Tetris: The Games People Play



It is, perhaps, the perfect video game. Simple yet addictive, Tetris delivers an irresistible, unending puzzle that has players hooked. Play it long enough and you’ll see those brightly colored geometric shapes everywhere. You’ll see them in your dreams.

Alexey Pajitnov had big ideas about games. In 1984, he created Tetris in his spare time while developing software for the Soviet government. Once Tetris emerged from behind the Iron Curtain, it was an instant hit. Nintendo, Atari, Sega―game developers big and small all wanted Tetris. A bidding war was sparked, followed by clandestine trips to Moscow, backroom deals, innumerable miscommunications, and outright theft.

In this graphic novel, New York Times–bestselling author Box Brown untangles this complex history and delves deep into the role games play in art, culture, and commerce. For the first time and in unparalleled detail, “Tetris: The Games People Play” tells the true story of the world’s most popular video game. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)


This book was a little different than I had expected.  The book is mostly a history of the politics behind the production and distribution rights of Tetris.  That was certainly interesting, but just was a little off the mark from what I was expecting it to be.  Another odd aspect was trying to loop in the general history of art at the beginning such as cave paintings etc.  It could have been an interesting topic, but probably would have deserved to be a story in its own right rather than tacked onto the story of a video game.

Despite the content being slightly different than what I had expected, I think the story telling was well-done and well-illustrated.  I also enjoyed that the entire story-telling was attempted in a similar style to the game of Tetris itself.  That was a nice tribute and worked well.  All in all, I’d say it was an ok read, but it isn’t one I’d expect to re-read.

Rating: 3 stars!

Who should read it? Folks interested in learning a little video game history.