Tetris: Classic Arcade Game Video, History & Game Play Overview


Tetris differs from most classic arcade games for a number of reasons. The lead programmer and designer of the original version of Tetris, Alexey Pajitnov, was employed by Academy of Science of the USSR at the time of the game’s inception. While working within the Dorodnicyn Computing Centre, Pajitnov created the puzzle themed game with the assistance of Vadim Gerasimov and Dmitry Pavlovsky. The name Tetris itself has Greek origins.

Tetris was soon ported to the IBM, making it accessible to gamers in the USSR and surrounding nations prior to the title being officially licensed for commercial purposes.
After Tetris came to be known by the public, several European based gaming companies began to compete for rights to distribute the title. Of these companies, Andromeda was the first to start securing business deals with game manufacturers. Spectrum HoloByte became the first distributor to arrange an agreement with the game’s developers, and Tetris officially debuted in the US for the IBM PC in 1986.

Critics immediately took notice of Tetris’ unique premise, making it appealing to a wide range of video game fans. Eventually, Tetris was every home gaming console and gaming computer system, including the most popular consoles and computers of the mid to late 1980s. This includes the Commodore 64, the Apple II3 and the Game Boy.

Because of the success of Tetris, the USSR government eventually claimed all rights to the game. Andromeda illegally continued to sell various versions of Tetris in Europe and abroad, but neither Pajitnov nor the USSR government acted to stop the company at that point.

A group by the name of Elektronorgtechnica was formed by the USSR, in part to help promote Tetris. With the Soviet government in charge of approving all licensing agreements, a deal was made with Nintendo to develop a version of Tetris for their home consoles. In addition, the first edition of Tetris was made available for the arcade by Nintendo.

Eventually, after poorly veiled copycat versions of the game continued to be distributed, Nintendo was forced to file suit. While Nintendo still has rights to the Tetris name, Pajitnov was able to regain control over future licensing agreements. As a result, Pajitnov and a few of his business partners formed The Tetris Company. This organization was successfully granted copyrights to both the Tetris name as well as all other trademarks associated with the title. Companies that had formally been selling unauthorized versions of Tetris under other names were forced to stop, and existing copycats of Tetris were summarily confiscated by customs officials.

Until 1996, Alexet Pajitnov received almost no proceeds for the creation of Tetris. While new versions of Tetris, compilations and collections including the Tetris title have sold around 100 million copies from the beginning of the game’s history, Pajitnov has only received a fraction of what he is rightfully due.

In addition to being touted as one of the world’s most popular games, Tetris has also been scientifically shown to improve brain functionality. This puzzle game requires players to make swift decisions while testing their problem solving abilities. Some studies have even shown Tetris to help players improve specific skill sets by stimulating parts of the brain that are normally dormant.

The original version of Tetris was a one player game, but newer versions support two player game play.


Game Play Overview

Tetris is a game that pits players against themselves. A series of blocks that come in six different variations fall from the top of the screen. Using the directional buttons, players can manipulate these blocks until they take on the desired orientation.

In order to progress in Tetris, players must completely fill each line in with blocks. If there are any spaces left, the line will remain. When these lines add up, players become at risk of losing the game. Because many of the blocks are irregularly shaped, critical thinking as well as fast hands are needed to avoided potential pitfalls.

The game blocks, also known as tetrominos, are identified by color as well as a letter of the alphabet. Each block is made up of a series of four squares that can be arranged in one of seven different ways. The tetromino is a long, rectangular piece that is red in color. This is considered to be the easiest tetromino to manipulate.

The S tetromino vaguely resembles the letter S, and is light blue. The perfectly square shaped, yellow tetromino is abbreviated O. The J tetromino is shaped like the letter L, making it a suitable piece for filled in gaps that exist on the top-most line.

The L tetromino is also L shaped, but it is oriented to the left instead of the right. The Z tetromino looks exactly like the S tetromino, but again, it is oppositely oriented. Lastly, the T tetromino is another block that is commonly used to fill in spaces on the top line.

In theory, Tetris is an infinite play game. A counter keeps track of the number of lines that players eliminate. As more lines disappear, new pieces appear at a higher speed. Depending on the skill set of each individual player, the game pieces will start to move too quickly for them to keep up with and the game will end.

Special Features

In Tetris, the most noteworthy move that a player can complete is filling in and completing four lines at once. This is because all tetrominoes consist of four blocks, at maximum. When this occurs, a message reading ‘Tetris’ will appear on the screen, and players will be awarded a large point bonus.


Lines – Lines can be accumulated and eliminated in Tetris. The game keeps stats on the number of lines that each player eliminates.

Tetrominos – This is the official name of game pieces. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they are generated randomly.

How to Play Tetris

When the game begins, the game board is completely free of all tetrominoes. At the start of Tetris, a single block will descend from the very top of the screen. Depending on the type of tetromino generated, players will need to figure out how to situate it as well as where to place it.

Because each game of Tetris is unique, no singular strategy can be used. Some players may luck out by encountering a series of L shaped tetrominoes, while others will instead be dealt a more difficult hand. The goal is to get a high score, but this is not always possible.

Hints and Tips
- Even if you are not able to clear a line, it is best to avoid having tetrominos stacked up vertically. Remember that you can eliminate lines further down the screen that have gaps present as lines higher up are cleared.

- Game pieces can be moved quickly, so it is possible to fill in gaps that are irregularly shaped. Practice this skill by attempting to fill in gaps when you are not at risk of losing the game.


We hope you enjoyed the video and the information shared on this classic arcade game.

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