10 things you might not know about TETRIS

Geek Dave still sees shapes in his sleep...

1. Tetris was originally designed and programmed by Alexey Pajitnov on an Elektronika 60 - nope, never heard of it either! He only put it together because he was bored and wanted a project to pass the time whilst he was working at the Soviet Academy of Sciences at their Computer Center in Moscow.

2. Pajitnov chose the name Tetris as "a combination of tetromino (a geometric shape composed of four squares, connected orthogonally) and tennis."

3. Pajitnov's friend Vadim Gerasimov ported it to the IBM PC, but when no-one was interested in buying it they gave copies away to friends... who copied it for friends... and so on... and so on. The game went viral in Russia, without a single copy being sold.

4. The first Western version of Tetris was released on the IMB PC by Spectrum Holobyte, they had licenced the game from a company in Budapest, Hungary who had been porting Tetris to various platforms after discovering this 'free' game from Russia. Years of legal problems began.

5. The NES and Game Boy versions of Tetris that were released in 1989 were technically pirated games. Shocking when you consider it was Tetris that really made the Game Boy so popular. Even more shocking, the head of Mirrorsoft, the UK company who had sold on the rights, turned up dead under suspicious circumstances.

6. Atari had somehow managed to get the arcade rights to Tetris. They then claimed that Nintendo were breaching their contract by releasing a hand held version. It took until 1993 until the two companies settled the case. By which time an estimated 50 million Tetris games had been sold.

7. Tetris is officially un-winnable. Go on, try and prove me wrong!

8. Tetris holds the Guinness World Record for the most ported piece of software, at 65 platforms and counting.

9. To date Tetris has officially sold over 170million copies, but it's estimated that at least the same number of pirated copies exist.

10. Tetris certainly made a lot of people a heck of a lot of money, especially in the late 80s and early 90s. But poor Alexey Pajitnov didn't receive a single Ruble from his creation until 1996.

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