Tetris is an addictive puzzle game with a curious connection to the USSR’s artificial intelligence program. Designed by researcher Alexey Pajitnov, Tetris was the first video game to be exported from the Soviet Union to the United States. You can play Tetris free online here below. NOTE: This game requires Adobe Flash and will not work on iOS devices including the iPhone and iPad or web browsers with the Flash plugin.

How To Play Tetris

The object of Tetris is to create perfectly filled groups of blocks without any gaps. As the shapes fall, players can rotate randomly presented tetrad shapes in 90-degree increments. When a horizontal line without gaps forms, it will disappear. As the game progresses, the shapes fall faster. The game ends when the board “tops out” and no more shapes are able to enter.

Tetris History

Alexey Pajitnov, the creator of Tetris, didn’t make any money off his creation for the first decade. All profits went to the Soviet government until Pajitnov took over licensing in 1996. Early versions of Tetris included Soviet-themed backgrounds featuring their space program and landmarks like the Kremlin.

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Since its initial release in 1984, Tetris has become an icon in both the video game industry as well as general pop culture. Versions of Tetris can be found on every gaming platform, Japanese game shows, and even IRL recreations.

NERD NOTE: Alexey Pajitnov originally designed and programmed Tetris in 1984, while working for the Dorodnicyn Computing Centre of the Academy of Science of the USSR in Moscow. Pajitnov has cited pentominoes as a source of inspiration for the game. He derived its name from the Greek numerical prefix “tetra-“, as all of the pieces contain four segments, and tennis, Pajitnov’s favorite sport.