The Story of Tetris | Gaming Historian

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In 1984, during the Cold War, a Russian programmer named Alexey Pajitnov created something special: A puzzle game called Tetris. It soon gained a cult following within the Soviet Union. A battle for the rights to publish Tetris erupted when the game crossed the Iron Curtain. Tetris not only took the video game industry by storm, it helped break the boundaries between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Intro – 00:00
Part 1: Pajitnov – 01:49
Part 2: Into the West – 10:03
Part 3: The Red Box – 17:19
Part 4: Enter Nintendo – 23:50
Part 5: Capitalism – 33:38
Part 6: Endgame – 44:12
End Credits – 55:38

Special Guests:
Lazy Game Reviews – http://www.youtube.com/phreakindee
The Completionist – http://www.youtube.com/thecompletionist

Tengen advertisement provided by the Video Game History Foundation – https://gamehistory.org/

Telex machine footage – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nHfztP9Qqs

Original Tetris footage provided by Sergei Frolov – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0gAgQQHFcQ

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34 comments

  1. LOL, something about Russia and not a single russian comment? Как необычно 🙂 Great video, thank you for your work! I know all parts of this story, but that was great to watch them again, combined in one single film.

  2. Great video – owed quite a lot to the BBC documentary "Tetris – From Russia With Love", including some screenshots but you added some extra information that wasn't covered which was appreciated. Definitely could see this story as a movie there's so much detail, thanks for taking the time to get this finally uploaded!

  3. Great Job Norman. It's refreshing to see a history of a game where business is protagonist. It remind us that video games are nothing more and nothing less than a cultural industry. Actually, one may think of a non-market driven history of Tetris only in the USSR before ELORG came in. Honestly, we know very little of the soviet video game scene. We need more documentaries like yours to begin to understand better in what kind of activity we gamers are embedded into.

  4. What a crazy and convoluted story. It went all the way up to Gorbachev! Nice that it had a happy ending. Except for that guy that murdered his wife and kid.

  5. Excellent production Norm! I've been a fan of your channel for years now but I've got to say the videos you're outputting are exponentially getting better. This seems more than than a lot of the docs on Netflix!

  6. Great use of caricature drawings to explain meetings between the key players. I remember seeing a BBC documentary on the story of Tetris and if anything I think your version is more complete. The BBC version did have footage interviews with all of the key players, and Henk Rogers does come across as a class act. Not only was he the only person to take a genuine interest in the original creator, he become a close friend and business partner to him, he tried to negotiate royalties for him in the original Nintendo contract but was vetoed by the Russians, but he later helped correct this wrong by negotiating back partial ownership of Tetris to the original creator with the Tetris Company. It is good to know there are people like this in business.

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