Two Books and a Tetris Gameboy Cartridge on a table - Dan Ackerman's "The Tetris Effect" and Box Brown's "Tetris: The Games People Play"

Like a lot of kids in the late 80s, I found a GameBoy under my Christmas tree. It came with one pack in game - Tetris. I played during the days, my Dad played in the evenings.

Tetris was not my first gaming love. Games on the Spectrum probably took that place, but the Gameboy was my first console - a device dedicated to only playing games. As a youngster I wanted excitment, and whilst I sunk hours in to the Tetris, I craved arcade action reflecting what I saw on review shows such as Bad Influence.

As I got older - that relationship changed. I’ve almost always had a GameBoy - a DMG at first, then a Pocket. The Colour and later versions didn’t appeal, I’ve got some sort of attachment to monochrome screens… After uni, I bought a new transparent crystal pocket and added a back-light mod to defeat darkness. Tetris went from the game that I played a bit to the game that I played obsessively. I keep an Everdrive for playing other games, but there is always a separate Tetris cartridge.

The history of Tetris reads like a bad Holywood plot. Now that there’s going to be an Apple TV movie with Taron Egerton as Henk Rogers, I suppose it is now a Holywood plot. I digress, it’s full of drama, deadlines, negotiation, angry Russians, at least one media mogul (spoilers - he ends up dead), pirated code, chips, Atari and Nintendo. No idea how they’re going to get it all in to one movie.

“The Tetris Effect” by Dan Ackerman was a holiday purchase I read a few years go. I intended it to be “casual reading”, and then glued my nose to it for a few days. For me, this is the comprehensive history of the game and the people involved.
If you enjoyed Fire In the Valley, or Soul of a New Machine, you’ll find this an easy and exciting read. If you enjoy John le Carré novels, you might find aspects unbelievable (it’s all true).

“Tetris: The Games People Play” by Box Brown is a graphic novel telling of the story. Each section starts with head shots to introduce new players before telling their story. It starts with exploring the ideas of gameplay before introducing Alexey Pajitnov and Vadim Gerasimov. As with the Tetris Effect, we explore the same story, but we get a different take on how the individuals were effected and their roles in the story. It’s immensely enjoyable with two tone block coloured artwork.

I provide no links for purchase, but if you can please buy your books from independent. Big Green Books is a favourite of mine, and OK Comics are great for your graphic novel needs.