Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris

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pages: 329 words: 106,831

All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture by Harold Goldberg


Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, Apple II, cellular automata, Conway's Game of Life, game design, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Oldenburg, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Great Good Place, Thorstein Veblen, urban planning

OF MONKEYS, MARIO, AND MIYAMOTO Based on three interviews conducted over the years with Shigeru Miyamoto, as well as interviews with Henk Rogers, Trip Hawkins, Al Alcorn, Minoru Arakawa, Howard Phillips, and five others who spoke on background. 1 The quote “to escape the cycles of worries I had” is from a Miyamoto interview done by Nintendo of Japan’s president, Satoru Iwata. 5. FALLING BLOCKS, RISING FORTUNES Based on long interviews I had with Henk Rogers, early Nintendo maven and spokesperson Howard Phillips, Alexey Pajitnov, and Minoru Arakawa, and conversations with Jason Kapulka and others who spoke on background. 1 Russia was not an easy place to live while Pajitnov was growing up. See Hedrick Smith’s The Russians and The New Russians, both landmark tomes, to read more about the tenor of the times during the Soviet Union’s heyday and what came after. 2 Vadim Gerasimov tells his side of the Tetris story at length at 6. THE RISE OF ELECTRONIC ARTS Based on interviews I conducted with Trip Hawkins, Ray Tobey, Mark Cerny, and Jason Rubin, as well as conversations with Steven L.

Escher and was working hard on its artificial intelligence, Braun thought it was just a run-of-the-mill matching game and “pretty ridiculous.” On the other hand, Jeff saw limitless possibilities in the city planning game. He couldn’t contain his ebullience. He wasn’t talking fonts anymore; he was talking games to anyone who would lend an ear. Everything looked brighter then. Just as Henk Rogers envisioned the unlimited potential in Alexey Pajitnov’s Tetris, Braun saw the potential in SimCity (the game’s new name). He and Wright went on to retrieve the rights from Broderbund and to raise $50,000 to start their new venture. To name their company, Braun decided to hold a contest, asking friends and family for a two-syllable name that meant nothing (like Kodak or Sony), but sounded good when you said it. Braun’s father won after coming up with Maxis.

Much like the early days of the music industry, when R&B stars and master bluesmen received a Cadillac in lieu of millions in royalties, the videogame world was still full of carpetbaggers and snake oil salesmen. These Bastards of the Universe were game developer manipulators extraordinaire. And young Alexey Pajitnov, the man responsible for the biggest game phenomenon since Miyamoto’s Super Mario Bros., was about to be ripped off. If this had happened to a US developer like Nolan Bushnell, he would have yelled and moaned about unscrupulous business practices that were akin to torture. But Alexey Pajitnov, born in Soviet era Moscow, to middle class parents who were writers, wasn’t like that. Pajitnov was steeped in popular art from an early age, and he respected it. His mother, a well-regarded journalist whose focus was movies, took the child to many of the screenings she attended and the yearly Moscow Film Festival, as well.


pages: 266 words: 67,272

Fun Inc. by Tom Chatfield


Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer age, credit crunch, game design, invention of writing, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, upwardly mobile

As this suggests, what we are often seeking in games is not so much an escape from reality as a more perfect, and an infinitely reproducible, version of certain aspects of it. This perfection is perhaps most clearly visible when it takes on a distinctly unreal form, and one of the most distinctively Platonic forms any game has ever achieved can be found in what would be many people’s nomination for the greatest single-player game of all time, Tetris. Devised in 1984 by the Russian computer scientist Alexey Pajitnov, Tetris features just seven pieces, each composed of four blocks (collectively known as ‘tetriminoes’). The player has to fit them together into a perfectly solid structure as they fall one by one down the screen in a random, unending sequence. The only method of control is rotation and horizontal motion. Make a line, and it vanishes; it gets faster over time. That’s it.

And yet this simple creation has outsold the biggest movie blockbusters, made more money than the most expensive artworks, and accounted for more human hours than even the most compelling soap operas, thanks to 70 million global sales of the original and several times as many sales again of its clones, sequels and variations. In a sense, Pajitnov didn’t so much invent Tetris as discover it. The game is based on an ancient Roman puzzle involving pieces composed of five squares (known as pentominos), itself based on Greek and other more ancient forms of play. Crucially, though, Tetris translated a sophisticated mathematical recreation into real time and into the tiny universe of a computer, where score can be kept and pieces thrown at the player in an endless stream. It’s a perfect demonstration of the ability of digital media to give an unprecedented form to a very ancient human fascination; and to generate the kind of complexity that in the days before computers could only come from locking horns with another person. Why, though, is Tetris’s brand of complexity quite so enjoyable? Part of the answer lies, once again, in its combination of great sophistication with immaculate simplicity.

You can work out how to play Tetris in seconds. But the challenge it represents is not just hard, but fiendish. Mathematically speaking, it’s known as an NP-hard problem (which stands for a ‘non-deterministic polynomial hard’ problem). In practice this means that there is no way of ‘solving’ Tetris in any conceivable amount of time by generalising from a set of rules. The optimum way to play can only be understood by an exhaustive analysis of every possible move available at any particular moment in time. The significance of presenting such a complex problem so accessibly is in the degree to which it raises the boredom threshold of a player (the free game Minesweeper, which comes bundled with copies of Microsoft Windows, is also an NP-hard problem). Playing Tetris is a mathematically endless undertaking.


