June sixth in World Tetris Day, and is also the anniversary of the creation of the game. It has served as a source of entertainment throughout many of our lives, however we never really discuss it’s history.
It was created by Alexey Pajitnov, who at the tie was working at the computer lab for the Academy of Science of the USSR. He had a passion for puzzles and in 1984, it occurred to him that they might be a good basis for a computer game.
He soon discovered that 12 pentomino pieces rotating was a little too complicated, so he scaled it down to tetrominoes. The original program was created for Electronika 60, a Russian computer which did not have many graphics, forcing him to use letters to create the pieces.
Once the game was created and he wanted to export it to the rest of the world, things got slightly bizarre and the KGB took part. A games licenser of the time, Henk Rogers discovered Tetris at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas in 1988, and believed that it would be a great success, purchasing all the licensing rights.
When it came to securing rights to sell it for Game Boy, he went to the USSR bureau. The KGB sent two agents to Roger’s office in Japan and he was given the console rights for Tetris.
Once the game became available everywhere, it also became addictive. Psychologists have found that this is due the patterns, which after playing the game so much, you can still see the blocks falling even when you close your eyes at night.
Psychologists also explain that the memory for uncompleted tasks, known as the Zeigarnik effect is exactly what Tetris does, it’s a world of uncompleted tasks.
When we need the memory to perform the task at hand, we have the needed brainpower. But once the task is completed, our memory stops thinking about it. Tetris takes advantage of this memory hook for uncompleted tasks and takes into a never ending loop of generating new tasks.