"In 1984, during the Cold War, a Russian programmer named Alexey Pajitnov created something special: a puzzle game called Tetris. It soon gained a cult following within the Soviet Union. A battle for the rights to publish Tetris erupted when the game crossed the Iron Curtain. Tetris not only took the video game industry by storm, it helped break the boundaries between the United States and the Soviet Union."
This story is of the kind that no one would believe if it were told in a movie, truly stranger than fiction.
And yet it has all the most romantic elements of the love-hate relationship between the US and Russia, with:
- a Russian programmer sitting at a desk at the Soviet Ministry of Software and Hardware Export (aka ELORG), second only to Apple as the sexiest place in the world to work at in 1984
- a puzzle game so addictive that it was marketed in the United States as a plot by the Russians to decrease American workplace productivity, eventually to become the 7th largest video game franchise in history
- showing up to Moscow to secure the rights to Tetris for handheld game consoles, without having any idea where the Ministry is located
- a friendship between a Russian and an American that would eventually get the game's original creator, Alexey Leonidovich Pajitnov, some highly deserved royalties for his creation, 13 years after the game was first sold
- the quintessential story line of a decided underdog creating a product that was loved by literally anyone/everyone who played it, young and old, thanks to its brilliant simplicity and yet the potential for infinite play time
But in addition to being a glued-to-the-screen roller coaster, this story is also the perfect encapsulation of how the licensing of intellectual property functions, on both a local and international level.
"The Russians simply didn't know that the phrase "other computer systems" in the contract was vague enough to include arcade games, game consoles, and handheld consoles."
So the language was subsequently changed to read "a computer consists of a processor, monitor, disk drive(s), keyboard, and operating system."
And that was the difference between a $5,000 and a $5,000,000 licensing fee.
But i realize this doesn't say much, so just enjoy this amazing story of innovation!
all over the world, with emphasis on the USSR, the USA, and Japan