The Age Of Tetris
An All-Time Classic
Back To Basics
Ever since we started using smart phones, a lot of other simple games popped up, but really, if you take a look at their roots, you will see that many of them have come from the same great grandparent — Tetris, that is. While the new games all have their unique twist, the ones inspired by Tetris all have the same puzzle gaming concept.
Some of the popular games that can thank Tetris for their success are Bejewelled and Candy Crush. Like their predecessor, they’re both uncomplicated but ironically frustrating at times, which is probably why they’re addictive in the first place.
The Tetris Effect
Tetris has become such a legendary game that it even brought about the term The Tetris Effect. It was coined after scientific test results had shown that Tetris has a distinctive effect on the brain, which is apparently so significant that it gets its own name. It refers to the result of pattern-based activity that gradually molds a person’s imagination.
So if you play Tetris often, it’s not really an uncommon phenomenon to see your stuff and then suddenly think of ways to stack them up perfectly. In its full strength, the Tetris effect can even improve the brain’s ability to preserve memories and retain information.
Tetris got its name from Pentominoes, which is a puzzle board game that Pajitnov was fond of. The original game used 12 shapes, where each was made up of five squares. Tetris, on the other hand, used only 7 unique shapes comprised of four squares. These squares were called Tetriminoes, giving rise to the game name Tetris.
An Irresistable Formula
It’s a wonder how a such a basic game like Tetris got the whole world hooked. Perhaps one of the reasons is that you can play it almost anywhere and still be deeply immersed in it. And unless you’re a contender in a Tetris World Championship (another example of serious the addiction can be), this game is actually just supposed to be enjoyed in short bursts. However, in reality, it’s quite difficult to put the game down once you’ve started. I myself have promised to play it for just 15 minutes but ended up playing for hours.
Maybe it also gets its charm from being non-committal, which makes it different from other video games. It does not have a storyline and no concrete end goal. Plus, there’s no way of saving it, so you’ll just have to keep going and going until you it’s too fast for you. With Tetris, you are competing against yourself. With every new game you play, you just want to score higher than the last.
Tetris may seem like a pointless game (you know you’re bound to lose at some point), but at its core is a problem-solving activity. And the fact that the problems in the form of falling blocks never stop coming makes the game even more thrilling. That’s probably why it was irresistible for gamers of all ages. It taps into the competitiveness of humans and provides a concrete example of how we can keep getting better and better if we try hard enough.
More Than Just A Game
More than being a fun way to kill time, Tetris is a tool that you can use if you are feeling anxious. Since it is a simple and repetitive activity, it can help you arrive at a ‘flow’ state of mind, which psychologists refer to one where you’re so occupied in what you are doing that the rest of the world just seems to melt away.
Tetris has the perfect difficulty level that will keep you engaged but won’t stress you out (unless you let it). So next time you feel jittery or nervous about an upcoming event, you might want to play a quick game of tetris to calm yourself down.
A Game For The Ages
It’s been more than three decades since Tetris was first released and yet we are still playing it. In fact, we can play it on various devices now, which only makes it more accessible and convenient. Both adults and kids enjoy it and it does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Tetris has an amazingly broad reach and has already become a legacy. And while it seemed like the game peaked and swept the world in the 80’s and 90’s, it hasn’t really stopped since. With more and more games using the same game concept, who knows when the Age of Tetris will end? Possibly never.
What are your thoughts on Tetris? Let me know in the comments section below.
For more cool stuff about the 80’s, read 17 Cool Things From The 80’s.
Tetris Gift Ideas
There is a lot of memorabilia out there, especially on Amazon, Etsy and Ebay. Amazon is usually cheaper with more selection and so I’ve chosen them. And if you’re not super satisfied with what you’ve bought, their returns policy is really good.
With so much to choose from, where do you start? My focus has been on cool, fun and quirky items, all garnering decent ratings from well-priced sellers.
Please note that I am an Amazon Affiliate and receive a small compensation if you use my links, but it will not increase your purchase price. If you use my links, I truly appreciate it 😉