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Happy birthday Tetris: classic video game turns 30

Tetris VeryFirstVersion
Tetris VeryFirstVersion

Russian block puzzle game Tetris is 30 years old today. The video game was created by Soviet scientists in the 1980s.

Originally designed and programmed by Alexey Pajitnov and released on June 6, 1984, he  devised the game while  working for the Dorodnicyn Computing Centre of the Academy of Science of the USSR in Moscow.

Since then, a version of the game has appeared on just about every console and gaming platform since then.

On World Tetris Day (6 June 2014), the University of Sheffield’s Dr Tom Stafford said the game’s enduring appeal lies in it taking advantage of the mind’s basic pleasure in tidying up by feeding it with a “world of perpetual uncompleted tasks”.

Dr Stafford, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Psychology, said the chain of partial-solutions and new unsolved tasks can have the same kind of satisfaction as scratching an itch.

He explained that Tetris is so moreish that one writer once described it as a ‘pharmatronic’ – an electronic with all the mind-altering properties of a drug – with the Tetris Effect leaving players seeing falling shapes in their mind’s eye even after they’ve finished playing.

Dr Stafford said: “Tetris is the granddaddy of puzzle games like Candy Crush saga – the things that keep us puzzling away for hours, days and weeks.”

“Tetris is pure game: there is no benefit to it, nothing to learn, no social or physical consequence. It is almost completely pointless, but keeps us coming back for more.”

French publisher Ubisoft has just announced Tetris Ultimate for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, ensuring that a new generation of gamers will continue to play the game that has had millions enthralled by its simplicity.