12 Awesome Things Tetris To Know, See, And Play

By David Delony in Features
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 3:12 pm

1984 was the height of the Cold War. People on both sides of the Iron Curtain feared te final nuclear conflagration. But in the Soviet Union, a young programmer named Alexey Pajitnov created a game that would influence the world much more profoundly than the doings of nation-states. That game, of course, was Tetris. So I thought it would be appropriate to last some interesting things related to Tetris. Most other publications would do a top-ten list, but here at Joystick Division we like to go to 12, to get that final push over the cliff.

1. Tetris can prevent Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In a psychological experiment, subjects watched a disturbing film, while some of them played Tetris afterward and others didn't. The subjects who played Tetris showed fewer symptoms of PTSD than those who didn't play the game.

2. This is a hilarious comic tribute was by the Perry Bible Fellowship. A mother asks her son to clean up his room while playing Tetris on his Game Boy. He does so, with everything fitting on the wall. There's even a space for his baby brother to fit.


3. There were two NES versions of Tetris. One was the authorized version of Tetris by Nintendo, the other was an unlicensed version done by Tengen, a division of Atari. This led to a major lawsuit over Tengen's circumventing the NES's lockout chip. Nintendo won, and the Tengen copies had to be pulled. They're apparently sitting in a vault somewhere. Many people who played the Tengen version prefer it over Nintendo's version. Sealed copies run into the triple digits on Ebay.


4. Tetris is such a cultural phenomenon, that even Family Guy has taken a crack at it. Peter Griffin, as a Tetris block, is about to move in for a big score, but at the last second, he moves to the right. The other blocks are upset.


5. There's a version that runs on Unix-like systems called Bastet, or "Bastard Tetris." The game actually picks the worst piece and taunts you about it!


6. A programmer using the name Emre has created a page showing a bunch of robot Tetris games. It's kind of like a video game lava lamp. I could watch this all day.


7. Remodeling your bathroom? Why not install Tetris Tiles?. You might end up taking longer showers trying to play the game, though.


8. Another great comic tribute. This one is called Subnormality, a comic by Winston Rowntree that boasts that is has "too many words", did a darkly humorous tribute to Tetris. A scruffy-looking cubic man boards a crowded Moscow subway, filled with other blocky people, screaming for him not to enter. There is only one space left in the door. You can guess what will happen if he does.


9. And for all those books you bought because Tetris made you smart, get a Tetris Bookcase.

10. Tetris has even been played on the side of a dorm building using the light from the windows.


11. A thesis done by a graduate student in the late 1980s proved that it's impossible to play Tetris forever, as the gravity of the game force you to lose. Anyone want to try and prove them wrong? Be our guest.

12. Mega64's Tetris parody is the greatest minute of Tetris-related anything I've ever watched, seen, or read.

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