Who among us hasn’t played Tetris? This simple yet addictive video game, the creation of Russian computer engineer Alexey Pajitnov in 1984, celebrated its 25th anniversary last June. And now it’s reached a new achievement: 100 million paid mobile phone downloads since 2005.
The ubiquitous Tetris is a puzzle game in which players manipulate a random sequence of falling, four-block tetrominos to create a horizontal line of blocks without gaps. Versions for desktop computers appeared in the 1980s, and the first handheld edition for the Nintendo Game Boy debuted in 1989.
The Game Boy version proved wildly successful, selling over 35 million units, according to the official Tetris site. EA Mobile released Tetris for the iPhone and iPod touch in 2008.
EA Mobile, which licenses Tetris from Blue Planet Software, says the game is available on some 64,000 handsets in 60 countries, according to an Associated Press report.
What makes Tetris so appealing? Is it the shallow learning curve? The lack of gratuitous sex and violence? (Yeah, right.) Or perhaps there’s something strangely spiritual about the game that few of us comprehend.
This brief prayer from the Church of Tetris says it best:
Oh, Tetris, thy Glory great,
Give us today our daily blocks,
So that we may clear them.
And give us strength,
Through our gaps and mistakes,
To obtain a tetris.
Whatever hold Tetris has over us, its popularity doesn’t appear to be waning. In fact, it’s the best-selling mobile game ever. Human Tetris, anyone?