Today, June 6th, is the 30th aniversary of the release of Tetris(Russian: Те́трис), one of the most popular video games in the world for last century. The Tetris is a Soviet tile-matching puzzle video game originally designed and programmed by Alexey Pajitnov, who was inspired by another puzzle game. He derived its name from the Greek numerical prefix tetra- (all of the game’s pieces contain four segments) and tennis, Pajitnov’s favorite sport.
Without any doubt, the Tetris has become a legend in the video game history in the past 30 years. There are barely people who have not played it yet. But most of us don’t know the story behind it. The first Tetris was programed and created on an Elektronika 60 while working for the Soviet Academy of Sciences at their Computer Center in Moscow with Dmitry Pavlovsky, and Vadim Gerasimov ported it to the IBM PC. At first the computer could not display images with color bars but with letters. Then one year after, the Tetris was transplanted into MS-DOS, which became the fundamental interface for the next 30 years, only with some slight changes.
On the game operations, there were many changes made on different transplanted versions for the first two years. For instance, whether the bar could be speed down, or the bars could be rotated clockwise or anticlockwise, or if the users could see the next bar image ahead, or even the design of “no rotating” when the bar is against the wall. All of these changes were made in respond to users feedbacks.
The Tetris not only made it one of the most popular video games, also the fights on copyright made it one of the most complex lawsuits in the world. By 1989, half a dozen different companies claimed rights to create and distribute the Tetris software for home computers, game consoles, and handheld systems. Elorg, meanwhile, held that none of the companies were legally entitled to produce an arcade version, and signed those rights over to Atari Games, while it signed non-Japanese console and handheld rights over to Nintendo. Tetris was on show at the January 1988 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where it was picked up by Dutch games publisher Henk Rogers, then based in Japan, which eventually led to an agreement brokered with Nintendo that saw Tetris bundled with every Game Boy.
However, Alexey Pajitnov, the original developer of this game, only got very little money from it. Alexey founded the The Tetris Company in 1996, claiming to hold copyright registrations for Tetris products in the U.S. and taking out trademark registrations for Tetris in almost every country in the world. They have licensed the brand to a number of companies, and the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Customs have at times issued seizure orders to preclude unlicensed Tetris-like games from being imported into the U.S., though bulletins circulated by the U.S. Copyright Office state that copyright does not apply to the rules of a game.
There seven kinds of graphics called Tetriminos in the Tetris, two of which are mirrow and rotated images. Normally, users named the Tetriminos with the English letters that look like them, I, J, L, O, Z, T, S. Surprisingly among those, L made the elects of the most favorite Tetrimino in this game for many times. The objective of the game is to manipulate these Tetriminos, by moving each one sideways and rotating it by 90-degree units, with the aim of creating a horizontal line of ten blocks without gaps. When such a line is created, it disappears, and any block above the deleted line will fall. When a certain number of lines are cleared, the game enters a new level. As the game progresses, each level causes the Tetriminos to fall faster, and the game ends when the stack of Tetriminos reaches the top of the playing field and no new Tetriminos are able to enter. Some games also end after a finite number of levels or lines.