For some, Tetris still is the epitome of gaming as we know it – you know it even if you don’t play videogames at all. Being such a big cultural icon of the modern world, it’s hard to imagine how the convoluted story behind his creation (back at the URSS) hasn’t been told already – until now.
Not enough people know the secret story behind Tetris, the grandfather of videogames; or rather, of the great-grandfather: Russian developer Alexey Pajitnov. Brett Ratner, the director behind X-Men: The Last Stand, along James Packer (in a union called RatPac Entretainment) will change this.
The yet unnamed Tetris movie will explore the life of Pajitnov, as he developed the game, in the midst of the communist-run Soviet Union, while working for Soviet research and development department.
With the help of his friends Dmitry Pavlovsky and Vadim Gerasimov, 1984 saw Tetri’s conception, and it spread across the region – first only between programmers, until it became a cultural boom.
At that time, the game became the center of legal battles for the rights to publish it on different devices (everyone wanted a piece of the cake). The squander spread across different countries, until at the end of the day Nintendo won the legal rights over Atari to distribute the version most of you played: the one bundled with American and European editions of the Game Boy.
The squander was so big it changed the way videogame companies worked and handled their legal matters (formal licensing wasn’t a thing for games at the time).
Poor Pajitnov didn’t see a single penny out of his game until 1996, when he founded The Tetris Company, and went to further work in puzzle games for Nintendo and Microsoft.
Alexey’s story will join the Parker Brothers (creators of Monopoly) in the group of “one-hit geek wonders” getting Hollywood’s scope as Jobs did in the successful “The Social Network” – but this is the one biopic whose story takes place on the same place and time as Chernobyl and the nuclear disarmament agreements.