Tetris: From Russia with Love
This is the story behind the fiendishly addictive game, a tale of high stakes, intimidation and legal feuds set against the backdrop of Cold War tensions between East and West.
Blocks of different sizes fall from the top of the screen. At the bottom of the screen they settle and, if you can make a whole line then they vanish – of course if you don’t then they keep building up until you run out of room and the game ends. It is incredibly simple but fiendishly addictive and once you played it, you were pretty much owned by Tetris.
This documentary takes us back to the origins of the game in Russia as systems at the Moscow Computing School were being developed and pushed as to what they could do and one programme starts experimenting with falling shapes based on a famous jigsaw puzzle.
Computer games are made every week in the world and although Tetris was a phenomenon, a documentary that looks at the business dealings and negotiations that took it from a Moscow computer into homes and hands around the world.
However the story behind the business moves, political complications and such is a fascinating one that is delivered in an accessible and succinct manner in this documentary. The talking heads approach works really well because the contributions are focused and interesting – presenting the history while also managing to bring their characters out well.
The presentation is professional and respectful while the whole thing is very easy to follow and understand. Overall an enjoyable and interesting documentary that despite sounding a bit dull and corporate, will easily engage those who are familiar with the game.
Watch the full documentary now (playlist – 58 minutes)