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Image:NES Tetris Box Front.jpg
Developer(s) Alexey Pajitnov (original algorithm), coder Vadim Gerasimov
Publisher(s) Various
Designer(s) Alexey Pajitnov
Platform(s) Various
Release date(s) USSR 1985
NA 1985
Genre(s) Puzzle
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Tetris (Russian: Тетрис) is a puzzle video game originally designed and programmed by Alexey Pajitnov in June 1985, while he was working for the Dorodnicyn Computing Centre of the Academy of Science of the USSR in Moscow.[1] He derived its name from the Greek numerical prefix "tetra-"—as all of the game's pieces (known as Tetrominoes) contain four segments—and tennis, Pajitnov's favorite sport.[2][3]

The game (or one of its many variants) is available for nearly every video game console and computer operating system, as well as on devices such as graphing calculators, mobile phones, portable media players, PDAs and even as an Easter egg on non-media products like oscilloscopes.[4] It has even been played on the sides of various buildings,[5][6] with the record holder for the world's largest fully functional game of Tetris being an effort by Dutch students in 1995 that lit up all 15 floors of the Electrical Engineering department at Delft University of Technology.[7][8][unreliable source?][9]

While versions of Tetris were sold for a range of 1980s home computer platforms, it was the hugely successful handheld version for the Game Boy launched in 1989 that established the reputation of the game as one of the most popular ever. Electronic Gaming Monthly's 100th issue had Tetris in first place as "Greatest Game of All Time". In 2007, Tetris came in second place in IGN's "100 Greatest Video Games of All Time".[10]


[edit] Gameplay

The seven one-sided tetrominoes in their Tetris Worlds colors. Top row, left to right: I, J, L, O. Bottom row: S, T, Z.

A random sequence of tetrominoes (sometimes called "tetrads" in older versions)—shapes composed of four square blocks each—fall down the playing field. The object of the game is to manipulate these tetrominoes, by moving each one sideways and rotating it by 90 degree units, with the aim of creating a horizontal line of blocks without gaps. When such a line is created, it disappears, and any block above the deleted line will fall. As the game progresses, the tetrominoes fall faster, and the game ends when the stack of tetrominoes reaches the top of the playing field and no new tetrominoes are able to enter.

Tetris game manuals refer to the seven one-sided tetrominoes in Tetris as I, J, L, O, S, T, and Z[11]—due to their resembling letters of the alphabet—but players sometimes use other names for the pieces, such as "stick" for I or "snake" for S.[12][unreliable source?][13] All are capable of single and double clears. I, J, and L are able to clear triples. Only the I tetromino has the capacity to clear four lines simultaneously, and this is referred to as a "tetris" (this may vary depending on the rotation and compensation rules of each specific Tetris implementation. For instance, in the Super Rotation System (see below) used in many recent implementations, certain rare situations allow T, S and Z to 'snap' into tight spots, clearing triples).[11]

[edit] Colors of tetrominoes

Pajitnov's original version for the Elektronika 60 computer used green brackets to represent blocks.[3] Versions of Tetris on the original Game Boy and on most dedicated handheld games also use monochrome or grayscale graphics. But most popular versions use a separate color for each distinct shape. Prior to The Tetris Company's standardization in the early 2000s, those colors varied widely from implementation to implementation.

Colors of tetrominoes in various Tetris games
Piece Vadim Gerasimov's
Tetris 3.12
(TGM series)
The New Tetris
and Kids Tetris
SRS (Tetris Worlds
and Tetris DS)
TETЯIS The Soviet
Mind Game
I      red      red      red      cyan      cyan      red      red
J      white      magenta      blue      blue-violet      blue      yellow      orange
L      magenta      yellow      orange      magenta      orange      magenta      magenta
O      dark blue      cyan      yellow      light grey      yellow      blue      blue
S      green      green      magenta      green      green      cyan      green
T      brown      light grey      cyan      yellow      purple      green      olive
Z      cyan      blue      green      red      red      orange      cyan

[edit] Scoring

The scoring formula for the majority of Tetris products is built on the idea that more difficult line clears should be awarded more points. For example, a single line clear in Tetris Zone is worth 100 points, while a back-to-back Tetris is worth 1,200.[14]

Nearly all Tetris games allow the player to press a button to increase the speed of the current piece's descent, rather than waiting for it to fall. If the player can stop the increased speed before the piece reaches the floor by letting go of the button, this is a "soft drop"; otherwise, it is a "hard drop" (some games allow only soft drop or only hard drop; others have separate buttons). Many games award a number of points based on the height the piece fell before locking.

