What is tetris

Alexei Paschitnow, inventor of the game Tetris

There is a psychological effect behind it! You are constantly doing tasks, you are constantly faced with a new problem and you solve it as best you can. But what's left are just your mistakes. The ugly holes on the field. So you are always motivated to solve this task as well!

Alexei Leonidowitsch Paschitnow is a Russian programmer and game designer. He invented the first and world's most successful casual game "Tetris", thereby setting a milestone for the games industry.

Back then...

... in 1984 Alexei Paschitnow worked at the Computer Center of the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Moscow. There he not only deals with complex arithmetic problems and experimental programs for psychologists, but also used his free time to design small games of skill.

Even as a child, Alexei was crazy about puzzles and puzzles. Together with Dmitri Pawlowski and Wadim Gerassimow, at the age of 29, he developed Tetris based on the model of the puzzle game Pentomino.

The little game - the PASCAL version only consisted of 1,600 lines - quickly became a great success. Paschitnow originally programmed it for the Elektronika-60. The first version had to do without graphics, because the monitor only displayed characters and symbols. In the summer of 1985, color came into play: the Tetris inventor adapted the program for MS-DOS and passed it on to colleagues and friends. It spread quickly and after a few months Tetris was running on almost every Moscow PC. It was copied more and more and eventually played throughout the Eastern Bloc. Tetris was the first software program Russia sold outside the Soviet Union. However, this did not make the inventor rich (yet), because the game was officially distributed by the Soviet Union. Paschitnow transferred all rights to Tetris to the Moscow Science Academy for 10 years.

When a major legal dispute began in 1988 between the Russian software licensing agency ELORG and various publishers, Paschitnow was left out. Nintendo prevailed against Atari and eventually got the console and handheld rights. The game began its worldwide triumph on Gameboy and NES. The rest is history.

Paschitnow went - by necessity - his own way. He emigrated to the USA in 1991, founded the "Tetris Company" and now worked professionally as a game developer. The Tetris inventor had to wait another 5 years until he finally saw money for his game. When the rights he had granted expired in 1996, he started at Microsoft. Until 2005 he worked there on various projects (including "Pandoras Box", "Hexic").


... people all over the world are "tetrized". The simple but ingenious game has won several awards and delights casual and hardcore gamers alike. It has been sold 125 million times since 1984. In addition to the many official variants, there are now countless unofficial clones and ports for almost all platforms.

And Paschitnow? He still lives in Seattle and is involved in the development of many different puzzle games. His first mobile game came out in 2013. In the mix of Tetris and "Four wins" it is not tetrominos but marbles that play the main role. However, "Marbly" could not match the enormous success of Tetris either. That shouldn't make the tinkerer too sad, because he still earns money from his Tetris licenses to this day.

Image: Alexey Pajitnov - 2575833305 (crop) by Eunice Szpillman, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons, cropped