Tetris celebrates 25 years of gaming

8 Jun 2009

Alongside Space Invaders, Tetris is undoubtedly the most famous video game of all time. Created by Russian computer scientist Alexy Pajitnov in 1984, the simple but addictive game of organising falling bricks began as a side project that the then 29-year-old worked on in his spare time.

Tetris was a simple premise: a puzzle game where the player had to rotate and fit seven different block shapes, like a jigsaw puzzle, until the layers are levelled and disappear to create room for more falling blocks.

From Pajitnov’s pet project to the computer format, Tetris made it to the IBM PC and went on to sell well, before appearing as a arcade game licensed by Atari Games, all the while making no money for Pajitnov, who only saw profits in 1996.

However, it was in 1989 that Tetris hit mainstream when it was licensed to Nintendo and came packaged with the handheld gaming console, the Game Boy, leading to worldwide fame and recognition for the classic game.

Tetrisis still going strong, having sold more than 70 million copies to date, and is available on PCs, game consoles and even the Apple iPod.

Its success, says Pajitnov, is down to its simplicity: “The program wasn’t complicated. There was no scoring, no levels. But I started playing and I couldn’t stop,” he told The Daily Telegraph.