In 1989 and 1990, respectively (Europe), the Nintendo Game Boy came onto the market. Despite the already antiquated performance and the monochrome display, the handheld sold like hotcakes. The reason was not only the phenomenal playing time of up to 30 hours with four AA batteries and the comparatively small size of the device at the time but also the game that was included with every Game Boy sold in North America and Europe: Tetris.
The puzzle game was highly addictive and captivated not only children but adults. It was just as common to play a round during the big break at school as it was during the lunch break at the office. And: Even today, it has lost none of its charms due to the simple and complex game principle. So it’s no wonder the title has become the best-selling video game of all time across all platforms, with around 520 million copies sold.
Many people didn’t know that the game, programmed by Russian programmer Alexei Leonidovich Pashitnov, was the subject of a fundamental rights war in which every company involved believed they owned the rights. And then there was a genuine hurdle to overcome: Pashitnov was living in the Soviet Union then, so “Tetris” was a state matter. How the game was nevertheless able to spread around the world and become a success story together with the Game Boy is the subject of a forthcoming film, for which there is a first trailer:
The fast-paced trailer makes one thing clear first and foremost: At least as exciting as the game, which millions of video game enthusiasts should find under the Christmas tree or receive for their birthday or the like in the next few years, was the battle for the rights to “Tetris.” Sure, director Jon S. Baird (“Dirty Pig”) and screenwriter Noah Pink (“The Show”) may have added a tip or two, but by and large, the story coincides with the actual events surrounding Henk Rogers.
“Tetris”: The battle behind the scenes
“Tetris” explores the exciting story behind the most successful video game title. In 1988, computer game developer Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) discovered Tetris at a computer trade show. Convinced of its potential, he obtained the exploitation rights for the Japanese market through his company Bullet-Proof Software. He took it to video game giant Nintendo, which was about to release its new development Game Boy. After several unsuccessful attempts to secure the handheld rights, Rogers decided to put all his eggs in one basket and fly directly to Moscow to contact the relevant authority and the developer himself. The beginning of friendship between Rogers and Alexei Leonidovich Pashitnov (Nikita Efremov) continues to this day.
In addition to Taron Egerton as Henk Rogers and Nikta Efremov as Alexei Leonidovich Pashitnov, the cast includes Toby Jones, Sofya Lebedeva, Ben Miles, Rick Yune, Robert Allam, Togo Igawa as well as Ieva Andrejevaite. “Tetris” will be available via Apple TV+ starting March 31, 2023. And then, just a few days later, on April 6, 2023, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” will launch. So it’s a great time for Nintendo fans.