From its humble beginnings in a Moscow computer lab to a worldwide phenomenon, the classic video game Tetris has a story that is worthy of the big screen treatment.
AppleTV's new movie tells the story of businessman Henk Rogers and Tetris inventor Alexey Pajitnov as they join forces to bring the game to the masses.
What's Tetris About?
Tetris is arguably the most iconic computer game of all time, and it's no wonder; for a generation of gamers, this classic title was their first experience with video games.
While many assume this game was conceived in the Headquarters of Japanese console giant Nintendo, it was actually devised and developed in the USSR by computer programmer Alexey Pajitnov. He worked in a Russian state-controlled Computer Lab in Moscow.
Alexey was a maths and computer whizz, and he often worked late into the night, creating computer games for fun. Making a game for profit was seen as anti-communist and could land you a lengthy prison sentence.
Official Tetris Trailer
In June 1984, Alexey created a version of Tetris inspired by a wooden toy he had seen in the window of a Moscow store. The computer game was programmed on aging Soviet computers and was incredibly simple in terms of graphics and code. However, it was fiendishly fun to play.
Soon, word spread among his colleagues, and the game began to take on a life of its own in the USSR. It wasn't long before the game made its way across the Iron Curtain and into the West, where it was seen by entrepreneur Henk Rogers. He immediately saw the potential of Tetris and realized it could become a worldwide phenomenon.
He only had one problem, technically, this game belonged to the Russian government, and they weren't willing to let it go without a fight.
Tetris on AppleTV is the story of Henk's battle to secure the rights to the game as he enters a high-stakes game of brinkmanship with the KGB, Robert Maxwell, and Soviet authorities.
It's a thrilling story that has already become part of gaming folklore, and it's now been brought to life on AppleTV in this feature-length film.
Is Tetris Worth Watching?
I personally found the story entertaining and engaging. However, I am a big fan of gaming and espionage-type drama. So this movie was a perfect blend for me. If you're not into gaming, the plot may seem a bit dry, and you might be underwhelmed by the story and characters.
If you're the type of person who found The Big Short, Moneyball, or Wolf of Wall Street entertaining, then Tetris on AppleTV will be right up your alley.
It doesn't quite reach the standard of The Social Network or Billion Dollar Code, but it's a decent enough story that should keep you entertained.
The acting is solid and believable, the cinematography is well done, and the soundtrack is spot-on with some appropriate 80s classics.
Overall, it's a good movie that captures the spirit of the game, and it's well worth watching for anyone who loves Tetris or is interested in learning more about its fascinating origin story.
The cast of the Apple TV Plus original movie Tetris features some familiar faces, including Taron Egerton, Toby Jones, Mara Huf, Miles Barrow, Dennis Jackson, Rick Yune, and Nikita Yefremov.
Taron Egerton stars as Henk Rogers in the movie. He is best known for his roles in Rocketman (2019), Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), and Eddie the Eagle (2016).
Toby Jones plays Robert Stein and is well-known for his roles in Sherlock Holmes (2009), Anthropoid (2016), and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011).
Mara Huf stars as Tracy and has appeared in films such as The Girl with All the Gifts (2016) and The Last Kingdom (2015).
Miles Barrow takes on the role of Dennis Jackson and has previously been seen in films such as The Little Stranger (2018) and Darkest Hour (2017).
Dennis Jackson is played by Rick Yune, who has had roles in Die Another Day (2002), Olympus Has Fallen (2013), and Fast & Furious 6 (2013).
Finally, Nikita Yefremov plays Alexey Pajitnov and has starred in movies such as Leto (2018) and the TV Series A Good Man.
How Much Did Alexey Pajitnov Get For Making Tetris?
Alexey Pajitnov, the creator of Tetris, did not receive any royalties for the game until 1996, over a decade after its initial release.
This was due to the fact that the game was created while he was working for the Soviet government, and as such, the rights to the game were owned by the state.
In 1996, Pajitnov and his business partner, Henk Rogers, formed The Tetris Company to manage the rights to the game.
It is unclear exactly how much Pajitnov has made from Tetris over the years, as the ownership and distribution of the game has changed hands multiple times.
However, it is known that Pajitnov received a lump sum payment from the game's original publisher, Spectrum Holobyte, in the mid-1980s for his work on the game. The amount of this payment is not publicly known.
Tetris stands in a league of its own, having sold over 100 million copies – an extraordinary feat only matched by Grand Theft Auto and Minecraft.
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