Off Topic: Infographic on the history of Tetris

Thread in 'Discussion' started by bigpond, 28 Jun 2012.

  1. Hey guys,

    What do you think of this infographic?
    Its from GameArena

  2. Edo

    Edo a.k.a. FSY

    I think it looks nice, and covers all the key points that people would expect. However, although I realise that most readers won't care about such detail, I would like to set the record straight on at least a couple of points:

    Tetris was created by Alexey Pajitnov, Vadim Gerasimov, and Dmitry Pavlovsky; it was a team effort. Although the concept of the tetrominos falling was Pajitnov's, many of the other design elements were conceived by the three of them together. Gerasimov in particular played a pivotal role; in fact it could be argued that if it were not for him, Tetris would have languished and died on the Elektronika, within the Russian academy where Pajitnov worked, and the world outside would never have even heard about it. If you look at early Tetris games, many will credit Pajitnov with "Original Concept", and Gerasimov with "Original Design and Program"; for example, here's a shot from the 1989 game "Bloxeed" (an early Tetris variant):


    Secondly, there are no reliable sources for the date of Tetris' conception. The official date of June 6th 1984 is more than likely a fabricated date cooked up by TTC's publicity department, so as to give Tetris a definite birthdate. Neither Pajitnov nor Gerasimov remember exactly when they first began work on Tetris; Gerasimov gives an extremely vague "1984-86", and I seem to remember Pajitnov saying "somewhere around Summer 1985". A further piece of evidence is Gerasimov's claim that he ported Pavlovsky's game "Antix" prior to Pajitnov coming up with the idea for Tetris. All sources seem to indicate that the port of Antix dates from 1985, which would mean that Tetris could not have been conceived earlier than that.

    Also, the infographic's image of the original Tetris is actually from the 2001 game "Tetris Worlds"; there's a stage in that game that's supposed to mimic the original version, but it actually looks quite a bit different. Pajitnov's first prototype on the Elektronika actually used pairs of solid block characters (I think they were rub-out characters) instead of pairs of square brackets to represent the tetrominos. However, the solid block characters would only render as intended on the Soviet PDP clones, which also had hardware switches to display Cyrillic characters; on an offical PDP-11 without these switches, the characters would render as just a blank space. So, at a much later date, (after Gerasimov had developed his DOS version), Pajitnov went back to his prototype and put in the square brackets, along with other features from Gerasimov's version, such as score and a title screen.

    I just wanted to get the information out there for people who might want to know; I don't think it would be appropriate to put this stuff in your infographic; it looks just fine as it is.
  3. I just found a little detail to add to this discussion.

    I checked, and noticed that Gerasimov had originally stated 'developed in 1985-86', but he updated the website text sometime between June 2 and June 18, 2009 to read 'developed in 1984-86' instead. Coincidentally, the Tetris Company released its "25th anniversary" press release on June 6, 2009, which falls within this time window. So it's possible that Gerasimov saw the PR and decided to update his story based on this new 'information' (I suppose it's also possible he was 'asked' to do so by TTC).

    The version of Antixonix on Gerasimov's site has a timestamp of October 19, 1985, and a earlier (pre-3.12) version of Tetris (, it's not linked anywhere from the website) has a timestamp of Jan 25, 1986. These dates fit the timeline stated. Antixonix and the other games would have been done around October, the Tetris prototype and MS-DOS port was perhaps done sometime around November 1985, and they were all iterating on Tetris (and spreading it around Moscow) by early 1986.

    Perhaps The Tetris Company decided to date the 'creation' of Tetris back to the first time Pajitnov programmed the moving tetromino shapes on the Elektronika, the 'genetic engineering' prototype that Pajitnov had done before the two had first met?

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