Tetris: From Russia with Love

Tetris: From Russia with Love

2004, Technology  -   14 Comments
Ratings: 7.76/10 from 17 users.

Tetris: From Russia with LoveThis 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.

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.

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14 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Seth Chanowitz

    A very good documentary. It could of been better with much faster pacing and playing up the intergovernmental battle. I think the American government angle is completely absent here. What was the US government's position? Atari was an American company. Did they favor Nintendo? Finally, how did those representatives, who made millions off the game, feel about the fact the game's inventor never got royalties even after the collapse of Communist? I never heard that asked?

  2. Dawkins

    Awesome documentary, this site is the best I've found in a long time!

  3. Bennie Rojas

    i like its,, yeah!!!

  4. Rafael Alvarez

    you are missing the whole point. it was not a problem until it came outside of the iron wall and all the vultures started fighting for it, it was just a game.

  5. Rafael Alvarez

    your missing everything

  6. clairelworthington

    I found this really intriguing since it's Tetris and all that. Glad I came across this website; our Film Studies teacher assigned us to assess one documentary off here.

  7. adilrye

    Very interesting, but...I wish the doc was a little more exciting. I was definitely interested in the story behind Tetris and the power struggle over the game...but admittedly, I dozed off a few times.

  8. Fortunato Siri

    Wow! What a surprisingly moving documentary. This is not really about Tetris but about a person's character and how they fare up against the greater forces of history. I was fascinated by the protagonists. This would make a fantastic novel, play, movie -- maybe even an opera. Mr. N. E. Belikov -- when first introduced I thought **** beaurocrat! But as the story unfolded I thought this man is an unsung hero. Wow, just wow!

    1. dan arse


    2. adilrye

      Yeah, as a person not used to the tactics of business, he learned very quickly. Very smart man.

  9. dan arse

    As far as I understand it Incepted, the Soviet company Elorg claimed the rights to the game because it was a government organization responsible for licensing software to countries outside Russia. Tetris was developed through the computer department of the Soviet government so that gave Elorg the administrative authority. When the British company Amdromeda wanted to legally develop it as a product in Britain they were referred by default from the computer dept. to Elorg and subsequently purchased the PC rights.

    Its interesting because as stated in the documentary the Soviets weren't that experienced in matters of business like this but never the less soon realized what they had to do, which was to protect their legal rights to the game. I don't think the British company Andromeda could just develop the game themselves and sell it under a new name or something, they did the easy thing which was contact the programmers and see how they could do it properly. That is after all the legal way in the capitalistic world.

    Where it got really messy, and where the Soviets were taken advantage of, is when they started licensing out versions of the game via the British companies without keeping Elorg in the loop. The Soviets weren't going to have any of that when they found out from the Nintendo guy, and this wound up working against the British companies. Thats when the soviets got wise to the real commercial value of the game and started selling a variety of new licenses for different markets.

    Long story short is that the unalienable Iintellectual property rights to the game really belonged to Alexey Pajitnovbut the creator... but he was just a computer stooge under the Soviet iron fist, giving all rights to the government and subsequently Elorg.

    ...or something... details might not be totally accurate.

  10. Incepted

    I wonder what kinds of "rights" they were fighting about, it couldn't be the src code, as any good programmer will re-write the functionality rather quickly just from looking at the game, and it couldn't have been patented or design protected, because of its widely spreading within the Soviet block (leaking a lot into the west) before rights were issued in Europe.

  11. Forever54

    Hey. Where is CC? All of the Top Documentary Films are not CC at all ! that is too bad !

    1. apollodoom

      @Forever54 That is because the documentaries are not hosted here, they are simply linked from other sites. Go complain about captions to them.