Tetris is celebrating its 30th anniversary today. The addictive puzzle game was designed by Alexey Pajitnov, and shot to international recognition when it was released with the Nintendo Game Boy in 1989. It took until 1988 for the USSR to figure out exactly what videogame gold-dust it had on its hands. Consequently, a state-owned company called Elektronorgtechnica (ELORG for short) was established to negotiate publishing rights to third parties.
Tetris remains the biggest-selling computer game of all time, with more than 150 million copies.
Tetris was notorious for its capacity for work stoppage from the beginning. Days after Pajitnov invented it, his boss at the Soviet Academy of Science in Moscow outlawed the game at all computer workstations. It took Pajitnov only two weeks to write the code for Tetris while he was working at the computing lab for the Academy of Sciences in Moscow in 1984. It would have taken less time had he himself not become hooked, he said later.
“Tetris is a very simple game, but it appeals to many players because it’s both visually and intellectually challenging. I think that’s what makes the game so addictive,” Pajitnov says. “We have an inherent desire to create order out of chaos and Tetris satisfies that desire on a very basic level, while being easy to understand and quick to learn.”
Research on Tetris players show that the responsiveness of the game is so good that people prefer to rotate the blocks in the game rather than mentally rotate them to figure out how they fit.
To celebrate the game’s anniversary, Tetris Blitz has added an 80s-inspired skins, power-ups, finishers, and a sound… and even a some virtual birthday cake to complete the festivities.
EA Mobile is giving away a large bundle of prizes for Tetris Blitz players on iOS devices. Tetris Blitz challenges players to drop pieces and form lines as quickly as possible, earning points before time runs out. This free Expert Player Pack is a $4.99 value, and includes 21 power-ups, including Magnets and Lasers. More than one power can be activated for each game, so players can mix and match the tools they like best to achieve the highest score possible.