The 80s was an iconic decade for shaping the future of the business and consumer technology industries. It gave us the Sony Walkman, the IBM personal computer, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the VHS player. All of these classics have really helped to push things forward in the world of technology and how we use it in our everyday lives. But one piece of ‘entertainment software’ created back in 1984 has hardly changed over the last 30 years and that’s why I’m writing this blog; to celebrate Tetris turning 30.
Designed and created in Moscow by Alexey Pajitnov at the age of 27, Tetris was released on June 6th 1984 in Russia and within years it started its global expansion. The addictive puzzle game soon became available on nearly every video game console and operating system. It was only a matter of time before the game made the transition over to mobile phones, calculators and even as an Easter egg on oscilloscopes! Who would’ve thought that the simple concept thought up by Pajitnov would become one of the most iconic video games in history?
So what has made Tetris so popular in the first place? The concept is simple, randomly shaped blocks made of four squares will drop onto the playing field. As they’re dropping, the player has to manipulate the blocks in order to create a horizontal line of blocks without any gaps in it. The idea is that the player keeps creating these lines in order to increase the score and every 10 lines that are created will increase the game’s difficulty level making it more challenging. This concept does mean that you can’t ‘win’ a game of Tetris because it never ends, but that won’t stop you from trying again and again to beat your high score. It’s such a simple game and anyone can play it, but it takes a lot of skill to master.
Fast forward to 2014 and you wouldn’t be mistaken to expect the popularity of Tetris to be waning. However, it seems that modern technology has given the game a new lease of life thanks to the range of modern technology at our fingertips, including the internet, smartphones, tablets and social networks. Tetris has been made more accessible than ever, which is doing wonders for its popularity. The game has achieved more than 425 million paid mobile downloads while Tetris Battle on Facebook has reached more than 20 billion games played to date, making it one of the social network’s most popular games. Not bad for a game created on a terminal computer that had no graphics capability so text had to be used to form the blocks.
Seeing as Tetris manages to find itself on pretty much everything, I’m sure that the world will stay addicted to this classic puzzle game and that we’ll continue to be blogging about the success of such a simple concept for many years to come. Happy birthday Tetris, here’s to many more years of fun and addiction!