A Look at the History of Tetris

By: Gen Wright

The game of Tetris derived its name from the Greek work 'tetra' which means four and the work 'tennis' which is its inventor's favorite sport game. Tetris started as a puzzle video game invented by Russian Alexey Pajitnov way back in June 1985. He works in the Dorodnicyn Computer Center in the Academy of Science of the USSR.

Although a simple game, Tetris has dealt with a lot of legal battle basically because of ownership and rights issue. Pajitnov, whose original concept was the foundation of the Tetris game has shared the limelight with Dmitry Pavlovsky and Vadim Gerasimov. The three computer whizzes are working for the same project, Elektronika 60.

Since its conceptualization in 1985, Tetris has been a popular computer game all over Moscow and soon created a strong following among gamers from overseas. It was adapted to a number of versions in more ways than one.

In Budapest (Hungary), the IBM PC version of Tetris is very popular. In Britain and parts of Europe a software company called Andromeda circulated the game. The said independent company was interested in buying the full exclusive rights of the game and tried to contact Pajitnov. The original creator of the game sold the rights to Spectrum Holobyte and not to Andromeda. Andromeda, being disappointed, tried to license the game from Hungarian game programmers instead. This set a controversy and mass production of the original Tetris game. The company continually sold rights of the game to the market which it does not have the right to do so in the first place.

The Spectrum HoloByte IBM PC version of the Tetris game made its way in the United States by 1986. It was one of the hottest computer games at that time and has been an instant hit. Gamers of all levels, of all ages, loved the simplicity and strategy behind the game. More people get hooked and addicted to the game and its popularity spread like wildfire all over the globe.

The Atari ST and the Amiga have different versions of the Tetris game. The difference mainly lies on the background graphics of the game. Apple also got interested with the Tetris game and created versions of the game that are compatible with its operating system. The Tetris game originally comes in 5 inch diskettes and 3 disks, which are surprisingly, non-copyrighted.

Pajitnov finally granted rights of the game to the Soviet Government. Come 1988, the Soviet saw the potential of the game and started marketing it through an organization referred to as the Elektronorgtechnica or Elorg. The said organization granted rights of the arcade version of Tetris to Atari games. Nintendo also bought the handheld and non-Japanese rights of the game.

Today, you can play Tetris games in your computer, iPod, cellphones and in a number of consoles. You can also play Tetris online at the comfort of your own home for free!

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