In many games, an animation will complement scoring. For example, in the NES Tetris, Game Boy Tetris, and Game Boy Color Tetris DX, finishing some modes with at least a given score or a given difficulty results in a cut scene. In some cases, this is a rocket lifting off from a launch pad, where higher scores produce a larger rocket, or even the entire city of Moscow lifting off into orbit. Other possible cut scenes show dancers and musicians.

[edit] Gravity

Traditional versions of Tetris move the stacks of blocks down by a distance exactly equal to the height of the cleared rows below them. Contrary to the laws of gravity, blocks may be left floating above gaps. Implementing a different algorithm that uses a flood fill[15] to segment the playfield into connected regions will make each region fall individually, in parallel, until it touches the region at the bottom of the playfield. This opens up additional "chain-reaction" tactics involving blocks cascading to fill additional lines, which may be awarded as more valuable clears.

Original algorithm
Algorithm with chain reactions

[edit] Easy spin dispute

Although not the first Tetris game to feature "easy spin" (see The Next Tetris), also called "infinite spin" by critics,[16] Tetris Worlds was the first game to fall under major criticisms for it. Easy spin refers to the ability of a tetromino's lockdown time to regenerate after left or right movement or rotation, and this has been implemented into The Tetris Company's official guideline.[17] This new type of play differs from traditional Tetris because it takes away the pressure of higher level speed. Some reviewers[18] even went so far as to say that this mechanism broke the game. The goal in Tetris Worlds, however, has to do with completing a certain number of lines as fast as possible, so technically the ability to hold off a piece's placement will not make achieving that goal any faster. Later, GameSpot received "easy spin" more openly, saying "though the infinite spin issue honestly really affects only a few of the single-player gameplay modes in Tetris DS, because any competitive mode requires you to lay down pieces as quickly as humanly possible."[19] In response to the issue, Henk Rogers stated in an interview that infinite spin was part of the guideline, giving a rationale:[17]

So the problem is you get part way through the game, make one small mistake, 'Aw man, I blew it,' and restart. I think that's an annoying way to play the game. So we decided it's better to give them a way to recover from that small mistake, but you're losing time. So if you sat there and rotated for, I don't know, five seconds, you've just taken five seconds out of the game that you needed to score so many points. So you won't find in the top games any gratuitous spinning going on, it just doesn't happen. It helps the beginning player who's trying to figure out what to do. It's a useless feature (for competitive play); it only helps if you're taking the time to think. The better players don't take that much time to think, that's the difference.[17]

[edit] History

Screenshot of the 1986 IBM PC version

Tetris has been involved in many legal battles. In June 1985, Alexey Pajitnov created Tetris on an Elektronika 60 while working for the Soviet Academy of Sciences at their Computer Center in Moscow with Dmitry Pavlovsky, and Vadim Gerasimov ported it to the IBM PC. Gerasimov reports that Pajitnov chose the name "Tetris" as "a combination of 'tetramino' and 'tennis'."[3]

From there, the PC game exploded into popularity, and began spreading all around Moscow. This version is available on Gerasimov's web site.[3]

The IBM PC version eventually made its way to Budapest, Hungary, where it was ported to various platforms and was "discovered" by a British software house named Andromeda. They attempted to contact Pajitnov to secure the rights for the PC version, but before the deal was firmly settled, they had already sold the rights to Spectrum HoloByte. After failing to settle the deal with Pajitnov, Andromeda attempted to license it from the Hungarian programmers instead.

Meanwhile, before any legal rights were settled, the Spectrum HoloByte IBM PC version of Tetris was released in the United States in 1986. The game's popularity was tremendous, and many players were instantly hooked—it was a software blockbuster, with reviews such as in Computer Gaming World calling the game "deceptively simple and insidiously addictive". [20]

The details of the licensing issues were uncertain by this point, but in 1987 Andromeda managed to obtain copyright licensing for the IBM PC version and any other home computer system.

For Amiga and Atari ST two different versions by Spectrum HoloByte and Mirrorsoft became available. The Mirrorsoft version did not feature any background graphics while the Holobyte version had a background picture related to Russian themes for each level. Games were sold as budget titles due to the game's simplicity. Spectrum's Apple II package actually contained three diskettes with three different versions of the game, for the Apple II+ and Apple IIe on separate DOS 3.3 and ProDOS 5-1/4" diskettes, and for the Apple IIgs on a 3-1/2" diskette, none of which were copy-protected: the included documentation specifically charged the purchaser on his or her honor to not give away or copy the extra diskettes.

By 1988, the Soviet government began to market the rights to Tetris through an organization called Elektronorgtechnica, or "Elorg" for short. Pajitnov had granted his rights to the Soviet Government, via the Computer Center he worked at for ten years.[21] By this time Elorg had still seen no money from Andromeda, and yet Andromeda was licensing and sub-licensing rights that they themselves did not even have.

