The Tetris Effect: The Game that Hypnotized the World

The Tetris Effect: The Game that Hypnotized the World

by Dan Ackerman


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The definitive story of a game so great, even the Cold War couldn't stop it

Tetris is perhaps the most instantly recognizable, popular video game ever made. But how did an obscure Soviet programmer, working on frail, antiquated computers, create a product which has now earned nearly 1 billion in sales? How did a makeshift game turn into a worldwide sensation, which has been displayed at the Museum of Modern Art, inspired a big-budget sci-fi movie, and been played in outer space?

A quiet but brilliant young man, Alexey Pajitnov had long nurtured a love for the obscure puzzle game pentominoes, and became obsessed with turning it into a computer game. Little did he know that the project that he labored on alone, hour after hour, would soon become the most addictive game ever made.

In this fast-paced business story, reporter Dan Ackerman reveals how Tetris became one of the world's first viral hits, passed from player to player, eventually breaking through the Iron Curtain into the West. British, American, and Japanese moguls waged a bitter fight over the rights, sending their fixers racing around the globe to secure backroom deals, while a secretive Soviet organization named ELORG chased down the game's growing global profits.

The Tetris Effect is an homage to both creator and creation, and a must-read for anyone who's ever played the game-which is to say everyone.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610396110
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 09/06/2016
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

New York native Dan Ackerman is currently a section editor at the leading technology news site CNET, where he oversees a team running CNET's New York gadget testing lab, reviews laptops and tablets, hosts videos, and writes about hot-button consumer technology topics.

He's a well-known TV talking head, seen on CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, BBC News, ABC, CBS, and NBC News, and other outlets, and he regularly appears as an in-house technology expert on CBS This Morning. As a writer and columnist, Ackerman has contributed regularly to magazines, including Men's Journal, Maxim, Blender, and Sync, and he's previously served as a monthly technology columnist for both SPIN and WWE Magazine. As an industry expert, he's been interviewed by or quoted in the New York Times, USA Today, the Atlantic, Mother Jones, Fast Company, and many other publications.

Table of Contents

Part I

1 The Great Race 3

2 Alexey Leonidovich Pajitnov 13

3 Coming to America 21

4 The First Blocks 29

5 The Black Onyx 37

6 Going Viral 53

Bonus Level 1

7 This Is Your Brain on Tetris 73

Part II

8 From Behind the Iron Curtain 89

9 Into the Mirror 101

10 The Russians Are Coming 111

11 "A Diabolical Plot" 123

12 Welcome to ELORG 129

13 Tetris Takes Las Vegas 137

Bonus Level 2

14 Tetris into Infinity 149

Part III

15 A Bulletproof Deal 163

16 A Secret Plan 167

17 The Gathering Storm 177

18 The Big Bet 181

19 Enemies at the Gate 191

20 "Meet at the Chicken" 201

21 A Tale of Two Tetrises 215

Bonus Level 3

22 The Cognitive Vaccine 229

Epilogue: The Final Bricks 237

Acknowledgments 245

Selected Bibliography 247

Index 251

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