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Tetris: The Games People Play by Box Brown
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Tetris: The Games People Play (edition 2016)

by Box Brown (Author)

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17310121,559 (3.59)1
"It is, perhaps, the perfect video game. Simple yet addictive, Tetris delivers an irresistible, unending puzzle that has players hooked. Play it long enough and you'll see those brightly colored geometric shapes everywhere. You'll see them in your dreams. Alexey Pajitnov had big ideas about games. In 1984, he created Tetris in his spare time while developing software for the Soviet government. Once Tetris emerged from behind the Iron Curtain, it was an instant hit. Nintendo, Atari, Sega--game developers big and small all wanted Tetris. A bidding war was sparked, followed by clandestine trips to Moscow, backroom deals, innumerable miscommunications, and outright theft. In this graphic novel, New York Times--bestselling author Box Brown untangles this complex history and delves deep into the role games play in art, culture, and commerce. For the first time and in unparalleled detail, Tetris: The Games People Play tells the true story of the world's most popular video game."--Page [2] of cover.… (more)
Member:miracosta
Title:Tetris: The Games People Play
Authors:Box Brown (Author)
Info:First Second (2016), 256 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tetris: The Games People Play by Box Brown

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The history of Tetris in graphic novel format. I don't think I'd want to read this any other way. Who knew the game we love so much had such an unusual back story? ( )
  readingbeader | Oct 29, 2020 |
I really wanted to like this. I'm a huge Tetris fan, and was already pretty familiar with the Tetris origin story. I'm also a huge graphic novel fan, and was primed to enjoy the combination of the two. In fact, I lay down and read the book in an hour or two the night I got it, and immediately rated it 5-stars on Goodreads, even though I knew at the time I had some reservations. But I didn't write a review. I didn't think about it deeply enough to articulate those reservations to myself.

I had a chance to re-read it this morning, and realized immediately what was wrong. Two things: 1. the story is barely about Tetris. It is some parts about Tetris, in the middle mostly, but it has a beginning that makes all kinds of statements about games and the origins of games that is written in a very declarative style. These statements are written as if they are fact: some about the origins of senet (one of the first board games); some about which came first, art or games; and some hasty conclusions about the motivations of people as they play games. I would go so far as to say that all of these statements, written as if they are absolute truths, written as if they are well-researched facts, are entirely subjective at best and downright incorrect at worst.

Much later, after what I consider the best parts of the book in the middle, about the actual origination of Tetris, the book becomes primarily about the IP rights battle(s) that plagued Tetris for years. Don't get me wrong, there are many interesting stories in there, but I feel like they're so much less interesting than the origin of games and why we play games, ideas that the book begins with, makes poorly drawn conclusions about, and then abandons.

The entire book is written as if there is nothing subjective about it. These are depictions of facts. History. And after those first 30 pages about ancient history... pages with lots of statements I found suspect, I found it hard to read all the rest without a hefty suspicion. My skeptical hackles were up. The seeds of doubt had taken root. It's entirely possible the rest of the book is well researched, but I wish the book hadn't started as it did.

The second thing I disliked about the book was far more subjective. I loved the art style. The drawings in the book are awesome. But they are not, with a few pages of exceptions, at all inspired by Tetris.

Now maybe this is weird, but I'm a Tetris connoisseur. I've played every Tetris variant I can get my hands on. I've got ALL of the Tetris board games. I've got a collection of Tetris tee-shirts. So... I like Tetris art. And I really expected to find a bunch of it in this book. Overall, I was pretty disappointed. For the most part, pentominos are really only found on pages that depict the actual game itself. The cover is an exception, it is not what we find inside. ( )
  livingtech | Mar 18, 2020 |
Fun read about the history of Tetris. Also includes a brief history of gaming and the history of Nintendo. ( )
  koala750 | Jul 29, 2019 |
History of the game - From Russia, to UK and Japan and all over the US and back again with exchanges in contracts and other interesting things that you may not have know about Tetris and the beginning of pixel games.
  EBassett | Mar 20, 2019 |
This graphic novel title was a little deceiving. Yes, it talks about the game Tetris, but it covers a lot more. The story goes way back to the beginning of mankind to try and determine where and how the desire for gaming began and how it developed. It moves on to Japan and the history of Nintendo founded by Fusjiro Yamauchi. It began with a popular card game and grew into the technology giant we know today. About 2/3 of the way into the book we meet up with Alexey. We follow his process as he developed Tetris. It was originally distributed around Russia as Freeware, but when it was sent to a company in Hungary, it escaped to the world. The business behind the distribution of the game was daunting to Alexey and everyone was trying to make money. This section of the book is quite drawn out, but interesting to see the hoops, the many different companies involved and the politics behind this. Eventually Alexey moved to the US and got a job at Microsoft designing games. Tetris was the first game to go into space. A very interesting read.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  Carlathelibrarian | Feb 5, 2019 |
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Alexey Pajitnov, computer scientist at Moscow Academy of Science Creator of Tetris
Earth, 1984
Two friends discuss the comings and goings of the universe and our place in it.
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"It is, perhaps, the perfect video game. Simple yet addictive, Tetris delivers an irresistible, unending puzzle that has players hooked. Play it long enough and you'll see those brightly colored geometric shapes everywhere. You'll see them in your dreams. Alexey Pajitnov had big ideas about games. In 1984, he created Tetris in his spare time while developing software for the Soviet government. Once Tetris emerged from behind the Iron Curtain, it was an instant hit. Nintendo, Atari, Sega--game developers big and small all wanted Tetris. A bidding war was sparked, followed by clandestine trips to Moscow, backroom deals, innumerable miscommunications, and outright theft. In this graphic novel, New York Times--bestselling author Box Brown untangles this complex history and delves deep into the role games play in art, culture, and commerce. For the first time and in unparalleled detail, Tetris: The Games People Play tells the true story of the world's most popular video game."--Page [2] of cover.

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