In the second half of the eighties of the twentieth century, young people practically in all countries were twirling a Rubik's cube in their hands. Soon, this hobby was replaced by a new game, which required a personal computer.
Abnormal popularity of "Tetris" and its causes
Mass psychosis, accompanied by the appearance of a new toy, is difficult to describe. And the young amateurs, and the scientists, who were sober with gray, screamed with keys with the same passion, trying to reach a new level. It seemed that all of their future depended on success. Sometimes, having worked full-time on the computer center, the maintenance engineer or programmer remained "playing a little" and sat in front of the monitor for several hours in a row.
At that time, ordinary people could not buy personal computers, they were purchased for the needs of organizations and departments. Most often these were Robotron cars produced by the GDR with information characteristics that are substantially inferior to some modern mobile phones. The first "Tetris" was created for such computing equipment. The game was simple, and this explains the unique popularity that it used.
The Soviet Union, with the onset of perestroika, experienced a systemic crisis that originated in the sixties and seventies of the twentieth century. There was a contradiction between the high average intellectual potential of engineering and technical personnel, the excellent qualification of workers and the meager material and living conditions of life, which, moreover, were constantly deteriorating. There was an outflow of labor resources to the non-productive spheres of the national economy and private-cooperative trade.
The prestige of higher education was rapidly falling. Programmers of the world level were at the mercy of numerous research institutes, trying to survive on a beggarly salary, the purchasing power of which was constantly decreasing due to an avalanche inflation. One of these unclaimed intellectuals was Alexei Pajitnov, who worked in the Computing Center of the USSR Academy of Sciences.
Secret weapons of the Russians
In the USSR, many devices and technologies were invented, which found application in countries considered to be much more technically advanced. Inventors often remained unknown, and their copyrights were captured by more energetic and legally literate people who profit from the introduction of these innovations. The question of who invented Tetris, unlike many other similar cases, has a very specific answer. This Pajitnov, a citizen of the USSR, by the will of fate became a symbol of the intellectual potential of our country.
He was even half-jokingly half-seriously accused of undermining the defense capability of the United States. Pentagon officers, instead of dealing with issues of nuclear security, intelligence and world strategy, swung the grouped squares in vain, trying to pack them in even rows and spending most of their time on it. The question of where the "Tetris" was invented was not, he was called - "the secret weapon of the Russians".
Why was invented "Tetris"
Knowing the history of the appearance of this game, one can come to the conclusion that its development was almost the goal of the life of an outstanding scientist. This is not quite true. In fact, Pajitnov, the inventor of Tetris, did not specialize in making toys. He dealt with more serious issues. His scientific work was related to the creation of cyberintelligence. Puzzles like "Pentomino Puzzles" were made by him to illustrate the various logical processes characteristic of the human mind and logical thinking.
They also developed other visual aids for explaining the mental algorithms. Computing technology then had extremely limited possibilities, much more modest than now, so the distribution got "Tetris" (in which the figures consist of four "cubes"), and not "Pentomino" (where there were five elements). The game can also serve as the simplest scheme for fighting the body with aging. It shows that the efforts of the regenerative system are not always enough to replace the damages that arise in the process of vital activity, and entropy triumphs.
"Tetris" in the West
The one who invented "Tetris", namely Alexei Pajitnov, did not immediately receive dividends from his product. This became possible only after international licensing and patenting. The firm from the UK "Andromeda" was the first to express a desire to acquire copyrights and contacted the author directly. To the West, the game has already leaked and found its fans there, and consequently, many entrepreneurs had a desire to earn money on it.
The director of Andromeda, Mr. Stein, led Pajitnov to a TV show, where he presented it live on the CBS channel, so everyone knew who invented the game Tetris. In the course of the interview, it turned out that the author and owner of all intellectual property rights have not received a penny for their popular puzzle, although Microsoft and Spectrum Olobyte have already presented it on the market as their own products.
Invention and reward
The monopoly of the Soviet state on foreign trade and in this case had sad consequences. The leadership of the association "Electronorgtekhnika" realized, finally, that such a seemingly stupid thing as falling figures could become a source of quite serious money, and signed a contract with Stein. At the same time, no one thought to sign a contract with Pajitnov himself. From the point of view of the command-administrative system, it was completely unimportant who invented the Tetris, the main thing that the Soviet citizen did (no one argued with this), and consequently, profits must be given to the bureaucratic machine.
Fate of the inventor
Career Alexei Pajitnov developed quite safely, at least in material terms. This talented programmer has been working for eighteen years at Microsoft, where he has created all the opportunities for self-fulfillment. The tasks that he performs are incomparably more complicated than the puzzles that made him famous, but in order to increase the attractiveness of the product developed by him, for advertising purposes they mention that the author is the one who invented Tetris, Alexei Pajitnov himself.
In the nineties an anecdote about "the new Russian" (there was such a popular comic image in a purple jacket and with a gold chain around his neck), which was bought by the most expensive and modern computer. At the same time he put a very strict condition to the seller: "If Tetris does not work, you will answer me!" It is possible that the talented programmer Alexei Pajitnov will be remembered in many decades only as the inventor of this no-brain toy. Sadly ...