Making order out of chaos, the thirty-year Tetris influence
Chances are you’ve played Tetris at least once in your life. You get a series of blocks that change shape as they fall into a set on the screen. As the blocks change shape, you decide where you want to place them (quickly), and then place them in a certain position at the bottom of the screen. As you fit blocks of different shapes together, those blocks disappear and clear space that you can use to position new, falling blocks. At some point, when you start to get too many blocks too quickly and lose your concentration (it’s bound to happen), you find the blocks slowly but surely piling up – until your blocks have now reached the top of the screen and have nowhere else to go. At that point, you can see “Game Over” before the screen shows it.
The game has been a favorite of every generation since its starting release back in 1984, with Tetris’s importance growing beyond an easy, neat game that creates social connections to a life philosophy. For the game’s creator, Alexey Pajitnov, it’s all about “making order out of chaos.” The Twitter hashtag #WeAllFitTogether” makes sense when you consider the fact that Pajitnov’s philosophy has become the reason as to why Tetris continues to engage and intrigue each successive generation. The game hasn’t only become a life philosophy for Pajitnov and a few Twitter faithful, but is also a symbol on T-shirts, backpacks, jewelry, sandwich cutters, ice-cube trays, bathing suits, and even coffee cups and mugs. If you’re the body-wearing type, you can even get Tetris blocks on your skin (whether permanent or temporary).
Lucid Ink co-owner Brigett Price remembers a couple that wanted matching Tetris tattoos before their wedding. They walked into his parlor and requested the matching Tetris tattoos. “…they [the couple] are avid gamers and they had just started dating three years ago when they came in wanting those Tetris tattoos. They’re married now. They fit together like those Tetris cubes,” she said.
In a world where chaos surrounds, it’s comforting to know that some things in life are simple. The complexities of life keep us busy, engaged, working, ever consumed with how to make sense of it all, but at the end of the day, we want to know that there’s something simple to life – that is, apart from the struggle, some things just “make sense.”
Perhaps it is the idea of making sense that we need to return to when everything in life seems complex. As for Tetris, it’ll continue to appeal to generations, but, hopefully, it is the order of the game (and life) that will continue to be appreciated – not the chaos.