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Tetris (Russian: Тетрис [ˈtɛtrʲɪs]) is a tile-matching video game created by Russian software engineer Alexey Pajitnov in 1984. It has been published by several companies, most prominently during a dispute over the appropriation of the game’s rights in the late 1980s. After a significant period of publication by Nintendo, the rights reverted to Pajitnov in 1996, who co-founded The Tetris Company with Henk Rogers to manage Tetris licensing.
In Tetris, players must complete lines by moving differently shaped pieces (tetrominoes), which descend onto the playing field. The completed lines disappear and grant the player points, and the player can proceed to fill the vacated spaces. The game ends when the playing field is filled. The longer the player can delay this inevitable outcome, the higher their score will be. In multiplayer games, the players must last longer than their opponents, and in certain versions, players can inflict penalties on opponents by completing a significant number of lines. Some adaptations have provided variations to the game’s theme, such as three-dimensional displays or a system for reserving pieces.
Built on simple rules and requiring intelligence and skill, Tetris established itself as one of the great early video games. It has sold 202 million copies – approximately 70 million physical units and 132 million paid mobile game downloads – as of December 2011, making it one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time; the Game Boy version in particular is one of the best-selling games of all time, with over 35 million copies sold. The game is available on over 65 platforms, setting a Guinness world record for the most ported video game title. Tetris is rooted within popular culture and its popularity extends beyond the sphere of video games; imagery from the game has influenced architecture, music and cosplay. The game has also been the subject of various research studies that have analyzed its theoretical complexity and have shown its effect on the human brain following a session, in particular the Tetris effect.