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Hacking Vim 7.2 by Kim Schulz


Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, Debian, revision control, sorting algorithm

You can find the game XSokoban at the following address: If you want to play this fine game, then you can find the script and installation instructions on the Vim online community site at this address: http://www.vim. org/scripts/script.php?script_id=211. [ 205 ] Vim Can Do Everything Tetris The final game for Vim that I am going to mention in this appendix is a real classic—Tetris, where blocks of different sizes and shapes fall down and need to be placed properly to produce complete rows. This game can be dated back to 1985; the Russian Alexey Pajitnov designed and created it. Since then, the game has been implemented for almost any platform, and in hundreds of different variations over the same theme. In 2002, Gergely Kontra decided to implement this game in Vim script and this turned into yet another fine implementation of this classic game.

Printing longer lines Debugging Vim scripts Distributing Vim scripts Making Vimballs [ iv ] 175 175 176 176 177 178 180 180 182 182 183 183 185 186 189 190 Table of Contents Remember the documentation Using external interpreters Vim scripting in Perl Vim scripting in Python Vim scripting in Ruby Summary 191 194 195 196 198 199 Appendix A: Vim Can Do Everything 201 Appendix B: Vim Configuration Alternatives 215 Index 223 Vim games Game of Life Nibbles Rubik's cube Tic-Tac-Toe Mines Sokoban Tetris Programmers IDE Mail program Chat with Vim Using Vim as a Twitter client Tips for keeping your vimrc file clean A vimrc setup system Storing vimrc online [v] 201 202 202 203 204 204 205 206 206 210 211 212 215 217 221 Preface Back in the early days of the computer revolution, system resources were limited and developers had to figure out new ways to optimize their applications. This was also the case with the text editors of that time.

See  STEVIE STEVIE 9 suffixadd function 62 sum function 170 syntax coloring 142, 143, 147 syntax-color schemes 141 syntax regions 143-146 T tabs, Vim modifying 33-37 tag browser 208 tag list generators about 80 Ctags 80 Hdrtags 80 Jtags 80 Ptags 80 Vtags 80 tag lists about 80 taglist navigation 83 uses 83 using 80-82 taglist.vim 83 templates abbreviations, using 76, 77 about 74 snippets, with snipMate script 78, 79 template files, using 74, 75 Tetris 206 [ 226 ] text, formatting about 121 headlines, marking 125, 126 lists, creating 127-129 text, aligning 124 text, putting into paragraphs 122, 123 The Mail Suite (TMS) 210 Tic-Tac-Toe 204 Tidy, external formatting tools 138 TwitVim 212 U undo branching about 98 using 103-106 unnamed register 100 V variables about 153 dictionary 153 funcref 153 list 153 number 153 string 153 v:folddashes variable 109 v:foldend variable 109 v:foldstart variable 109 vi 9 vi compatibility 14, 15 Vile about 13 features 13 Vim about 7, 11 advanced formatting 121 autocompletion 84 charityware license 15 color scheme, changing 21 command line buffer 26 configuration files 18 download link 8 editor area, personalizing 37 extensibility 141 features 12 fonts, changing 20 hidden markers 71 mail program 210 marks, adding 68 matching 22 menu, adding 29-32 menu, toggling 28, 29 personal highlighting 22, 23 personalizing 17 scripting tips 182 script structure 175 search 63 status line 26 syntax-color schemes 141 tabs, modifying 33-37 toolbar icons, adding 32, 33 toolbar, toggling 28, 29 using, as Twitter client 212 visible markers 68-70 Vimballs creating 190 vimdiff about 112 navigation 113 using, to track changes 111 vimdiff session 112 Vim documentation 191, 193 Vim editor.


pages: 384 words: 89,250

Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America by Giles Slade


Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Buckminster Fuller, Cass Sunstein, Douglas Engelbart, global village, housing crisis, invention of radio, Joseph Schumpeter, Marshall McLuhan, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, the market place, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, upwardly mobile, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, women in the workforce

Suddenly, sophisticated video games were portable, and this single move threatened to make both arcades and home systems obsolete. In a series of clever negotiations and subsequent lawsuits, Nintendo kept its American and European competitors from using the world’s most popular video game, Alexey Pajitnov’s Tetris. Nintendo then released a flas y, updated Game Boy version. David Sheff, author of a corporate history of Nintendo, wrote, “There is no way to measure accurately how much ‘Tetris’ contributed to the success of Game Boy . . . Once a customer bought one, Nintendo could sell more games, an average of three a year at $35 a pop. Not counting Game Boy, ‘Tetris’ brought Nintendo at least $80 million. Counting Game Boy, the figu e is in the billions of dollars.”62 Gradually, the largest pinball manufacturers—Bally, Williams, and Gottlieb—merged or were sold to WMS, a larger electronic concern.