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Earlier this month a deceivingly simple yet absolutely addictive game celebrated it's 35th anniversary. Before Minecraft, before VR, there was... TETRIS!
The game, or one of its many knockoffs, copies, or variants, has been available at one time or another for nearly every video game console and computer operating system around, as well as on devices such as graphing calculators, mobile phones, portable media players... let's just say, if it is an electronic device and has a screen, you could probably play Tetris on it.
For the uninitiated: there are 7 pieces, known as tetrominoes, that players must manipulate and stack as they fall from the top of the screen. When a player forms a solid horizontal line without any gaps, it disappears and any blocks above it fall down to fill the space. When a certain number of lines are cleared, the game enters a new level. As the game progresses, each level causes the tetrominoes to fall faster, and the game ends when the pieces stack up reaching the top of the playing field and no new blocks are able to enter.
Tetris has challenged and entertained gamers and non-gamers alike, as well as influencing other video games and media. One of my favorite books in the past few years is a graphic novel about the backstory to this international phenomenon, which plays out like a dramatic film, full of political intrigue, backroom business dealings, greed, ambition, art, and love. Box Brown’s Tetris: The Games People Play is a simple yet bold collection of three-color-palette illustrations and engaging graphic novel storytelling that make this non-stop page-turner as addictive as the puzzle game itself.
Want to learn more than you ever wanted to know about Tetris? Check out the below video which presents a pretty exhaustive history and leaves no tetrominoes unturned!