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article imagePuzzle game Tetris celebrates its 25th birthday today

By David Silverberg     Jun 6, 2009 in Technology
Today marks the 25th anniversary of Tetris's launch to the world. When Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov completed that first playable puzzle game on June 6, 1984, he changed the landscape of video games across the world.
The puzzle game Tetris has evolved into one of the most popular video games of all time. According to the Guiness Book of World Records, more than 125 million copies have been sold so far on more than 50 different gaming platforms.
It's a game played by as many women as men, as many kids as adults. Tetris's appeal crosses boundaries, winning fans in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
On Saturday, Tetris celebrates its 25th birthday as a gamechanger bar none. Today, Tetris Online is played around 1 million times per day. The Nintendo DS version of the software sold 2 million copies.
All this popularity from a game created and owned by Russians. In June 1984, Alexey Pajitnov was working at the Soviet Academy of Sciences and created games in his spare time. When he got a new Elektronika 60 computer, he experimented with a new puzzle game that used pieces created out of text brackets.
Pajitnov and some programmer friends soon began work bringing the game to the MS-DOS platform. This new version of Tetris excited gamers and publishers, and eventually encouraged Nintendo to launch Tetris on its new mobile device, the Game Boy.
When the Soviet Union collapsed and the rights to Tetris returned back to Pajitnov, he formed The Tetris Company with a game industry entrepreneur. Since then, Tetris clones have sprung up across the world, and critics often point out no other game has been able to touch Tetris's ease of use and appeal.
The idea behind the game is universal: fit various shapes into a line and form perfect horizontal lines. You had to arrange the blocks so the tower didn't reach too high. Gamers that could score four lines in a row with one shape nabbed a "Tetris."
It's not just a fun game. Several studies have pointed out the intellectual rigour of perfecting the game. A recent report from Oxford University found playing Tetris could reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Tetris fanatics aren't just playing the game; they want to redefine it. One of the more intriguing projects comes from Intel's Pittsburgh research lab: they are planning to make a version of Tetris that would require moving your entire body to position the pieces.
From Soviet-era Tetris to full-body Tetris -- this powerful game has seen a lot in its 25 years, and it likely won't be retiring anytime soon.
More about Tetris, Video games, Alexey pajitnov
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