While technology has marched ever-forward since it first came on the scene, it would appear that the world hasn't changed as much as you might expect since the first release of Tetris.
Created by Russian Alexey Pajitnov in 1984, amidst the tensions of the Cold War, the game went on to find a global audience – uniting East and West in their attempts to improve high scores.
The recent Russian annexation of the Crimea and the international tension inflamed by the geo-political events in Ukraine give us a glimpse back to the world of 1984. Tetris is without a doubt the most popular Soviet Union game ever created but the former Soviet states of Eastern Europe now have a strong creative industry with many titles, such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Metro 2033 and S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Cernoby, coming from game developers in Poland and Ukraine.
The increasing strength of Eastern Europe in the gaming industry is an exciting and possibly a telling sign of the changing nature of the industry. The Western portion of the industry are bogged down by massive production costs exacerbated by their attempts to create Call of Duty like experiences, and the large salaries expected by an educated professional workforce only increases budgets.
Cheaper costs of living in Eastern Europe combined with smaller, more flexible, publishers has allowed for a fledgling industry which has been able to build a global audience as they look to provide deeper, more technical gameplay experiences.
While Tetris appears simple compared to modern video games, it sported the need for complex strategy, with blocks moving faster over time meaning that the ability to predict and leave space for upcoming pieces was required for high-level play. There have now been over 50 versions of Tetris since its initial release in 1984, that’s more than 1.5 a year, a truly exceptional figure!
The popularity of Tetris will continue to rumble on, and if the hype building around the upcoming The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, from Polish Developed CD Projekt Red, is anything to go by then the appetite for Eastern European gaming will only continue to grow.