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Gordon: Tetris - Nintendo GameBoy

Tetris, Tetris, how smug I felt when I swooped in and stole you from the pens of my fellow TrustedReviewers. Then the horror, the sheer jaw dropping horror of realising: how on earth do you write 500 words on Tetris?! Spode, Riyad, Benny, Stuart… you are a crafty bunch.

After all, it’s not like you can spend a great detail of time on the concept - fit falling blocks of varying shapes together to form complete lines which disappear - or the progression - they fall ever faster. Even the story of swindled Russian inventor Alexey Pazhitnov - he did all the work but didn’t own the rights - is well documented. What about the name itself: it comes from the Greek ‘tetra’ meaning four which is the number of segments in each block. Nah, I thought you’d all know that too.

In fact, that is really the wonder of Tetris. Everyone knows what it is, how it works, what the name means and even the stories around its creation. The fact that you become competent in minutes and take years to be a master. The fact that everyone has played it so much they’ve seen the blocks falling in their sleep or even during the day. The fact that it is an addiction which is only ever put on hold, where just a single game can once again have you hooked. Mine returned last month after I was inspired by packing boxes into a friend’s van during a recent flat move.

What about the music? That annoying, mind numbing, spirit crushing ditty based on a Russian folk song called the ‘Korobeiniki’ or as it shall forever be known: ‘The Tetris Song’. For everyone of the 75 million Game Boys that sold since 1989 it no doubt drove 1000x that many onlookers bananas.

As with every classic game is spawned a million variations but perhaps the greatest testimony is that despite the increased technical prowess of each ensuing generation of console it continues to be played, screamed at and dreamt about by every conceivable age range in the human race. And that, my friends, is what makes a classic.

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