting for Tetris.

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Oh my god… somebody is making a Tetris movie

tetrisgameboyAnd that somebody is Larry Kasanoff, the same producer behind 1995’s Mortal Kombat and 1997’s less-impressive Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Kasanoff told The Wall Street Journal that his production studio, Threshold Entertainment, has signed a deal with The Tetris Company to produce the film as a theatrical release.

There’s no word yet on who will star in the film or when it’ll open in theaters, but Kasanoff believes that Tetris: The Movie should take the form of a massive sci-fi blockbuster:

“It’s a very big, epic sci-fi movie,” Threshold’s CEO Larry Kasanoff tells Speakeasy [a WSJ blog] exclusively. “This isn’t a movie with a bunch of lines running around the page. We’re not giving feet to the geometric shapes.”

Kasanoff’s sci-fi take on the game’s story isn’t the first time Tetris has looked to the stars for inspiration. The “plot” of 2002’s Tetris Worlds involved rescuing a race of intelligent machines from a dying planet through the power of “Tetrion Gates.” Each gate was unlocked once the player lined up a series of Minos (Tetris pieces) along the bottom of the well.

Personally, I hope it’s like the Captain N episode, “The Trouble With Tetris.”

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Tetris turns 30 years old today and creator Alexey Pajitnov still plays every week

Forget Pong. Forget Pac-Man. Even forget Space Invaders. The greatest gaming obsession was undoubtedly Tetris. The game, which single-handedly invented the “falling block” puzzler, is celebrating its 30th birthday today.

On June 6, 1984, in a country that was then still known as the Soviet Union, Alexey Pajitnov completed development on the first version of Tetris. Pajitnov, who moved to the United States in 1991, said he still plays his creation a few times a week: “I never imagined Tetris was going to be this successful. But the simple, yet addicting nature of Tetris still has me playing it a few times every week. I meet fans from around the world who are also as passionate about Tetris as me, and there is no doubt in my mind Tetris will continue to expand and bring its classic appeal to new players in new ways and on new devices, whatever they may be.”

Together with Henk Roger, the two men founded The Tetris Company in 1996 and continue to license new entries in the series to this day. And with the game’s 30th anniversary upon us (which they’re calling “We All Fit Together”), they’ve got plenty of cool stuff planned for this year:

  • Ubisoft’s new Tetris Ultimate lands on PS4 and Xbox One this Summer (and on the PC in the Fall).
  • Electronic Arts introduced a new mode to Tetris Blitz (iOS, Android) called Retro Blitz with shapes, styles, and colors that are an homage to the original Game Boy version from 1989.
  • Tetris Online is joining in the celebration with 30th Anniversary updates to the Tetris Battle game on Facebook and the all-new Tetris Battle: Fusion game, now available for download on Amazon Fire TV.
  • Rasta Imposta is bringing the Tetris lifestyle to adoring fans in the form of great Tetrimino-shaped Halloween costumes, interactive costumes and accessories.
  • Robe Factory is extending the Tetris lifestyle into our everyday lives from the moment we step out of bed with plush robes and slippers, and into the bathroom with great Tetris designs on shower curtains, towels and rugs. The Tetris fun will continue on great new leggings, socks, footwear and more.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to buy a birthday cake for my favorite game and blow out the candles with my screams of frustration after I don’t get that long piece I need.

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A Playing Card With Fangs: How Puzzle Games Use Characters to Get in Our Heads


As video games begin to resemble film and television productions more and more with each passing generation, it’s interesting to observe that puzzle games remain a vibrant genre. Puzzle games burst onto the scene at the very beginning, back when gaming was nothing more than a handful of pixels projected onto an old television. While everyone in the “real world” was attempting to master a Rubik’s Cube in as few moves as possible, gamers were tackling the line destruction of Breakout and the line construction Tetris. However, without realizing it, the puzzle genre became just as story-driven as everything else the game industry produces today. (more…)

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