By 1989, half a dozen different companies claimed rights to create and distribute the Tetris software for home computers, game consoles, and handheld systems. Elorg, meanwhile, held that none of the companies were legally entitled to produce an arcade version, and signed those rights over to Atari Games, while it signed non-Japanese console and handheld rights over to Nintendo.

Screenshot of the NES version of TETЯIS: The Soviet Mind Game
Screenshot of the official NES version of Tetris

Tengen (the console software division of Atari Games), regardless, applied for copyright for their Tetris game for the Nintendo Entertainment System, loosely based on the arcade version, and proceeded to market and distribute it under the name TETЯIS: The Soviet Mind Game (with faux Cyrillic typography incorporating the Cyrillic letter Ya), disregarding Nintendo's license from Elorg.

Nintendo contacted Atari Games claiming they had stolen rights to Tetris, whereupon Atari Games sued, believing they had the rights. After only four weeks on the shelf, the courts ruled that Nintendo had the rights to Tetris on home game systems, and Tengen's TETЯIS game was recalled, with an unknown number of copies sold. [22]

Nintendo released their version of Tetris for both the NES and the Game Boy (the Famicom and Game Boy versions were developed by Bullet-Proof Software, Inc., who held the Japanese license, despite Nintendo's license to the game) and sold more than three million copies; some players considered Nintendo's NES version inferior because it lacked the side-by-side simultaneous play of Tengen's version, but Nintendo's Game Boy Tetris became arguably the most well-known version of Tetris, selling over 33 million copies. The lawsuits between Tengen and Nintendo over the Famicom/NES version carried on until 1993.

Sega also released a Tetris game for the Mega Drive, however the ensuing blitz of litigation ensured that it was hastily withdrawn.

Pajitnov himself has made very little money from the deal, even though Nintendo profited greatly from the game.

In 1996, The Tetris Company LLC (TTC) was formed in an effort to derive revenue from Tetris[23]. TTC is now the exclusive licensee of Tetris Holding, LLC, which owns copyright registrations for Tetris products in the United States[24] and trademark registrations for Tetris in most every country in the world.[25] Tetris Holding through TTC has licensed its intellectual property to a number of companies. The U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Customs have at times issued seizure orders to preclude knock-off Tetris games from being imported into the U.S.,[26] despite bulletins circulated by the U.S. Copyright Office stating that copyright does not apply to the rules of a game.[27][28]

Due to the popularity of Tetris, there have also been many knock-off and lookalike games on the Internet, many with names confusingly similar to "Tetris". In order to stop this infringement, TTC and Tetris Holding have vigorously policed and enforced their rights and have sent cease-and-desist letters to websites that infringe the Tetris mark.[29]

[edit] Variations

A 5th generation iPod featuring Tetris (2006)

Tetris has been subject to many changes throughout releases since the 1980s. It is difficult to place a standard on the game, as newer releases frequently progress it either to make the game better or to keep players interested. Newer Tetris games have made the trend of pace rather than endurance. Older releases such as Game Boy or NES Tetris offer records according to points. Since the meter for points is set to only a certain number of digits, these game's records can be "maxed out" by an experienced player. The next big Game Boy release after Tetris, Tetris DX, in marathon mode—comparable to mode A in previous releases—allowed an additional digit for the point meter. Even so, players still maxed it to 9,999,999 points after hours of play. For The New Tetris, world record competitors have spent over 12 hours playing the same game. [30] It is probably for this reason of seemingly everlasting play that in both Tetris DX and The New Tetris, the new modes sprint and ultra were added. These modes require the player to act under a timer—either to gain the most lines or points in that time. Recent releases like Tetris Worlds did away completely with point records. This particular game kept records by how fast a certain number of lines could be cleared depending on the level. A drawback of this deviation, along with some other newer features, is that many traditional players rejected these advances all together. Critics of Tetris Worlds said it was broken due to how a piece is able to hover over the bottom for as long as a player needs;[18] although, players of the game generally do not mind this feature because exploiting it will only hinder play, which is unfavorable to making a record time. Tetris LLC has been juggling different features with different modes of play in past years trying to satisfy traditional and newer players alike.

There are many different modes of play added in recent years. Modes appearing in more than one major release include: classic marathon (game A), sprint (otherwise game B or 40 lines), ultra, square, and cascade.

The field dimension of Tetris is perhaps the least deviated among releases: almost always 10 cells wide by 20 high. Some releases on handheld platforms with small screens have smaller fields; for example, the Tetris Jr. keychain game has 8 by 12, and Tetris for Game Boy has 10 by 18.

