TetrisⓇ: A Brief Q&A

Picture this—it’s the year 1984. Rent is $350 a month and gas costs $1.10 per gallon in the US. Life is good.

Meanwhile, over in Moscow, a new puzzle game is about to be born. 

While working in the USSR as a computer programmer, the creator of Tetris often programmed games to test new equipment using simple tasks. In his spare time, he developed a computer game that would eventually become one of the most popular puzzle games in the world.

In this Q&A, we walk you through a brief history of Tetris, including who made Tetris and the Tetris release date, as well as how it became the global sensation we know and love today. 

Q: Who Created Tetris?

A: Russian scientist Alexey Pajitnov.

Q: When Was Tetris Made?

A: Tetris originated in 1984. Alexey created it on June 6, 1984, to be exact. 

Q: When Did Tetris Come Out Globally?

A: In 1985, Tetris was ported to the IBM PC and quickly spread throughout the Soviet Union. Two years later, the game launched on PCs in North America and Europe—the first step in its global expansion beyond the Soviet Union.

Q: When Did Tetris Become a Blockbuster?

A: In 1988, after Tetris was released on PCs and the Nintendo Famicom in Japan. It sold over two million copies, becoming a “software blockbuster.”  

Q: How Did Tetris and Game Boy Happen?

A: In 1989, Alexey Pajitnov met video game designer and publisher Henk Rogers. The two became fast friends. Henk obtained the handheld rights to Tetris and licensed those rights to Nintendo. Nintendo's Game Boy launched worldwide (except in Japan) with Tetris as a single packed-in cartridge—and sold over 35 million copies.

Q: Has Tetris Won Awards? 

A: Most definitely. 

In 1989, The Software Publishers Association awarded Tetris four Excellence in Software Awards (then considered the "Oscars" of the software industry).

In 2011, Tetris Link received multiple awards, including the Mensa Select Award, the Toy of the Year (TOTY) Award for Game of the Year, and the Good Housekeeping Research Institute award for Best Games of 2011, among others.

Separately, in 2007, Alexey Pajitnov received the First Penguin Award at the Game Developers Conference.

Q: What World Records Has Tetris Achieved?

A: In 1993, Tetris became the first video game to make it into space, according to Guinness World Records 2014 Gamer's Edition. 

Later, in 2014, Tetris was a game of the year when it was named one of the top-selling video games of all time, according to Guinness World Records 2014 Gamer's Edition.

In 2015, Tetris earned the Guinness World Record for most variants of a videogame.

Q: What’s New With Tetris in 2023?

A: A few things! 

  • The Tetris Company partnered with Gaming Realms to bring Tetris Slingo to real money and social platforms. 
  • Tetris was included in the launch lineup of Game Boy games on Nintendo Switch Online and Tetris Effect: Connected launched on the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation VR2.
  • On March 31st, 2023, Apple TV+ premiered the movie Tetris, starring Taron Egerton, globally. 
  • Blue Kazoo launched a new line of Tetris jigsaw puzzles made from premium FSC-Certified recycled blackboard and plant-based inks.