Tetris Is 40 Years Old – Here Are 8 Ways To Celebrate With Tetrimonoes This Weekend

Tetris 40th birthday featured image with Tetris logo and block shapes on a background of the first Tetris game

Can you believe that Tetris has been around for 40 years? Just let that sink in a little; 40 years of Tetrimono stacking, strategic goodness in one of the most simple yet addictive games ever created. In fact, Tetris is more than just a video game; it’s a world phenomenon, a cult brand in its own right, a nostalgic nod to ‘the good old days’, the golden age of video gaming, and it’s just as big now as it’s always been.

Some of you will undoubtedly be thinking ‘hang on, is Tetris really that old?’. Well, The Tetris Company states definitively that the game’s birthday is June 6th, 1984, a fact backed up by gaming historian Norman Caruso, and as Alexej Pajitnov co-established the Tetris Company and made the game, I think we can agree that he has the final say on the mater.

The first ever copy of Tetris playing on a Soviet Electronika 60 computer.
Credit: The Tetris Company

So, Tetris is 40 years old – that calls for some special celebrations, right? I mean, it’s not every day one of our favourite games hits a milestone birthday. They say life begins at 40, and for a game like Tetris that has already achieved so many global accolades thus far since creation, I can’t even imagine how life could get any better for it!

Here are 8 ways that we’ll be celebrating Tetris turning 40 this weekend; hopefully you can join in on the action too and show one of the most influential titles of all time a little bit of love (just don’t be playing Candy Crush or Farm Egg Stacker or any of that rubbish… or at least wait till Monday, alright?).

1. Play Some Retro Tetris

Rob holding a copy of Tetris for the Game Boy

Many of you won’t need telling twice to play some old-school Tetris; for the Dodo team at least, this game seems to be permanently sat in our Game Boys and Analogue Pockets. There’s just something about playing retro Tetris in its finest form that is incredibly satisfying and relaxing; there’s no guns or explosions, just you, falling shapes, and the need to make blocky lines.

I don’t want to say it doesn’t require much brain power; what it doesn’t require is all of your senses firing off like rockets at every verse end. Plus, you can play and think back on this game’s 40 year career and its humble begginings too while you play.

As well as the Game Boy game that dropped in 1989/1990 depending on your region, I’m a huge fan of ‘The New Tetris’ on the N64. As long as it has nostalgic music, graphics, and line-making action, it needs to be on your TV this weekend.

2. Watch The Tetris Movie

tetris movie review

Something else that needs to be on your TV this weekend is the Tetris Movie, an incredible and nostalgic look into video game production in the 80s and a must-watch for video game fans everywhere. As Tetris is having a long birthday celebration and has been around 40 years now, it’s about time we all knew the story of this iconic game. The movie lasts for two hours and captured us all completely throughout; it’s fast paced and informative – truly gripping stuff!

How many of you know about Dutch Entreapeouner Henk Rogers discovering the game and setting up the Tetris Company with Pajitnov? Rogers, played by Taron Egerton, eventually battled to secure the rights to the game from Russia and scored the deal of a lifetime with Nintendo, making this game the iconic household name that it is today. Still, with wholesome characters and unlikely villains along the way, there’s a lot more to the story of Tetris than you might think!

Check out our review of the Tetris Movie.

3. Become Tetris

Tetris Effect for the PS4

Of course, Tetris has lots of different guises these days. It’s not just the simple block-building affair that it used to be, and Tetris Effect proves that. The ‘Tetris Effect’ is actually a real-life phenomenom where people think and even dream about slotting things into patterns, just like in the game.

Having the ability to play Tetris in VR over thirty stages and using new line-dropping mechanics while images flit accross the screen, all accompanied by pumping tunes and neon lights is sure to change your life forever (though you’ll have to decide whether that’s for better or worse). Critics have cited it as one of the greatest Tetris games around, and it certainly looks amazing on the PS4!

4. Learn All About Tetris With A Copy Of A Handheld History

A spread inside A Handheld History 88-95

As massive Retro Gaming nerds, there’s no surprise that we’ve dedicated a section of our new book A Handheld History: 88-95 to Tetris. The game that shipped with the Game Boy was always going to have a special place in history, after all, and our contributors James Mielke and Morgan Shaver have done an incredible job of documenting this incredible game for readers all over the globe.

Read up on Tetris’ origins, discover why it became such a phenomenon on the Game Boy, and learn all about an incredible period of handheld gaming history at the same time!

You can pre-order A Handheld History: 88-95 now!

5. Treat Yourself To Tetris Merch

Tetris-themed stackable lamp (left) and Tetris Strategy game (right

If you’ve already got the Tetris Effect in your brain (or you develop it after playing Tetris Effect), then it only makes sense to feed your brain with even more Tetris merch, right? This Tetris-inspired stackable lamp is a perfect gift to either yourself or a Tetris lover – with seven pieces that can be stacked whichever way you choose, it’s a great way to show your love for this epic game and provides a nice glow in the background while you’re either playing Tetris or watching the movie.

To be honest, by this point your whole family will have the Tetris Effect, so it makes sense to have a 4-player strategy game dedicated to Pajitnov’s work out on the table too. This is a great take on the classic formula, bringing the action off the screen but keeping all of the strategic brilliance. Fulfil special challenges, complete Tetrimono lines, and compete against friends and family head-to-head in real time!

6. Watch Norman Caruso’s The Story Of Tetris

You’ve watched the Tetris Movie, now watch an hour-long documentary made by Video Game Historian Norman Caruso. These are the facts as they played out, and it’s a truly insightful video well worth a watch. As Norman writes in the description for his video, ‘A battle for the rights to publish Tetris erupted when the game crossed the Iron Curtain. Tetris not only took the video game industry by storm, but it also helped break the boundaries between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Tetris has been breaking boundaries for as long as we can remember, from it’s early political plays like the ones Caruso mentions to helping bring people together all over the globe. Our video editor Rob recently spoke about how his Game Boy means a lot to him because it’s the one his Grandma used to play Tetris on, writing her high-scores down in a booklet every time she played. It’s a game that helps to make friends, build relationships, and one that I am confident will continue to do so for many years to come.

7. Play Homebrew Tetris Fan Games On Your Mobile

Seb's phone playing Apotris

The whole world loves Tetris, so it’s no surpirse that fans have made their own homebrew games dedicated to it. Apotris is one of my favourite Tetris alternatives to play on Delta, and while it’s ‘influence’ is incredibly clear, I’m sure Pajitnov would approve.

The game works great in both vertical and horizontal mode and has a fresh new look that I really like, as well as customisable difficutly features and other modes that provide a challenge to hardened Tetris players.

8. Play Tetris Online

New and old versions of Tetris

And finally, you can always jump onto the Tetris website and play the game online for free! The full game is available for people to play in their browser no matter where they are with an updated dancier themtune, so there’s no excuse not to have a bash at slotting some Tetrimonoes together and racking up a high score this weekend! Plus, you can keep up to date with all the things that the Tetris Company is working on, like their latest collab with 7-Eleven.

You can even play the original ASCII-based edition of the game that Pajitnov created all of those years ago, complete with clicking sounds when the pieces move, the fantastic original soundtrack, and simple versions of the Tetrimonoes we all know and love today. It’s hard to believe that this game was essentially sneaked out of Russia and into the West for gamers to enjoy, and this version of the game gives us a chance to experience Tetris as Pajitnov first envisaged it, a slice of gaming history kept alive for players to enjoy forevermore!

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