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On this day:

Tetris first released

TETRIS! Now wait. I just wanted to get that out of the way so you don’t rush off and immediately start playing Tetris at the mere mention of its name. Because it’s simply that addictive. In these days of Tomb Raiding and Big Theft Auto, nothing has topped the sheer, maddening irresistibility of slowly dropping blocks, accompanied by music that you must instantly turn off for the sake of your mental health. The game was developed in the former Soviet Union by Alexey Pajitnov on a computer that I assume was the size of a transit van.

After a huge amount of intrigue, furtive smuggling and licensing issues, Tetris was released on this date in the USSR and then reached the west soon afterwards, spreading like a multicoloured virus. In fact, it is one of the few computer games that has a condition named after it. Tetris Syndrome causes the sufferer, after hours or even days of game play, to see blocky shapes in the world around them. Frankly, there are worse syndromes to suffer from.