Negosentro.com | Tetris: The Game Sensation Of The 80s | Tetris is a game that was invented in 1984 by a Russian computer engineer called Alexey Pajitnov. When he was 29 years old and sitting at his workstation in the Soviet Academy of Sciences building, he never knew that what he was working on would cause a stir in the 80s and the years to come. If you looked over Pajitnov’s shoulder then and saw what he was working on, you probably wouldn’t have given much thought to it. That’s because his Electronika 60 hulk computer just had a few characters moving down a screen. However, what the young programmer was inventing was the prototype for what he’d later name Tetris.
Here’s how this game became the sensation of the 80s.
Smuggling Gave It Popularity
Because private businesses were illegal in the Soviet Union in the 1980s, Pajitnov didn’t know how his superior would react if he tried to commercialize the Tetris software. However, with the help of two colleagues named Vadim Gerasimov and Dmitry Pavlovsky, he ported the game to a more PC-friendly version supporting color graphics and distributed it among friends by 1985. It was through sharing this game that it began to be famous.
From Pajitnov’s friends, Tetris was smuggled into Hungary, where it found its way into Europe. In the UK, it was published in 1987 by Robert Maxwell’s and Jim Mackonochie’s company, Mirrorsoft. This duo developed it for computers like the Amstrad CPC and ZX spectrum. Mirrorsoft developed background graphics for it, though it was suspected they had no right to publish the game because they bought the license of modifying it from another British company called Andromeda.
Once it reached the UK, it earned ecstatic reviews and sold in many quantities. This way, the game’s fame spread in the UK, making the tussle of who should own it begin.
Its Western Licensing Deal Made A Cold War Thriller
One famous person to be bewitched by Tetris’s spell was the Ditch video game publisher and designer, Henk Rodgers. He first encountered this game at a computer electronic’s show in 1988 and recognized that it had a huge potential. Unfortunately, other influential industry figures across Japan, the Soviet Union, Europe, and America also saw the potential.
As this was happening, Elorg, a state-owned company, had assumed the responsibility of selling Tetris rights overseas. While working at the academy of sciences, it was assumed that whatever Pajitnov and his colleagues created belonged to the state and Elorg. That’s how the state-owned company came to own this game.
A Rare Version Of Tetris By Sega
In the late 80s, Sega developed a rare version of this game for arcades. However, because of the storm surrounding Tetris, Sega quickly did away with the game. Currently, only a few boxed copies of Sega’s Tetris version are still in existence. In 2011, one of Sega’s drive signed by Pajitnov was sold for $1 million.
Despite all the storm and controversies, the ultimate winner of the Tetris ownership battle became Nintendo. Since they assumed this role, the Tetris gaming app has circulated worldwide and made it to become one of the biggest selling games in history.