Traditionally, blocks spawn within the four most central columns and the two highest rows. The I tetromino occupies columns 4, 5, 6 and 7, the O tetromino occupies columns 5 and 6, and the remaining 5 tetrominoes occupy columns 4, 5 and 6 (or in some, especially older, versions, 5, 6 and 7). In some more recent games, pieces spawn above the visible playfield.

In traditional games, a level-up would occur once every ten lines are cleared. During a level-up, the blocks fall slightly faster, and typically more points are given. In some newer games such as Tetris Worlds, the number of lines required vary upon each new level. For example, NES Tetris operates at 60 frames per second. At level 0, a piece falls one step every 48 frames, and at level 19, a piece falls one step every 2 frames. Level increments either terminate at a certain point (Game Boy Tetris tops off at level 20) or increase forever yet not in speed after a certain point. NES Tetris will level up in until the speed of level 29 (due to limitations of the game's engine, pieces are not capable of dropping faster than this), but tool-assisted emulation will show that the level indicator increases indefinitely—eventually leading to a glitch where the meter displays non-numeric characters. Modern games such as Tetris the Grand Master or Tetris Worlds, at their highest levels, opt to drop a piece more than one row per frame. Pieces will appear to reach the bottom as soon as they spawn. As a result, these games have a delay that lets the player slide the piece on the bottom for a moment to help deal with an otherwise unplayable fall speed. In some games, the hover time is regenerated after a piece is moved or rotated.

Soft drops were first implemented in Nintendo releases of Tetris so that pieces would be able to drop faster while not lock as to slide into gaps. The other option is hard dropping, which originated in early PC games such as Microsoft Tetris, a game developed by Dave Edson and bundled with Microsoft Entertainment Pack. With hard dropping, a piece falls and locks in one frame. Newer Tetris games feature both options. Some games have their locking roles reversed, with soft dropping making the pieces drop faster and locking down, and hard dropping making the pieces drop instantly but not lock.

Single direction rotation is an older restriction that has since been ruled out in nearly every new official release by the favor of separate buttons for clockwise and one for counterclockwise rotation. In traditional games, the unsymmetrical vertical orientation I-, Z-, and S-pieces will fill the same columns for each clockwise and counter clockwise rotation. Some games vary this by allowing two possible column orientations: one for counter clockwise and one for clockwise rotations. Double rotation, only seen in progressive clones such as Quadra and DTET, rotates the piece 180 degrees.

One of the features most appreciated by skilled players is wall kick, or the ability of rotating the pieces even if these touch the left or right walls. In the NES version, for example, if a Z piece is "vertically" aligned and falling touching the left wall, the player cannot rotate the piece, giving the impression that the rotate buttons are locked. In this situation, the player has to move the piece one position to the right before rotating it, losing precious time. Proper implementations of wall kick first appeared in the arcade version of Tetris by Atari Games.

Piece preview allows a look at the next piece to enter the field. This feature has been implemented since the earliest games, though in those early games, having the preview turned on made the score increase more slowly.

[edit] Newest features

Newer versions of Tetris add different scoring goals not present in traditional Tetris. As achieving these goals while not topping out becomes more difficult, these games usually add a few features to help the player.

The New Tetris and The Next Tetris are the first official Tetris games to feature multiple piece previews, showing 3 in advance. Tetris Worlds for PCs and game consoles add 5 more, while the GBA version retains the 3 piece preview. Tetris DS uses the 6-piece preview.

The New Tetris also introduced the "ghost piece", an obscuration in the shape of the current piece over where that piece would drop. The feature reduces mistakes, especially for beginners and high-speed players.

Hold piece is an optional ability to reserve a piece for later use, allowing a player to either avoid undesirable pieces or save desirable ones, usually the I piece or a piece needed to complete another goal. Some clones featured it as a powerup that the player could earn and use once. A hold piece available to the player at all times was first featured in The New Tetris. Most games that have hold piece activate it when the player presses a dedicated button, often a shoulder button;[31] other games[which?] activate it when both rotate buttons are pressed simultaneously. When hold piece is activated, it causes the falling piece to move to the top and trade places with the hold piece. However, the feature cannot be activated twice in a row; it is disabled until the piece released from hold locks in the well.

Initial rotation and Initial hold are features that make the game accept rotation/hold button inputs while the next piece is still in the preview area. With initial rotation, when the player holds down the rotation button after the previous piece has locked down but before the next piece comes into the well, the next piece will come into the well in an already rotated state. Initial hold works similarly, as the piece will be already swapped with the hold piece when it enters the well. Initial rotation and Initial hold first appeared in the Tetris: The Grand Master series.

