The Granite Tower
EDITORIALOPINION
Tetris is Awesome
Lee Seung Hyun  |  helloseunghyun@korea.ac.kr
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승인 2013.03.27  20:56:01
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

   
▲ Lee Seung Hyun 

Tetris is perhaps the most widely played game in the history of electronic devices. Regularly voted as one of the top games of all time, Tetris is still a very popular game. In a generation where games of increasing intricacy and superior graphics appear in the market every month, it is difficult to believe that this simple puzzle game still stands strong. Built into the system of numerous electronic devices including calculators, portable media players, and personal digital assistants (PDA), this game rules over the gamers of generations of the past and the present. 

Tetris is a very simple game. Its working mechanism is gravity. A series of different tetriminos drop from the very top of the screen in a random order. Players can either move or rotate the blocks as they fall down to the bottom of the box. The objective is to organize the falling tetriminos in an aligned manner and in columns without any gaps.

Once you fill a line with no gaps, the line disappears. If a player fails to get rid of the lines, tetriminos will stack up to the top, which means the game is over. Now, knowing the mechanics of the game, the question is what made this simple game persevere through the test of time. As the concept of Tetris implies, Tetris is unbelievably simple and it is this simplicity that makes Tetris special.

Simplicity is the core value of Tetris that has helped it to reign for 28 years. It is because Tetris’s simplicity allows numerous features that make it a titan of the game industry. Something that is simple is easy to approach. This approachability is something that all Tetris players feel when they first encounter the game. Moving pieces around to fill up empty space is something anyone can understand. It appeals to people’s nature of doing something that they are easily able to do. Tetris’s almost close-to-dull level of simplicity allows literally everyone to try it out at the very least, and quite a few of them end up being caught by its attraction.

What is more intriguing is the fact that this attraction is planted everywhere. Because Tetris is a game that runs on simple principles, it does not take up a lot of memory and does not require high running capabilities to play it on a device. This is why you can find many electronic devices with Tetris installed inside it. This applicability of Tetris means a very efficient and effective form of exposure. Since Tetris can be played anywhere, it is found everywhere once people found it to be entertaining.

So simple. However, it would be foolish to simply say that Tetris is simple. What really has kept people mesmerized is its ability to keep people obsessed with the game. The catalyst of obsession lies in the underlying complexity of the game. On the surface, the game wears a mask of simplicity to lure players. Yet, as any Tetris player will confirm, the game is extremely difficult to master. Tetris is geometry. Alexey Pajitnov, the creator of Tetris, focused on making an enjoyable geometry puzzle when he made Tetris.

The tetriminos are mathematically designed to be able to make a rectangular structure. Yet, the number of potential combinations is limitless, especially taking into account that users can freely fill up the place provided, occasionally making gaps by the slip of a finger. Trapped under mathematical questions that seem so easy yet so hard to master, people invest all their effort and time into conquering Tetris.

Tetris is now 28 years old, just a year short of its creator’s age when he made this ground-changing game. Now attracting fans like myself on social networking sites such as Facebook, it continues its legacy and tradition in different media. We do not know how long Tetris will continue keeping people happy in its lovely geometry puzzle, but it seems clear that Tetris is not leaving us any time soon. It is simply too awesome.

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