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“Tetris” Celebrates its 25th Anniversary

June 4, 2009

Tetris, one of the most successful, and copied, games of all time, celebrates its 25th anniversary this week, according to the company that now controls the rights to the game.

Created by Russian mathematician Alexey Pajitnovth in June 1984, the puzzle game, which features falling blocks of various shapes and sizes that must be rotated and moved from side-to-side to fit into a matrix, has sold 125 million copies on more than 30 platforms in over 50 countries, according to Blue Planet Software, the firm that oversees Tetris licensing.

The first version of Tetris ran on the then-dominant IBM PC, and was a huge hit in the U.S. in 1986, when it was released by the now-defunct computer game company Spectrum HoloByte. Tetris made its bones, though, and its reputation, largely on the Nintendo Game Boy, a black-and-white handheld game player, starting in 1989.

Tetris is still widely available, and some versions continue to sell in large numbers. Electronics Arts’ $4.99 iPhone version of the game, for example, was named by AT&T as last quarter’s best-selling game, said Blue Planet.

“One reason why Tetris is so enduring is that it transcends culture. It is beyond language. It is part of a universal desire for order,” said Hank Rogers, the CEO of Blue Planet. “Ultimately, it’s a mental sport, a mix of fun and mental stimulation.”

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