Image of Tetris blocks in the post The Age of Tetris

An All-Time Classic

For some people, Tetris just might be the greatest video game ever created. This iconic brain-teaser designed by software engineer Alexey Pajitnov was first launched in Russia around 36 years ago, which marked the start of the age of Tetris. Since then, fans of all ages just can’t seem to get enough of this incredibly simple yet challenging game. I am one of those fans.
Aexey Pajitnox, the father of Tetris in the post The Age of Tetris
Alexey Pajitnov, the father of Tetris
Original Gamyboy tetris in the post The Age of Tetris
The original Gameboy Tetris

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.

Tetris 99 Battle Royale in the post The Age of Tetris
Tetris 99 Battle Royale for Nintendo Switch

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.

Petriminoes in the post The Age of Tetris
The 12 Pentomino shapes
Tetriminoes in the post The Age of Tetris
The 7 Tetrimino shapes

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.

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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 😉

Mini Arcade Game

Image of Tetris nostalgic present for men the post The Age of Tetris

Get your game on with this mini arcade machine.

Check it out on Amazon.

Montessori Tetris Puzzle

Image of Tetris nostalgic present for men in the post The Age Of Tetris

The Amish version of Tetris. Great for kids. 

Check it out on Amazon.

Tetris Leggings

Image of tetris leggings as a nostalgic present for men in the post The Age Of Tetris

Colourful Tetris leggings for the lady in your life. 

Check it out on Amazon.

Tetris Socks

Image of tetris nostalgic present for men in the post The Age Of Tetris

Tetris socks to fill up that Christmas stocking.

Check it out on Amazon.

8 thoughts on “The Age Of Tetris”

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for taking me down memory lane. I remember; In The UK; I used to watch cartoons on a Friday afternoon; From 5 pm – It was only for about; half an hour though. By the time ‘Sesame Street’ started; With the education element; I was already fifteen years on; However, I do remember watching many episodes, (Shame on me) drawn to the puppets on the show; Well that’s my excuse!.

    With regards to the ‘Tetris’ game; I was never one for things like; The ‘Rubix Cube, Donkey Kong, ‘Street Fighter’, or any puzzle game; I even hated jigsaw puzzles. 

    Funny enough;  looking at another part of your website; When I noticed the segment on cartoons; the American stuff most of the time, however, I even lost faith with animations;

    As all, I ever saw was a mouse chased by some cat all day. (Repeats of ‘Tom & Jerry) Remember!, I was in the UK; All we had was; The ‘American’ cartoons, as I remember.

    All the memories started to come back; A great article; Nicely put together!

    Hey, thanks again

  2. I can definitely testify to Tetris being an all time classic because definitely it has been like forever since I knew about this game and I have seen it being revamped to suit any mobile that is made and every upgrades and all. I found the history of Tetrominoes really interesting and I had no idea it was invented by a Russian guy. 

  3. I can vouch for Tetris being an unsurpassed great in light of the fact people still love playing it in the original format. Since it’s a puzzle game, the lack of flashy graphics aren’t going to put people off. I found the historical backdrop of Tetrominoes truly fascinating and I had no clue it was created by a Russian person.

  4. Ha what a nice blog idea! I still love Tetris and while the graphics might have become more sophisticated, the basic game has remained consistent. So many new variations have also come out with different shapes, but your post took me down memory lane! You should do a post on Snakes as well – that’s another all time classic!

    1. The underlying puzzle solving structure of Tetris is genius and very addictive. I think it will also have a place in this world because we as humans love solve solving things – it’s a flow activity.

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