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Tetris is perhaps the most instantly recognizable, popular video game ever made. Sales of authorized copies total near $1 billion to date, and that is just a fraction of the money made from knockoffs and pirated versions. Based on an obscure board game, it was designed for early computers, became a hit on TV consoles, and soared in popularity with handheld devices like the Game Boy. Today it lives on in smartphones, tablets, and laptops. All this despite the fact--or perhaps because of it--that it has no superhero to merchandise and no story to dramatize. Tetris is abstraction translated to bytes, a puzzle game in its purest form. Yet its origin story is so improbable that it's amazing that any of us ever played the game. In this surprising and entertaining book, tech reporter Dan Ackerman explains how a Soviet programmer named Alexey Pajitnov was struck with inspiration as a teenager, then meticulously worked for years to bring the game he had envisioned to life. Despite the archaic machines (outdated even for their era) that Pajitnov worked with and the fact that he had to develop the game after-hours on his own time, Tetris worked its way first through his office, and then out of it, entrancing player after player with its hypnotic shapes. It became almost a metaphor for the late Soviet era, with the kinetic energy of commerce pushing ever harder against the walls put up by the government. British, American, and Japanese moguls saw the game's potential and worked, often unscrupulously, to beat each other in the race to sell the game. Ackerman tells the story of these men and their maneuvers, and how the game made it to consumers hands in the United States on a Game Boy screen in 1989. Full of plot twists and fascinating trivia, "The Tetris Effect" reveals the story of one of the greatest games ever created. It is an homage to both creator and creation, and a perfect gift for anyone who's ever played the game--which is to say anyone at all."
The definitive story of a game so great, even the Cold War couldn't stop it Tetris is perhaps the most instantly recognizable, popular video game ever made. But how did an obscure Soviet programmer, working on frail, antiquated computers, create a product which has now earned nearly 1 billion in sales? How did a makeshift game turn into a worldwide sensation, which has been displayed at the Museum of Modern Art, inspired a big-budget sci-fi movie, and been played in outer space? A quiet but brilliant young man, Alexey Pajitnov had long nurtured a love for the obscure puzzle game pentominoes, and became obsessed with turning it into a computer game. Little did he know that the project that he labored on alone, hour after hour, would soon become the most addictive game ever made. In this fast-paced business story, reporter Dan Ackerman reveals how Tetris became one of the world's first viral hits, passed from player to player, eventually breaking through the Iron Curtain into the West. British, American, and Japanese moguls waged a bitter fight over the rights, sending their fixers racing around the globe to secure backroom deals, while a secretive Soviet organization named ELORG chased down the game's growing global profits. The Tetris Effect is an homage to both creator and creation, and a must-read for anyone who's ever played the game--which is to say everyone.
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"The definitive telling of one of the most fascinating stories in videogame history." -- WIRED "Ackerman's account of the rise of Tetris is as captivating as watching the game's multi-colored, four-squared objects (known as "tetrominoes") vanish before your eyes with the right move." -- Fortune Online