In 1984, a new video game was released. This game was visionary! It was like nothing anyone had ever seen before! It was a game about fitting blocks together as they fell at increasing speeds. This game became more and more popular getting rebooted many times over the years. Today there seem to be dozens of versions of the game. As you’ve probably already figures out, the game that I am referring to it Tetris.
As I said, the purpose of Tetris is to fit blocks together as they fall, rotating and dropping the pieces to maximize effectiveness in this pursuit. There have been changes to the game over the years, but with the basic concept that it has, there is not much room for expansion, and the fundamental concepts remain the same. So what is it about the game that has captured the hearts of millions of people and continues to do so today? I believe there are three reasons that Tetris is so popular. These are that it is simple to learn to play, it requires excessive use of the brain, and it is never ending.
The fact that Tetris is easy to learn how to play was most certainly an important factor in it’s becoming popular. Many computer games are very difficult to play and require numerous tutorials and many hours devoted to them to become proficient making them the domain of dedicated gamers only; Tetris, on the other hand, is about as simple of a game as you can get. It uses a total of four or five keys depending on the version and it exceedingly simple to play. After all, rotating and dropping blocks to create uninterrupted lines isn’t rocket science.
I also believe that the fact that Tetris uses the brain excessively is a large factor in its popularity. Mindless shooting games and such are fun (who can say that they don’t enjoy blowing aliens away with an array of weapons?) but there is a part of the person that wants to put their mind to work. Of course, we aren’t all geniuses which makes Tetris appealing because it requires brain usage, yet it still remains simple enough that anyone can play it.
The last, and possibly most important, reason that Tetris is so popular is that it is unending. This is a huge factor because games with a linear storyline and a well-defined end are really only good for as long as the story runs. Tetris, on the other hand, cannot be finished since you just go until you die. It’s actually rather depressing when you think about it, but hey, that’s apparently what people want. Because you can’t beat Tetris, it beckons people to try again and again to beat the all elusive High Score.
Other reasons that I think that Tetris is popular are:
1) Brightly colored blocks! Who doesn’t like shiny (or in this case neon colored) things?
2) Easy accessibility nowadays. Need to burn a few minutes? Just pull out your phone. You’ll probably end up wasting a few hours!
3) You can play head-to-head and mock the other player. Take it from me, this really is fun!