1984 Gave Us The Cold War, ‘Ghostbusters,’ and…Tetris


Happy birthday, Tetris!

Thirty years ago, Russian programmer Alexey Pajitnov created one of the most addictive games ever in the form of Tetris.

According to The Telegraph, Pajitnov used a Russian computer called Electronica 60 to create the game, and made the very smart decision to share the code with friends, which spread like wildfire in the USSR.

How do you play?

Originally, there was “no scoring and no levels,’’ but today, you start at the lowest level and use different buttons to reorganize various groupings of blocks to create lines. As you complete lines, you gain points. It’s as simple as it sounds.


Unfortunately, Pajitnov did not receive any royalties for Tetris till 1996 when he moved to the US and formed The Tetris Company.

Even though the game was popular in its heydey (The 1989 Game Boy version sold 35 million copies), Tetris is still relevant today: Games Industry International reports that Tetris is now at 425 million paid mobile downloads.

And that number does not include free-to-play versions.

Where can you currently play Tetris now?

Ubisoft announced the upcoming release of “Tetris Ultimate’’ for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and Electronic Arts just added a new mode of Tetris Blitz for iOS and Android called “Retro Blitz’’ in honor of the anniversary.

The game has a few Boston connections, too.

Lori Baker, the wife of Boston Globe reporter Billy Baker, was named the Tetris World Champion of 2007. Competing at the International Classic Video Game & Pinball Tournament in New Hampshire, she set the new record with 841 lines, blowing the previous record – 327 lines – out of the water.

In 2012, MIT pranksters converted one side of a high-rise building on their Cambridge campus into a giant Tetris video game board. They rigged lighting behind the windows to make it appear as though Tetris blocks were actually falling down the building’s façade.


Check out the video here.

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