Thursday, January 27, 2011

Video Game Tribute #16 - Tetris

To make a video game tribute would be pointless unless this block puzzle classic receives recognition... Lets be honest, if I show you a picture of 4 yellow squares forming one bigger square, your instinct will be to pray my next image is an upside down "L" made up of 4 blue squares... Then you'll want me to put the two images together... Then you'll expect them blow up. In case you're not catching the reference (which is expected if you never owned a GameBoy... Like me), I'm talking about the grandfather of all digital puzzle games... Tetris.

For me, Tetris was little more than a myth growing up... Something that made kids frustrated in the back of class with a muted portable console hidden conveniently behind their Social Studies book. Aside from sleepovers at friends houses who owned the game for Nintendo, I didn't actually play this game myself until the 2000s when it became available on cell phones. It was like waking up for the first time. Where I always thought video games were meant to numb the mind, I was suddenly thrown into a digital world where to stop thinking means certain death! Okay, maybe it's not that intense, but it's pretty stressful once you get to level 10... My brother plays it STARTING at level 13... Crazy schmuck. Tetris really broke the mold with it's unique gameplay, and now every puzzle game that comes out is some kind of grandchild to this old classic; Bejeweled probably being the most well-known.

What I recently just found out, however, is that Tetris wasn't actually created by Nintendo... It was made in Russia. Just another thing the Soviets beat us to. Though I guess it's for the better, who knows where Tetris would have gone had Nintendo created it and branded it... It'd be a mascot. Could you imagine Tetris blocks being on your backpacks as a kid? Doodling geometric shapes on the back of your book covers? Dressing up as an upside down "L" for Halloween and playing the next 3-D action/adventure RPG with a hero who's a block?? Good lord, I'd hate to see what would have become of Nintendogs... Yes, I'm shivering at the thought.

Truth be told, whether Commies or the Axis invented the game, it's America's corporate takeover that really matters... And thanks to EA Sports, we can enjoy this marvel of puzzle video-gaming on our cellphones, in the comfort of our work bathrooms, with our stall-neighbors wondering what all that clicking is in the stall next to them as they awkwardly try to hurry up and get to their next meeting without having to know the face of the man on the toilet, barely a foot to their left.

God Bless America,
~ Mark

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