Happy 30th Birthday, Tetris!

Tetris: still looking good after 30 years.

Ah, Tetris. It’s 30 years old, and still going strong.

My earliest memories of Tetris are of playing it on our NES system. My dad was the biggest fan (and the best at it) for a while. The TV and NES were in parents’ bedroom at the time, and I remember waking up early one weekend and peeking into their room and discovering my dad, still in his pajamas, playing Tetris quietly. It’s funny—the only time I remember my dad ever swearing was him muttering under his breath while playing Tetris. I can’t hear “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” without picturing falling blocks.

Pretty soon, I was addicted, too. My brother and I competed constantly. Sure, other dropping-pieces games came along, like Dr. Mario, but I think the ubiquity of Tetris won out: you could play it on the Game Boy, on the PC. Heck, there were even some graphing calculators that played Tetris. In college, I got into fierce Tetris competitions with my roommates. I could tell when he was playing because the frantic clacking of keys had a different (and faster) rhythm than his typing. I even figured out how to hack the high score table—pretty simple, actually, since it was just a text file—and surprise him with scores that were leaps and bounds above his highest scores.

Tetris even played a part in my courtship. You laugh, but it’s true. I wooed my wife with, among other things, a copy of tetris.exe on a 3.5″ floppy disk. (Kids, ask your parents.)

Like countless others, I owe my ability to pack efficiently to time spent playing Tetris. I can make room in the fridge for one more container of leftovers or in the trunk of the car for one more suitcase, and we’ve always called it “tetris-ing” when I’m making those rearrangements.

I could go on, but I don’t need to. I play much less Tetris now than I used to—that iOS Tetris Blitz just makes me feel old, grumbling at all these newfangled features—but there will always be a soft spot in my heart for those falling blocks.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of this amazing puzzle game, here’s a video put together by Tetris. There are meetups happening all over the world, too, so check out the We All Fit Together website for more.

Tetris 30th Anniversary Video – June 6, 2014 from Tetris on Vimeo.

Jonathan H. Liu is a stay-at-home dad in Portland, Oregon, who loves to read, is always up for a board game, and has a bit of a Kickstarter habit.