Games help people learn, and are great at improving problem solving skills. And while some people may not consider themselves a gamer, I’d like to label them an “invisible” gamer. Someone who may not subscribe to the game culture, but at least plays some sort of game. In a study done in 2009 by Dr. Richard J. Haier and his associates, gray matter in the adolescent girls who participated increased. “Compared to the structural scans of controls the group with Tetris practice showed thicker cortex, primarily in two areas: left BAs 6 and 22/38 after three months of practice.”

Alexey Pazhitnov invented Tetris in 1984 while working at the Academy of Science of the USSR, and he named it by combining the words Tetrominoes (4 segmented pieces) and Tennis.

Tetris is probably the most ported game ever made. It got many people who weren’t gamers to take a look at video games in general in a different light. A list of platforms Tetris isn’t on would be shorter than a list of what it is on. Tetris has sold over 100 million copies for cell phones alone making Pazhitnov a very successful man. Very few other games have had similar success, or have gotten as many non-gamers interested.

Tetris is a great beginners programming project and many programming classes have making the game as an assignment. I’d like to think Pazhitnov knew what he had on his hands when he created it, something that might entice the invisible gamer population to emerge from the basement.

There are a few good tetris games out there, so here are a few:
freetetris is a bare bones Tetris. Good for beginners.
N Blox is a Flash game.
Tetrisfriends requires you to sign up but you can play live against other people, which is pretty fun as long you have someone to play with.

I think the official version is kind of cool. Think Copyright 1985. You can get this on your Xbox or Wii as well. Lots of maps. Definetly try Tetris 6P as it is amazing. But good luck beating the high score. The arcade version of Tetris has a high score of 1,648,905 set by Stephen Krogman in 1999. I can’t even get over 100,000 so if you do count yourself among the elite.

Written by: Jordan Crair
Graphic: John Foster

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