June 6, 1984

Thread in 'Discussion' started by necrosaro, 24 Sep 2014.

  1. Resident Tetris historian here, doing a bit of research on the "origin" of Tetris' very specific birth-date. Since there's been a lot of misinformation floating around the web on this topic over the past few years, I thought I'd share the facts I've been able to find, and ask for anyone to fill in any details I might have missed:
    • Prior to 2009, the general consensus was that Tetris was originally created sometime in 1985. (Some such as tsr's "The Tetris Saga" say more precisely June 1985. Anyone know where this date comes from?)
    • Sheff's 1993 book "Game Over" reports November 1985 as the Tetris-related date: "In a computer-game competition held in Zelenodolsk, in November 1985, 'Tetris' took second prize" (301).
    • The "Tetris 0" copyright registration (PAu001214036 / 1989-05-22) lists a "Date of creation" as "1985."
    • In a 1997 press release announcing the official launch of Tetris.com, Blue Planet Software wrote that Tetris was "created in 1985 by Russian scientist Alexey Pajitnov."
    • In its original form, Vadim Gerasimov's webpage "Tetris Story" wrote that "Tetris is a popular game developed in 1985-86 by Alexey Pajitnov (Pazhitnov), Dmitry Pavlovsky, and me." (On June 2, 2009, this would be changed to read "1984-1986"; see the diff between the first c.2006 draft and the latest version.)
    • On June 2, 2009, with a budget of $250,000 from Blue Planet Software, the PR firm Grayling Connecting Point kicked off its "Tetris' 25th Anniversary" (web) media campaign to raise awareness of the Tetris brand. June 2 was a Tuesday, the first day of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). June 2, 2009 is the earliest date I have been able to find where the year 1984 and the date June 6 have ever been mentioned by anyone in connection to Tetris. (Anyone have any other references?)
    • June 6, 2009 was the Saturday after E3 that year, the perfect day to host a big celebration event and maximize PR for an electronic entertainment brand.
    So my working theory based on the above is that the June 6, 1984 date was fabricated by Grayling as part of its Tetris media campaign package for its client Blue Planet Software, and that they back-dated the birth-date because celebrating a "24th anniversary" would be too lame for a big media event. It seems much more reasonable that "Tetris" in its distributed, named form (as opposed to the "Genetic Engineering" prototypes Pajitnov may have had earlier) was created some time around mid-1985. Anyone have any other thoughts or info?
  2. "Spring 1985" says Tetris: From Russia with Love.
  3. For the 30th anniversary this year there was another marketing push placing the anniversary at June 6th 1984. So it seems like the cannon official date is at least consistent gong forward.

    That said 1985 was definitely given as the date for years... Not sure if it was corrected or simply retcon'd for some reason. If you feel like wearing a tinfoil hat you could say they picked a date clearly prior to Vadim's involvement to cut him out of potential royalties. The game design changed a lot in the early days, who can say if any 1984 version would have played like Tetris as we know it. Also afaik this isn't the date the name was coined, that came later.
  4. cgwg

    cgwg Unregistered

    For what it's worth, these are the file datestamps that I see from some different dumps of the original Tetris:
    • April 4, 1985
    • April 4, 1986
    • April 12, 1986
    I checked the first one, and it seems feature-complete, including an optional piece preview.
  5. Oh, interesting! If those timestamps are correct, then that gives us a pretty good estimate on one of the earlier dates. (Though I wonder, if it's easy enough to modify the timestamp within that OS, it might not be super-reliable..)

    I'm actually very intrigued by the minor variations of early versions of Tetris that have managed to survive in archives. Do the different dumps have many noticeable differences?
  6. cgwg

    cgwg Unregistered

    In the three versions I mentioned, there are only two differences:

    1. Use of either [] or two copies of character 0x7f (which produces a solid box on some terminals) for a square.
    2. There are two other bits that are flipped; I don't know what they do.
  7. Got some more details from Caffeine, who had sent an e-mail to Vadim about the discrepancy and got a reply:
    Last edited: 31 Jul 2021
    Muf, steadshot and botitas like this.

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