Library@Kendriya Vidyalaya Pattom

Where Minds meet and Ideas pop up !

25 Years of Tetris: From Russia With Fun!

By Scott Olstad Friday, Jun. 05, 2009



Sputnik burned up in the atmosphere, Berlin is now one city, but 25 years later, the Soviet-designed Tetris remains one of the most popular and ubiquitous video games ever created. It has sold over 125 million copies, been released for nearly every video-game platform of the past two decades and even been played on the side of a skyscraper. Yet creator Alexey Pajitnov almost never saw a ruble for his creation.


While studying at the Soviet Union’s Academy of Science in 1984, the 29-year-old Pajitnov designed a bare-bones version of the game in his free time for the Elektronika 60, a Soviet terminal computer. The original version, launched on June 6, 1984, was only 10 levels long because that was all the Elektronika’s memory could handle. Inspired by the classic riddles and puzzles Pajitnov loved as a child, the game was so addictive he couldn’t even stop playing long enough to finish programming it. "The program wasn’t complicated," he told the Guardian. "There was no scoring, no levels. But I started playing and I couldn’t stop." The game became known as Tetris, a combination of the Greek prefix tetra and Pajitnov’s favorite sport, tennis.

The premise is simple: as variously shaped groups of four blocks fall down the screen (trivia answer: they’re called "tetrominoes"), a player must fit them together like a jigsaw. When a horizontal line is completed, it disappears, freeing up more space to play the game. Once the stacked blocks reach the top of the screen you’re toast. But there’s something about the formula that sets a hook deep in our psyche; players have even reported seeing the falling blocks in their sleep. "I believe there is some basic psychological pleasure sensor that Tetris has found that other [games]don’t," said Henk Rogers, the Dutch video-game designer who secured the console and handheld licensing rights for Nintendo in 1989, in a recent interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. "The balance is so good, it feels like you can always go a little more."

That same year Nintendo bundled a copy of Tetris with every unit of their latest platform, the Game Boy (FROM RUSSIA WITH FUN! read the game’s original packaging). The handheld game system and its variations sold more than 118 million units; Tetris, generally believed to have played a large role in the pioneering portable’s success, sold a staggering 35 million units for the Game Boy alone. But despite his creation’s record-breaking popularity, Pajitnov continued to receive his normal salary while the Kremlin claimed millions in royalties.

Pajitnov moved to the U.S. in 1991 and finally began earning money from his creation after the rights reverted back to him in 1996. He and Rogers, who had befriended Pajitnov on his trips to Russia, formed the straightforwardly titled Tetris Company to manage and license the Tetris brand, an entity that now spans more than 50 countries. The company maintains the "Tetris guidelines"—a set of basic standards to which all officially branded games must adhere. These rules stipulate everything from the colors of the blocks to a mandatory inclusion of the game’s now famous theme song, the Russian folk tune "Korobeiniki." Tetris is now ubiquitous: it’s the best selling cell-phone game and one of the top 10 iPhone apps of all time, and has even inspired wacky Japanese game shows. In 2007, video-game website IGN named it the second best game of all time, behind only Super Mario Bros. saying, "It’s the puzzle game. Not a puzzle game, THE puzzle game."

Pajitnov continues to design games today—his similarly colorful puzzler Hexic was packaged with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Premium Bundle at the console’s launch. But Tetris remains his magnum opus. As prices for video-game development run into the tens of millions of dollars, Tetris’ simple formula still beats them all. "It’s awesome when you look at the industry and everyone spending millions on graphics and music and more and here we are with Tetris just kicking ass," Rogers told the AFP. "It is an enviable position."


Filed under: Article of the Week, ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

कृपया हिंदी में पढ़ें

Live updates

Library@KV Pattom


Welcome to the official Library blog of Kendriya Vidyalaya Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India, launched in September 2007.

6 Million Hits and counting..

Thank you all for making this blog a great success.

You are the visitor, No

  • 6,556,138 hits

Upcoming Events

No upcoming events

Visit your Library

Browse Books and Periodicals. Read Newspapers. Pick a New Book from the ‘New Arrivals’ rack. Search the Internet and the OPAC. Refer for assignments and projects. Suggest a book. Ask a question.Write your comments. And more…Visit the Library Today itself. You are most welcome.

KVS Innovation and Experimentation Award 2011 & 2016

"Library Junction" and "Face a Book Challenge" have won the KVS Innovation and Experimentation Award in 2011 and 2016 respectively.

All India Competition on Innovative Practices and Experiments in Education for Schools and Teacher Education Institutions 2010-’11

'Library Junction' won the "All India Competition on Innovative Practices and Experiments in Education for Schools and Teacher Education Institutions 2010-'11" conducted by NCERT.

Website of the Week

Telephone Reference

+91 9447699724 (Librarian)

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5,845 other followers

Ask your Librarian

Subscribe SMS updates

Send: ON Library_KVPattom to 9870807070


RSS This day in History

  • Pompey defeated by Julius Caesar at the Battle of Pharsalus: 9 August 48 - This Day in History
    During the Roman Civil War of 49–45 , Julius Caesar's troops on this day in 48 decisively defeated the army of Pompey at the Battle of Pharsalus, causing Pompey to flee to Egypt, where he was subsequently murdered.More Events on this day:1945: The second atomic bomb dropped on Japan by the United States in World War II struck the city of Nagasaki.1 […]
  • Amedeo Avogadro: Biography of the Day
    Amedeo AvogadroBorn this day in 1776, Amedeo Avogadro of Italy showed that, under controlled conditions of temperature and pressure, equal volumes of gases contain an equal number of molecules—what became known as Avogadro's law.
  • Concise Encyclopedia Book and CD-ROM: Special Price from The Britannica Store
    For RSS subscribers The Britannica Store presents a special 20% discount on the Concise Encyclopedia and free CD-ROM. This thoroughly revised and expanded edition of Britannica's most popular publication worldwide is a one-volume encyclopedia containing 28,000 articles accompanied by colorful photographs, diagrams, maps, and flags. The Britannica Concis […]

Library Bookmark

InfoLit India: Information Literacy Project for Young Learners

<!– Global site tag (gtag.js) – Google Analytics –>

window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];
function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}
gtag(‘js’, new Date());

gtag(‘config’, ‘UA-110661763-1’);

<!– Global site tag (gtag.js) – Google Analytics –>

window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];
function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}
gtag(‘js’, new Date());

gtag(‘config’, ‘UA-11842201-1’);




Real time News on Kendriya Vidyalayas on the web

Little Open Library (LOLib)

Tools for Every Teacher (TET)

KV Pattom in Media

FaB Best Performers 2017-’18

Meera Nair & Kalyani Santhosh

Face a Book Challenge

e-reading hub @ Your Library

Follow Us on Twitter

Learn anything freely with Khan Academy Library of Content

A free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.

Interactive challenges, assessments, and videos, on any topic of your interest.

Child Line (1098)

CHILDLINE 1098 service is a 24 hour free emergency phone outreach service for children in need of care and protection.

CBSE Toll Free Tele/Online Helpline

Students can call 1800 11 8004 from any part of the country. The operators will answer general queries and also connect them to the counselors for psychological counseling. The helpline will be operational from 08 a.m to 10 p.m. On-line counseling on:

Population Stabilization in India Toll Free Helpline

Dial 1800-11-6555 for expert advice on reproductive, maternal and child health; adolescent and sexual health; and family planning.

Kendriya Vidyalaya (Shift-I)
Thiruvananthapuram-695 004
Kerala India

Mail: librarykvpattom at

%d bloggers like this: