Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Reader's Diary #1598- Box Brown: Tetris

I love when authors are able to take topic like beer, salt, or Tetris and make what should be a mildy amusing history at best fascinating.

Not a dig at the game, of course. You know the game was great. But how it was created and published? Do you really care? Maybe you should.

Brown begins by introducing us Alexey Pajitnov, a computer scientist in Moscow in the last few years of the U.S.S.R. Pajtinov is instantly likeable. He's a much a philosopher as a computer scientist, and a pretty selfless person to boot. Together, Pajitnov and Brown make a solid case for games as art.

Soon, however, it becomes a high stakes business story as Atari, Nintendo, Sega, and a handful of other developers travel the globe trying to secure the rights. It's complicated by the communist government, language barriers, and mistaken assumptions wind up having dire consequences.

Tetris becomes a subtle metaphor for people and companies scrambling to fit in. Art.

The visuals are simplistic but sufficient, like Tetris blocks, and a black/white/yellow colour scheme recalls the 1st generation Nintendo Game Boys.

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