Tetris DS features wireless on-line play through the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection system. This new version also takes advantage of the touch screen in the added "Touch Mode," which has no time limit. Instead, every block is already placed in a tall tower, and the player uses the stylus from the Nintendo DS to shift blocks left and right and, in earlier towers, rotate blocks. The goal is to clear enough lines so that a cage of balloons reaches the ground (this mode is themed on the NES video game Balloon Fight, hence the cage of balloons).

Tetris DS also introduces the Metroid-themed "Catch Mode". In this mode, the pieces still fall downward, but the stack is moved and rotated instead. As the falling pieces bump against the stack, they get clustered into it. To clear blocks, there must be a solid area of the stack that is 4×4 or larger. When this happens, the blocks glow and the music changes. After ten seconds or upon pressing the X button, these blocks disappear and shoot a laser beam in a plus-shape, the horizontal part equal to the number of rows cleared and the vertical equal to the columns. This laser beam will destroy falling blocks and Metroid enemies in its path. The parts of the stack not hit by the laser beam will be pulled in towards the center of the stack after the laser beam dies. If a piece falls below of the bottom screen, the stack hits a falling block while rotating, or the stack hits a Metroid, the stack loses Energy. The player loses if the stack runs out of Energy or if the stack becomes so large that it can no longer fit on the bottom screen.

Tetris Mania by EA Games brings back the Fusion and Sticky modes from Tetris Worlds. In Fusion, "atom" blocks must be activated, the number of those needing to be activated increases per level. Activated atoms wills also activate other atoms that they touch, and are generated two for every seven Tetriminoes. Gravity will not be activated until a line is cleared containing an atom of fusion block. In Sticky, based on The Next Tetris, you need to clear the bottom row of starting tiles. In each level there are more starting tiles that are harder to clear. The pieces in this game are made up of different colored minos that "stick" to those of the same color. Gravity is always a factor.

The Tetris arcade game by Atari Games offered different "puzzles" for selected rounds. The first three rounds are played normally, with no obstacles. At the start of round 4, eight bricks are placed vertically along each side of the well. Round 5 begins with ten bricks scattered throughout the bottom five rows. Round 6 begins with twenty bricks arranged in a pyramid. In rounds 7 through 9, the well starts out empty but single bricks will appear at random on top of your puzzle each time a piece lands that does not clear any lines, potentially thwarting any advance planning you may have done. In rounds 10 through 12, incomplete "garbage" lines will randomly pop up underneath your puzzle, pushing the puzzle upward, when a piece lands without clearing any lines. Rounds 13 through 15 begin with more blocks arranged in predetermined patterns, and the cycle continues throughout the remaining rounds in the game in groups of three.

[edit] Tetris variants

Several Tetris variants exist. Some feature alternate rules and pieces, and others have completely different gameplay.

Because of its popularity and the relatively simple code required to produce the game, a game with nearly the same rules as Tetris is often used as a hello world project for programmers coding for a new system or programming language. This has resulted in the availability of a large number of ports for different platforms, most of which are not endorsed by The Tetris Company and are given away freely. For instance, µTorrent and GNU Emacs contain tetromino stacking games as easter eggs.[32][33]

[edit] End of play

Players can lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the tetrominoes stack up to the top of the playing field.

[edit] Would it be possible to play forever?

The question Would it be possible to play forever? was first encountered in a thesis by John Brzustowski in 1988[34] and has been more recently investigated in published articles by Walter Kosters. The conclusion reached was that a player is inevitably doomed to lose. The reason has to do with the S and Z tetrominoes. If a player receives a large sequence of S tetrominoes, the naïve gravity used by the standard game eventually forces the player to leave a hole in a corner.

Suppose that player then receives a large sequence of Z tetrominoes. Eventually, that player will be forced to leave a hole in the opposite corner without clearing the previous hole. Back and forth, the holes will necessarily stack to the top. If the pieces are distributed randomly, this sequence will eventually occur. Thus, if a game with an ideal, uniform, uncorrelated random number generator is played long enough, any player will top out.[35]

Practically, this does not occur in most of Tetris variants. Some variants allow the player to choose to play with only S and Z tetrominoes,[36] and a good player may survive well over 150 consecutive tetrominoes this way. On an implementation with an ideal uniform randomizer, the probability at any given time of the next 150 tetrominoes being only S and Z is one in (2/7)150 (approximately 2×10-82). Most implementations use a pseudorandom number generator to generate the sequence of tetrominoes, and such an S–Z sequence is almost certainly not contained in the sequence produced by the 32-bit linear congruential generator in many implementations (which has roughly 4.2 × 109 states). In fact, newer Tetris brand games from 2001 and later tend to follow a new guideline such that the randomizer generates all seven tetrominoes in a permutation at one time, guaranteeing an even distribution over the short term,[citation needed] and this randomizer allows the player to continue a game indefinitely in theory, often clearing all blocks from the playfield.[citation needed] On the other hand, the "evil" algorithm in Bastet often starts a game with a series of more than seven Z pieces.

