News Article

Russian Phenomenon Tetris Celebrates Its 30th Birthday Today

Posted by Damien McFerran

Now we feel old

Thirty years ago today, Russian programmer Alexey Pajitnov released Tetris on the Elektronika 60. The puzzle title caused quite a stir and was ported to multiple formats, but it was the 1989 Game Boy edition which propelled it to international fame. Without it, the Game Boy would arguably have been less successful, and without the Game Boy, Tetris might never have reached the level of recognition it enjoys today.

Since launch, Tetris has sold over 170 million copies across all of the formats it has been released on, making it not only one of the most critically acclaimed video games of all time, but also one of the most commercially successful.

Are you old enough to remember the pre-Game Boy days of Tetris, or was the Nintendo version your introduction to the title? Perhaps you're a little younger, and have grown up with subsequent iterations of the game — such as the excellent DS sequel? Let us know by posting a comment below, and share some of your Tetris-based memories.

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User Comments (43)

ajcismo

#3

ajcismo said:

Wow, thats cool. I knew the big T pre-dated the Gameboy, but I didn't know it was that old. Still my favorite puzzler. Happy birthday.

conman2012

#6

conman2012 said:

Im not 100% certain, but I believe I'm one of the few old enough to have played a PC version out before the gameboy. Probably on my 386, the fist PC after our XT (Memorys a little hazy there - tandy graphics!).

Anywho, colour old school tetris. Its rather amazing its still got a following after all these years.

outburst

#7

outburst said:

This was the "doggieoopsiepoopiepoodle" back in the 80s. I've had the gameboy one and a dedicated tetris handheld.

elstif

#8

elstif said:

Yes I´m feeling old too...
I remember the first time I saw and played tetris, it was an arcade machine at a bar/cafeteria. I remember watching it for a few minutes before dipping in some coins and thinking "this is a weird game" but lets try
This was right at the time when Gameboy was announce, I thought Tetris was a bad choice to bundle the system with because I didn´t get into Tetris that much and Mario Land seemed like a better option IMO

nostalgianinja

#9

nostalgianinja said:

It's hard to stay with the continuity, although it's been really fun while it's lasted.

Good old Tetris, Happy 30th Anniversary.

nostalgianinja

#10

nostalgianinja said:

@kupocake Do want Puyo Puyo Tetris. The demand is really high for the game and I hope Sega and TTC would get the game over to the West. I wouldn't mind a European release as well, since I use a European 3DS. ^^,

nayfz

#12

nayfz said:

Tetris on the GB was the first Tetris game I played. The one I've played the most though is Tetris Splash on the 360, haha. I even paid MONEY to get a special kind of fish to swim around in the background...

damn

PJR0cks

#13

PJR0cks said:

so me and T are about the same age, didn't know that, anyways good memories.

KevTastic84

#15

KevTastic84 said:

The NES Version was my first memory. My friend had it on a cart with Nintendo World Cup and Super Mario Bros which he got with his NES.

NintyMan

#17

NintyMan said:

Tetris is probably my favorite puzzle game. It's the simple concept of falling color blocks and matching them to remove them that somehow became pretty engaging, and it's good for your brain too. I've played Tetris DS a lot and it was fun, and it actually ended up being a rare game.

But I didn't know that Tetris was around even before Game Boy, so that's something I just learned. I guess it was the fact that it became portable that it became such a hit. Tetris is perfect for pick-up-and-play gaming, as I found out with the DS game.

TimLatshawAdmin

#18

TimLatshaw said:

My great-uncle was a Tetris fanatic. Whenever I saw him, he'd always be playing it on his Game Boy. His kids had bought him other games, but I never saw him play them. It was Tetris or nothing.

He would let me play when he wasn't engaged in clearing lines, which is one of the earliest memories I have playing videogames. He had literally worn the anti-slip pads on the D-pad off, making it a completely smooth surface. He also kept his high score on a small slip of paper taped just below the screen.

My great-uncle passed away years ago, and I never thought until it was too late to ask my great-aunt if she still had that Game Boy. Unfortunately, she had long since given it away. I wish I had that thing, or at least knew the old man's last high score.

Cresartist

#20

Cresartist said:

Can we celebrate that by getting Puyo Puyo Tetris now?

Seriously, it's a loving puzzle game. It's not complete hell to localize.

sinalefa

#21

sinalefa said:

Who needs story and lengthy cutscenes? Who needs photorealistic graphics? Who needs guns, breasts or cars?

Here we have gameplay. That is all I need. And tons of wonderful memories.

NoUsernameHere

#23

NoUsernameHere said:

Eh, not interested in Tetris tbh (Not into puzzle games) but it surprises me that it's this old. Happy birthday Tetris.

Aqueous

#24

Aqueous said:

Played the Gameboy one myself, I wasn't great back then and still I am not now.

Adam

#25

Adam said:

You celebrate its anniversary with THAT picture for the article? I can't look at it without cringing. What is this guy doing?

And yes, Puyotris now, please.

Donutman

#26

Donutman said:

Sometimes I play so much Tetris I start seeing title Tetris shapes when I blink.
Happy birthday Tetris :)

Mk_II

#27

Mk_II said:

My first Teris was a 3D version for PC that also included the classic 2D evrsion

dumedum

#28

dumedum said:

Yeah, it's Gameboy tetris for me all the way. Playing against other people with the cable since I had two versions was the best gaming in my life. I remember playing it on PC even before (3D tetris even I think) but the GB is the classic.

Cav44

#29

Cav44 said:

Still got my original GB on the shelf with one copy of tetris as well as a GB pocket with another copy that I bought when I 'lost' my first GB (long story). Seem to remember playing a DOS version somewhere shortly before I bought the gameboy. Tetris and SML took up a lot of time that year, along with Super RC pro am over a link cable with a buddy. I feel truly old in that I remember playing a paddle driven pong/sports game with my sister back around '78 but I can't remember what it was called.... Still gaming full time too.

Sobtanian

#30

Sobtanian said:

Old enough to have played the original DOS version, which didn't really have graphics as such but was made from ASCII through and through.

Because of that, I managed to run it at normal speed on my Atari ST via a DOS emulator. I wasn't allowed to use the computer during school days but my mum was out so I smuggled the computer out and played and got so darn addicted my mum walked in and gave me a hiding.

Ah, the good old days eh.

Cav44

#31

Cav44 said:

Ooh, and I still remember the feeling I got the first time I saw the special reward screen (no spoilers) you get after finishing level 9 high 5.

KevTastic84

#34

KevTastic84 said:

The most popular one. The one licensed by Nintendo with the familiar Tetris them amongst others. Purple-ish box art with Pinkish Tetris writing

B3ND3R

#35

B3ND3R said:

I still have the GB Tetris :) It's sometimes fun to just pop that in my GBC and chill back for a while...

bofis

#37

bofis said:

Tetris is my single top Desert Island game, and Tetris DS would be my chosen version, as it remains the best Tetris to date. It is sad that the upcoming console Tetris is not being released for WiiU, I hope Ubisoft reconsiders and puts it on the eShop!!!

AlexSora89

#38

AlexSora89 said:

Noticed just now the GiG logo on the boxart.
I guess the one who took the photo is a fellow Italian, huh!

Noboty

#40

Noboty said:

Many a day was spent in school playing Tetris DS on the school computers. It was then that I became a fan, and sought out a copy for my DS (which I have since obtained).

Happy date of birth to ye.

Caryslan

#41

Caryslan said:

Happy Birthday Tetris!

Although I have to confess, I was always more of a Columns fan:)

That and Bust a Move(Puzzle Bobble) have always been my puzzle games of choice.

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