The 80s Gave Us Tetris, And It’s Still Here!

The 80's Blog Apr 27, 2022

There have been many video games that were released since the 1980s. However, many video games have a lifespan of several years then many people and future generations do not get to experience the game unless an older relative still has that game and console lying around. One game that did not suffer that fate was Tetris. Some people may wonder: Why was video game Tetris so popular in the 1980s and why does it remain popular to this day?

Tetris was created in the Soviet Union by Alexey Pajitnov who was a scientist. The name comes from the Greek word “Tetarres” which means “four.”

Tetris Creator Alexey Pajitnov

Tetris is a game where blocks of different shapes fall and you are to arrange them to create horizontal lines. When you create a full horizontal line from left to right, the line disappears. You start with plenty of time in the beginning levels but as you advance to later levels, the blocks fall at a faster rate.


Once the falling block lands on the bottom or another block, it can not be moved or rotated. The game ends when blocks reach the top of the screen.

What Is Tetris?

In 1987, the game made its way to Europe and North America. At this point, Tetris was still exclusively on computers. Over the next couple of years, several different companies claimed to own the rights to Tetris and the game was released on Nintendo with one copy made by Tengen. Around this time, Henk Rogers went to the Soviet Union to meet with Alexey Pajitnov and they did not only become friends and Pajitnov gave Henk Rogers who worked for Nintendo the rights for Tetris to appear on the Game Boy.

Legal Troubles

The path of who owned Tetris is not clear because the copyrights were not kept track of which is why so many companies believed they owned the rights to Tetris. It came to a court case to say Nintendo had the rights meaning the game “Tetris” made by Tengen had to be pulled from shelves only four weeks after appearing on the market.

In 1989, the Game Boy was released and the one game that was included with every Game Boy was Tetris.

Tetris And Game Boy Released In 1989

Over 35 million units sold with the game and adults loved the game. Some businessmen could play the game while commuting on the subway and video games were appealing to adults and children. The Game Boy would also have a few other great games and while there were different competitors, the Game Boy would last longer than all of them.

Tetris Creates A Legacy

Tetris has appeared in competitions like Nintendo World Championships. After appearing on Nintendo and the Game Boy, Tetris would continue to be released on different consoles with new modes and it always sold well. As consoles like the Nintendo DS were released, Tetris could be played online and that would continue to help Tetris sell. Today, Tetris can be played on many different consoles including the PC. Since Tetris is a simple game to enjoy, it’s not hard to understand why Tetris has been popular for so long.

Tetris Remains A Top Game For Competitions

When the game was first created by Alexey Pajitnov, no one knew Tetris would become as popular as it had. It was released several different times and the story of “Who owned the copyright?” is interesting. Tetris kept released on different Nintendo systems and the game would evolve by adding new modes and online play and the game continues to sell well. Tetris is also one of the most accessible games regardless of what you do most of your gaming on. That is why Tetris has had a longer lifespan than most video games.