Recent versions of Tetris such as Tetris Worlds allow the player to continuously rotate a block once it hits the bottom of the playfield, without it locking into place (see Easy spin dispute, above). This permits a player to play for an infinite amount of time, though not necessarily to land an infinite number of blocks.

[edit] Music

  • Music A in the original Game Boy edition of Tetris has become very widely known, to the point that Level 20 in Tetris DS is based on the original Game Boy version of Tetris and uses that theme. It is an instrumental arrangement of a Russian folk tune called "Korobeiniki" (with various Latin spellings), which has been covered by UK dance band Doctor Spin, US alternative rock band Ozma, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra and also the German techno group Scooter on their 2007 album Jumping All Over the World. It was also sampled in "21 Concepts" by MC Lars. Music A and B are also remixed and arranged for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and can be selected for the stage "Luigi's Mansion", as well as being used in custom stages. The song has also been remixed by South Korean artist Yahpp for Andamiro's "Pump it Up NX2" dance game, with the title of "Pumptris Quattro. An 8-bit version of the song can also be found on the game.
  • Music 1 in the NES version is "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy", a tune noted to be scene 14c of act two of The Nutcracker, composed by Tchaikovsky.
  • One song in the BPS and Tengen versions is the "Kalinka", a famous Russian song written by Ivan Petrovich Larionov.
  • Music C in the Game Boy version is an arrangement of Johann Sebastian Bach's French Suite No. 3 In B Minor, BWV 814, V. Menuett - Trio.
  • Nintendocore band Powerglove used Music A & B in the 1st track of their 2nd album, 'Total Pwnage', naming the song 'Tetris (Themes B And C)' It opens playing Theme B normally, quickly followed by the 2 themes being played on guitars with numerous effects.

[edit] Effect of Tetris on the brain

According to intensive research from Dr. Michael Crane and Dr. Richard Haier, et al. prolonged Tetris activity can also lead to more efficient brain activity during play.[37] When first playing Tetris, brain function and activity increases, along with greater cerebral energy consumption, measured by glucose metabolic rate. As Tetris players become more proficient, their brains show a reduced consumption of glucose, indicating more efficient brain activity for this task.[38] The game can also cause a repetitive stress symptom in that the brain will involuntarily picture tetris combinations even when the player is not playing the game (the Tetris effect), although this can occur with any computer game showcasing repeated images or scenarios.

In January 2009, an Oxford University research group headed by Dr Emily Holmes reported in PLoS ONE that for healthy volunteers, playing ‘Tetris’ soon after viewing traumatic material in the laboratory reduced the number of flashbacks to those scenes in the following week. They believe that the computer game may disrupt the memories that are retained of the sights and sounds witnessed at the time, and which are later re-experienced through involuntary, distressing flashbacks of that moment. The group hope to develop this approach further as a potential intervention to reduce the flashbacks experienced in PTSD, but emphasised that these are only preliminary results.[39]

[edit] Popular culture

Tetris' popularity has resulted in its appearance in the media. It was featured in two episodes of the video-game oriented cartoon Captain N: The Game Master. It was also referenced in the Muppet Babies episode "It's Only Pretendo", The Simpsons episode "Strong Arms of the Ma" (where Homer uses the Tetris effect on his brain to fill his car with family and his shopping goods but fails to leave room for him) as well as "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo", Family Guy episode "Prick Up Your Ears", and Futurama episode "Fear of a Bot Planet." Commercials also occasionally parody the game. Police Academy: Mission to Moscow alluded to Tetris by depicting the Russians trying to hypnotize Americans through a puzzle video game referred to as "The Game" in the movie. On The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert's right-wing character mourned the passing of a more innocent time by remarking that in today's America, among other divisive factors, there is "no one game where when we close our eyes we still see the shapes falling." A Honda commercial showed pieces similar to the blocks in the Tetris games along with electronics, suitcases, pieces of furniture, and a hamster cage into a Honda Fit, the automobile the commercial was advertising. The commercial ends with a robotic voice proclaiming, "The Fit is Go!". Even other videogames have shown tributes to Tetris such as the character Ai from NeoGeo Battle Colosseum, who can summon and attack characters with various Tetris blocks.

