When I close my eyes, I can still see the shapes.

I just got a used GameCube for my birthday.  My friends Paul and Steph know of my burning desire to have a PS3 and kindly thought this would tide me over until that day arrives.  It’s an awesome present and I’m just excited to have a modern video game platform.  Geeking over my new games has led me to reminisce about some old classics–ergo, today’s great, great, great thing:

4.  Tetris

This was a game that even my Mom could love (granted, she’s a bit cooler than most about video games since getting hooked on River Raid back when we had our Atari 2600).   Tetris was dreamed up in 1985 by Alexey Pajitnov, a Russian computer engineer…no, designer…um…programmer?  Uh…let’s just go with ‘smart computer guy’.

It’s name is a compound of ‘tetra’ (reflecting how each piece has four segments), and ‘tennis’ (Alexey’s favorite sport).  Though I played my first game of Tetris on the classic Nintendo system, it’s just about omnipresent today.  Any old operating system you get whether it’s gaming, computing, or a frickin’ mobile phone pretty much comes with the game as a standard.  It’s kind of the new solitaire.  It absolutely permeated our collective mindset.  Check out this clip from ‘The Simpsons’.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Gamer’s mags have consistently ranked the game to be in the top 10–usually in one of the top slots.  You’d think that the game would have lost some of its popularity since the late 80’s but in a recent poll of favorite gaming characters on website GameFAQ’s ‘character battle’, someone–presumably as a joke–entered Tetris’ L-Block as a favorite character.  It went on to win the poll.

Tetris, as is the case with most puzzles is proven to increase brain power.  Specifically in that extended play leads to more efficient consumption of glucose.  Basically, the longer you play, the less energy your brain needs to keep you in the game.

One really cool thing about Tetris is “The Tetris Effect”.  You know how after you watch a lengthy fireworks display you can still see the explosions when you close your eyes?  Well, play enough tetris and you will soon dream of it.  You close your eyes and the puzzle is still falling down in tetrominoe pieces before your eyes.

It’s probably the closest I’ll ever come to an LSD high.

Which is undoubtedly what this dude was on when he created this completely awesome video of human tetris:

Anyway, enough talk.  Here is a gift for you:

http://www.freetetris.org/welcome.html

You’re welcome.

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