Fred Benenson

  • culture September 30, 2016

    The Tetris Effect: The Game that Hypnotized the World by Dan Ackerman

    The battle over the licensing rights to Tetris, the resulting reverberations the game caused in the world of video games and popular culture, and even geopolitical relations between the USSR and the West come together in Dan Ackerman’s book The Tetris Effect.

    Before you’re allowed to play Acid Tetris, the screen touts a warning: “This game has been known to cause severe keyboard damage.” Below the message, a deranged face gnaws on a PC keyboard and stares admonishingly at the user with the vacant intensity of a meth addict. I developed a vacation-ruining addiction to this freeware Tetris clone during high school, but it wasn’t my first encounter with the game: I had played the original Tetris obsessively as a seven-year-old on Nintendo’s Game Boy. And because I vaguely understood Acid Tetris’s predecessor as a rare instance of USSR-imported software