In 2007, video game website GameFAQs hosted its sixth annual "Character Battle", in which the users nominate their favorite video game characters for a popularity contest in which characters participate. The L-shaped Tetris piece (or "L-Block" as it was called) entered the contest as a joke character, but on November 4, 2007, it won the contest.[40]

In Japan, a hugely popular live-action game called Brain Wall (also referred to commonly as "Human Tetris") ran for a number of seasons on a Japanese variety show. Contestants would be assigned to teams (Red or Blue) and paired with recurring characters. Each team would then, in turn, face a wall of painted styrofoam with a Tetris-like shape carved out. The wall would advance on the contestant, who must pass through the opening by posing, squeezing or jumping. Later levels have a pool of water at the end of the run (the effect being to force the contestant into the pool if they fail.) The recurring characters provide running commentary, built-in rivalry and comic relief. Due to the game's popularity as a viral video, versions of the game have been exported around the world as a dedicated show, commonly known in English regions as Hole in the Wall.

In Thomas Pynchon's 2006 novel, Against the Day, mention is made of a "Captain Igor Padzhitnoff" (presumably pronounced the same as Pajitnov) whose preferred method of causing trouble was "to arrange for bricks and masonry, always in the four-block fragments which had become his 'signature,' to fall on and damage targets designated by his superiors".[41]

In 2008, the New Zealand Army published recruitment advertisements depicting troop movements and supply drops in Tetris-style formations. [2] [3]

In 2009, songwriter Jonathan Mann depicted the history of the game's development as a humorous musical narrative from the perspective of Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov. The account mentions several of the major players in Tetris' commercial success including Robert Maxwell, Robert Stein and Hank Rogers.

