'Tetris' was a game-changer for video games

A two-player Multicade machine, which features 60 classic arcade games, at Amuse Me Games in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Oc
A two-player Multicade machine, which features 60 classic arcade games, at Amuse Me Games in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
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The early 1980s was a low point in the history of video games.

The arcade gaming craze of the late 1970s was starting to wind down, and home gaming was still a new industry struggling to establish itself.

In 1984 came a game that would change the future of video games forever: Tetris. It has been ranked as one of the best video games in history, and it is an important part of gaming history for several reasons.

It’s a simple game where players stack small blocks called “tetrominoes.” The game ends when the blocks hit the top of the screen. It is very easy to learn how to play but very difficult to master.

Tetris was created by a computer programmer in the Soviet Union as a side project, and it quickly spread to computers throughout the Soviet government.

However, because Tetris was created by a government worker and the Soviet Union was a communist country, the government controlled the game’s publication. That caused a long delay before it could be played by people in other countries.

More than three years after it was developed, a computer version of Tetris was finally released, and it was quickly converted to other gaming systems. Tetris’ debut on the Nintendo Game Boy in 1989 helped popularize handheld gaming devices, a trend that has continued for more than 30 years.

Tetris helped create the “do-it-yourself” or “home-brew” philosophy of video games, where people who are not professional game designers can make games for people around the world to enjoy. The game’s popularity also proved that people from America and the Soviet Union, which were enemies in the Cold War, could exchange their products.

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Tetris is the most widely available game in the world, with versions created for dozens of gaming consoles, cellphones and internet browsers. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Tetris has been placed on more gaming platforms than any other game.

Anyone with a computer can play Tetris for free at tetris.com.

Comments: adam.sullivan@thegazette.com

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