Teaching Students About the History of Tetris


Tetris, a classic puzzle video game, has been entertaining players worldwide since its inception in 1984. It is a game with a rich history and has played an integral role in the development and evolution of the gaming industry. Teaching students about the history of Tetris allows them to gain a better understanding of the global impact of gaming culture and recognize the timeless nature of this iconic game.

Early Beginnings:

The journey of Tetris began in Moscow, Russia in 1984, when its creator Alexey Pajitnov designed the game as a way to pass time between his work at the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Inspired by pentomino, a popular board game, Pajitnov created Tetris to be an electronic version that could challenge one’s spatial intelligence and pattern recognition skills. With its simple visuals and addictive gameplay, it quickly gained popularity among his coworkers and friends.

The Road to Global Domination:

In 1986, Tetris was introduced to the western world when Henk Rogers, a Dutch video game designer, discovered it at a trade show in Russia. Recognizing its potential for international success, Rogers secured the rights to publish Tetris on various platforms outside of the USSR. This led to its release on IBM PC in 1987, followed by versions for game consoles such as Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1988.

The Game Boy Phenomenon:

Tetris reached unprecedented heights in popularity after it was released as a bundle with Nintendo’s Game Boy in 1989. The portable gaming device introduced Tetris to millions of players globally and ensured its place in pop culture history. To this day, many people associate Tetris with fond memories of playing on their beloved handheld consoles.

A Lesson in Legal Battles:

The success of Tetris thrust it into the center of numerous legal battles over copyright and licensing issues throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. Students can learn from these disputes, which ultimately ended with Pajitnov receiving the rights to Tetris in 1996 and forming a company called The Tetris Company. This serves as an example of intellectual property protection within the gaming industry.

Impact on the Gaming Industry:

Tetris’s influence extends beyond its unique gameplay and nostalgic graphics. The game pioneered casual gaming, defined a generation of gamers and demonstrated the power of simple yet addictive game mechanics. It paved the way for many subsequent puzzle games like Candy Crush Saga and Bejeweled, which continue to captivate players to this day.


Teaching students about the history of Tetris provides valuable insights into the evolution of gaming, as well as a better understanding of how intellectual property rights can shape an industry. By exploring the story of Tetris, students can appreciate its lasting cultural impact and gain inspiration for their own creative pursuits within the world of gaming.

Choose your Reaction!