[edit] Awards

The long history of Tetris resulted in a Guinness World Record awarding the franchise nine world records in the Gamer's Edition. These records include, "Most Ported Video Game", "Game With the Most Official and Unofficial Variants", and "Longest Prison Sentence for Playing a Video Game", which is held by Faiz Chopdat, who was jailed for four months for playing Tetris on his cell phone while on a flight to Manchester, England. He refused to stop playing after being repeatedly warned by the cabin staff.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ The Tetris saga Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  2. ^ Pajitnov interview, G4 "Icons", ep. 305, originally aired on April 22, 2004.
  3. ^ a b c d Gerasimov, Vadim. Original Tetris: Story and Download. Retrieved June 10, 2007.
  4. ^ "HP 54600B Oscilloscope Easter Eggs - Eeggs.com". Eeggs.com. http://www.eeggs.com/items/39244.html. Retrieved on 2008-11-12. 
  5. ^ "La Bastille: A Tech House Art Installation". Bastilleweb.techhouse.org. http://bastilleweb.techhouse.org/. Retrieved on 2008-11-12. 
  6. ^ "Huge Tetris Game Played On Dorm Building - Geekologie". Geekologie.com. December 7 2007. http://www.geekologie.com/2007/12/huge_tetris_game_played_on_dor.php. Retrieved on 2008-11-12. 
  7. ^ "Tetris takes over tower block". BBC News (UK: BBC). 19 April 2000. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/718009.stm. "The group, Tech House, says it is currently the world's largest fully functional Tetris game. The current record holder according to the Guinness Book of World Records is a Dutch effort that lit up 15 floors at Delft University in 1995. … The Dutch game was also built by students, from the Electrical Engineering department at Delft University of Technology. It was displayed on 15 floors of a 96-metre tall building and used 3.5 kilometres of cable and 400 lights. Internet users could play the game through a telnet session." 
  8. ^ Martijn van Osch (2006-04-24). "2000 Square Meter Of Tetris" (HTML). Fresh Creation. http://www.freshcreation.com/entry/2000_square_meter_of_tetris/. Retrieved on 2008-02-21. "In the year 2000 some people came up with the idea of making the world's largest Tetris game (video above). At first they thought they succeeded but later on they found out that some dutch guys had beaten them by far in november 1995. The dutch guys of the Delft University Of Technology pulled their stunt in 1995 by making the world's largest Tetris game. They did this using the lights of the officerooms of a 96.2 meters high building which resulted in more than 2000m2 of Tetris." 
  9. ^ "TETRIS for Buildings: Play the game yourself!" (HTML). Electrotechnische Vereeniging. Delft University of Technology. 18 november 1995. http://www.etv.tudelft.nl/vereeniging/archief/lustrum/90/english.html. Retrieved on 2008-02-21. "The Electrical Engineering Student Association ETV celibrated in november 1995 its ninetieth aniversary and used this huge stunt to op its aniversary year. The World largest Tetris Game on a building and of course on the internet. People all over the world could play the game Tetris by using a simple telnet session and all the West of Holland could watch what they were doing on this building. At the same time the Telecom Student Club of ETV used a GSM telephone and a laptop to put every 10 seconds a picture on the Web. So this way you could see the crowd in front of the building watching the game you were playing. … On a 96meters high building, we used 15 floors and each floor had 10 rooms. So we created a huge billboard of more than 2000m2." 
  10. ^ IGN Top 100 Games of All Time - 2007
  11. ^ a b Tetris DS manual. Nintendo, 2006
  12. ^ Mark Thornton and Billy Husky. The Tetris Taxonomy: The Pieces. Retrieved on May 1, 2007.
  13. ^ Demaine, Erik D.; Susan Hohenberger, David Liben-Nowell (2003). Tetris is Hard, Even to Approximate. Springer Berlin / Heidelberg. http://www.springerlink.com/content/cpb74bmbw5q6gy7n/. Retrieved on 2007-11-03.  Article access is restricted to SpringerLink subscribers; the arxiv preprint is available to the public as of 2008-11-12.
  14. ^ Tetris Zone manual as of 2008-11-12
  15. ^ "tetanus.c". LOCKJAW: The Overdose, milestone 4.
  16. ^ Tetris Worlds for Game Boy Advance Review - GameSpot
  17. ^ a b c Tetris from the Top, April 6, 2006. Retrieved on April 28, 2007.
  18. ^ a b Jeff Gerstmann, Ryan Davis (19 April 2002). "Tetris Worlds for PlayStation 2 Review". GameSpot. http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/puzzle/tetrisworlds/review.html. Retrieved on 12 November 2008. 
  19. ^ Tetris DS for DS Review - GameSpot
  20. ^ Wagner, Roy (May 1988), "Puzzling Encounters", Computer Gaming World: 42–43 
  21. ^ Boyes, Emma. Q&A Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov. Retrieved October 31, 2007.
  22. ^ "The Wish List". Edge presents Retro. 2002. 
  23. ^ Blue Planet Software, Inc. v. Pajitnov, 334 F. Supp 2d 425 (S.D.N.Y. 2004).
  24. ^ See, e.g., Copyright Registration Nos. PAu 1-214-036; PAu 1-214-035; PA 412-169; PA 412-170, among others.
  25. ^ ee, e.g., Trademark Registration Nos. 1,753,062 (USA); 1,657,499 (USA); 1,742,325 (USA); 1,382,544 (UK); 1,382,543 (UK); 507644 (Taiwan); 498703 (Taiwan); 098,381 (Peru); 097, 244 (Peru); 266/36 (Saudi Arabia), among others.
  26. ^ See Luxury Int’l, Inc. v. U.S., No. 99-02-00093, Slip Op. 00-27 (Ct. Int’l Trade 2000), holding that Luxury violated Customs' administrative procedure; U.S. Customs Service Memorandum Order, ENF-4-02-RR:IT:IP 470343 GFM (Dec. 19, 2000); U.S. Customs Service Memorandum Order, ENF4-02-RR:IT:IP 469107 GFM (July 31, 2000).
  27. ^ U.S. Copyright Office. Title 17, United States Code, section 102. Accessed March 12, 2009.
  28. ^ U.S. Copyright Office. "Publication FL-108: Games." June 2008. Explanation of how 17 USC 102(b) limits the extent to which copyright applies to the rules of a game. Accessed March 12, 2009.
  29. ^ Aughton, Simon. "Tetris blocks Mac Quinn game." MacUser. July 11, 2006. Accessed March 12, 2009.
  30. ^ "Welcome to Twin Galaxies". Twingalaxies.com. http://www.twingalaxies.com/index.aspx?c=12&id=635. Retrieved on 2008-11-12. 
  31. ^ The New Tetris, Tetris Worlds, Tetris DS, and Tetris Party assign hold to the L button.
  32. ^ µTorrent Easter Egg: Tetris in µTorrent
  33. ^ macosxhints.com - Play Tetris in Terminal via emacs
  34. ^ John Brzustowski. Can You Win at Tetris? Retrieved February 25, 2007.
  35. ^ Dr. Burgiel's Tetris Research Page, Explanation Retrieved February 25, 2007.
  36. ^ LOCKJAW - Options Retrieved February 25, 2007.
  37. ^ "PII: 0006-8993(92)90573-R" (PDF). http://www.ucihs.uci.edu/pediatrics/faculty/neurology/haier/pdf/50.pdf. Retrieved on 2008-11-12. 
  38. ^ Haier, R. Siegal, B. MacLachlan, A. et al (1991). Regional glucose metabolic changes after learning a complex visuospatial/motor task: a positron emission tomographic study. Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA (U.S.A.)
  39. ^ [1]
  40. ^ "Fall 2007: The Great GameFAQs Character Battle VI". GameFAQs. http://www.gamefaqs.com/features/contest/cb6. Retrieved on 2007-11-29. 
  41. ^ Pynchon, T: "Against The Day", page 123. The Penguin Press, 2006.

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