In honor of #throwbackthursday and Game Boy’s recent birthday (it’s been 25 years, can you believe it?) we’d like to give a shout out to greatest game ever created. Of course, we’re talking about Tetris. First released in Russia in 1984, the word ‘Tetris‘ is not in fact Russian for anything, but instead part Greek (-tetra means four) and part ‘tennis,’ since its programmer, Alexey Pajitnov, really loved the sport.
The game is ridiculously simple, yet extremely challenging at the same time. Its basic game play involves fitting shapes into other shapes in just the right way so that there’s no empty space between them. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong. Sometimes the shapes move at lightning-fast speeds, and it is very easy to get completely sucked into the game, constantly insisting that you’re just going to play ‘one more.’ Two hours later, your eyes are watering from staring at a small screen for so long.
The fact is, Tetris is the greatest time-suck ever, and that’s not the only reason why we love it so much:
1. You don’t even have to be good at it to rule at it
FYI, there’s actually a world record championship for Tetris, and in 2007, a woman named Lori Baker managed to build 841 Tetris lines. Do you realize how many lines that is? And according to her, that wasn’t even her best game! But, it is the one that won her the title that year after playing for an hour straight. Lori was by no means a gamer, she simply played it when she was bored. Her husband, Billy, heard of the championship, and realized she’d be perfect for it. Her whole story is fascinating, and you can tell Billy was beaming with pride through the whole thing. So next time your mom’s like, “what are you doing with your life?” you can tell her you might be the next Tetris world champion, because you never know.
2. We wouldn’t have Candy Crush without Tetris
There’s no way you can look at any of the viral apps of today, and not find their root in Tetris. While the two games are different, they are still strikingly similar (think, like Hunger Games and Divergent). I doubt Candy Crush would be so ridiculously addicting/frustrating if it didn’t have Tetris to look up to as a wise older brother.
3. It’s culturally accepted and played around the world
Tetris has been played in over 185 countries, along with being translated into 50 different languages and programmed for 50 different video game consoles, from smart phones, to graphing calculators, to Xboxes. It is one of the most universally recognized games around the world, if not the most popular. For comparison, Grand Theft Auto has sold over 150 million copies worldwide; Tetris has sold 425 million copies on mobile devices alone.
4. You can play it anywhere–even on buildings
This past April, a professor at Drexel University set the world record for largest Tetris game when he played it on two sides of a 29-story building
.5. You use Tetris every day and you probably don’t realize it
For all of you folks going back to college this fall, think about how awful it is to pack up the family car with your entire life. Think about how you will pull everything down into the basement, stare at it for a while, and then figure out how you’re going to pack it all. You’re implementing your own version of Tetris. Let’s call it: Car Hero Tetris.
6. Tetris pieces make great costumes
Earlier this summer, a hoard of Tetris fans crammed into a London club all dressed as Tetris pieces to celebrate the game’s 30th birthday. See how cool everyone looks? Halloween isn’t so far away. Just planting the seed.
7. It’s delicious
Last month, the world got its first glimpse of Tetris-themed tater tots: little pieces of fried goodness shaped like Tetris pieces. Yes, they’re for real. Monarch made these “puzzle potatoes” that nourish your inner-child’s gaming addiction. Around the same time, MIT’s student center offered students Tetris hash browns, because why not? The world is your Tetris board, go forth and make lines.