Erik at the Movies: Tetris


Erik Larson, Staff Writer

Tetris / Тетрис (2023)

It’s 1984, and in the Moscow Computer Academy of Sciences, a man named Alexey Pajitnov would go on to create one of the most famous video games of all time: Tetris™. With its simple, addictive gameplay and high skill ceiling, Tetris™ has stood the test of time. Truly, a perfect game.

However this is not just a review of the videogame, but also a review of the film.

The story is based on the real life events of a contract dispute over the international distribution rights of Tetris™, and the ensuing chaos that resulted from it. I was previously familiar with the story, as a year ago I watched a documentary about this same topic by the YouTuber Gaming Historian and thought it was fascinating, so I was extremely curious when I heard about this movie. Needless to say, I quite enjoyed it! As depicted in the film, multiple interested parties were bidding for the distribution rights, including Robert Stein, the evil Maxwell family (of which the Jeffery Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell was a member of but was not in Tetris), Henk Rogers with Bullet-Proof Software, and Nintendo. While the story is truncated and embellished in places, it is still mostly factual. It is a suspenseful and at times humorous Cold War thriller taking place in a crumbling Soviet Union about to fall, in which our protagonists meet and begin a lifelong friendship. The performances are good and the score combines contemporary 80’s songs and synth with Russian folk music in a really lovely way.

I highly recommend checking this story out on your own time, and have fun! Play Tetris™! 9/10.

-Tetris is streaming on Apple TV+