In 1984, a Russian man named Alexey Pajitnov developed a game in his free time at work. A handful of years later, it was one of the first videogames to become a worldwide phenomenon. It has set a number of records for appearing on so many different devices, can be run on anything from a calculator to the lights on the side of an office building, and is still one of the most recognizable video games of all time.
I’m fairly confident you’ve heard of it:
As things stand now, Tetris is well-established and The Tetris Company carefully maintains its standards for play and licensing. But things weren’t so smooth early on.
Tetris: the Games People Play, by Box Brown, is a new graphic novel that explores the early history of Tetris. In the course of 250 pages, Brown discusses Pajitnov’s creation of Tetris, its early international travel, and the complicated legal battle between Elorg, Andromeda Software, Nintendo, and Atari regarding the rights to Tetris. The story is compelling, Brown’s black, white, and yellow art style is distinctive, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Tetris, the Games People Play is shelved in GPPL’s adult graphic novel section.
If you enjoy Tetris: the Games People Play, you may also enjoy Game Over, by David Sheff. While it is far from a new book, Game Over still presents one of the best histories of Nintendo’s early years, including a detailed history of their involvement with the Tetris phenomenon. Game Over is shelved in the adult non-fiction section.