Wow, probably the most important game in the world celebrates its twentieth anniversary, with all of the commercial oppurtunitues what normally come when games celebrate anniversaries (re-releasing old NES games for the GBA, without changing them? Come on, Nintendo. And you’re no better Atari). Sky’s attempt at least sounds a little better- Sky Gamestar, Sky’s interactive TV games channel, have launched the Tetris Liveplay Championship, starting tomorrow (Thursday 31st March). People throughout the UK will be able to duel with their remotes in real-time, and the highest ranking player after two weeks will awarded £1,000. To help celebrate the anniversary, Gamestar have put together a top ten things you didn’t know about tetris list. Yup, we actually think that’s cool.
1. Tetris is based on an ancient Roman puzzle called Pentamino
2. Over 86 million units have been sold worldwide to date, eclipsing sales of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album (best selling album of all time at approximately 56 million copies)
3. The Tetris logo was designed by legendary record sleeve artist Roger Dean, who created famous album covers for rock giants Yes in the 1970s
4. The game inspired a terrible single in 1992 by Dr Spin, featuring samples of music composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber
5. In September 2002, Faiz Chopdat, 23, of Blackburn, was jailed for four months after refusing to turn off his mobile on a flight from Egypt to Manchester. The crew asked him three times to switch off the phone, which was interfering with the plane’s communications system, but each time Chopdat turned it on again. He was playing Tetris.
6. The world’s smallest game of Tetris took place under an electron mîcroscope using 42 glass ‘mîcrospheres’ at the Department of Physics of Complex Systems in Amsterdam
7. Brown University in Rhode Island, US, was turned into the biggest game of Tetris in 2000, when the windows of the 14-storey building lit up as the shapes ‘fell’. It was visible for miles.
8. Yuri Yevushenko, director of the Russian Academy in the 1980s, claims Tetris is so successful because "unlike American games it is not about murder, shooting or chasing; it is about building and order."
9. In a recent US study at the Harvard Medical School’s department of psychiatry, 27 Tetris players spent seven hours a day, for three days, playing the game. Many had ‘Tetris dreams’.
10. There is an online Church of Tetris website, which attracted hundreds of visitors per week.