Tetris has been a staple of Nintendo gaming since it was released on the Game Boy in 1989. Since then, the tile-matching puzzle game has enjoyed unrivalled success courtesy of its timeless formula. Considered by many as the greatest game of all-time as a result of this, it is always interesting to hear about how one of the most famous videogames on the planet came about.
At a recent Q&A session at the 2015 DICE Summit in Las Vegas, Henk Rogers – the business partner of Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov – explained how the negotiation process unfolded between himself, Pajitnov’s people in Russia, and Nintendo in Japan – claiming it required heavy-handedness, a few bluffs and even some personal demands:
I had to pretend to Nintendo that the Russians … were not going to accept [the terms]. I forced them to put my copyright display up [on the screen] for four seconds. If you didn't press a button, it'd stay up for 8 seconds. I made [that requirement] up! I pretended to be a bit bigger than I really was when talking to Nintendo and the Russians.
Despite the importance seeing through deals with the big corporations, Rogers believes his partnership with Pajitnov was always the priority:
The most important relationship is the one between Alexey and I. He's the one who made the game, and I was the one to help make money from it. I don't know where the [video game] business is today, how it works, but it sure worked for us.
In the same Q&A, Tetris creator Pajitnov also offered some tips to budding game designers:
In order to achieve a really great goal, and really come up with a good game … you need to really fall in love with what you do. If you don't have this feeling, you'll make an [okay] game, but it'll never be a legendary game. Fall in love with what you do, that's my advice.
So there you have it; not only sound advice on how to make a good game from the Tetris creator himself, but also how Nintendo will meet your demands if you play the right cards.
Are you still a big Tetris fan, and do you hope to see more of it on Nintendo hardware in the near future? Let us know in the comments below!
Thanks to Ryan Millar for the tip!