Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Jorge. Jorge Wonders, “Who did Tetris,Why it was so popular,and what is tetris?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Jorge!

Do you have a favorite video game? Do you spend time on Roblox after school? Maybe you love to play Minecraft or Fortnite with your friends. Today’s Wonder of the Day is about one of the most popular video games of all time. What are we talking about? Tetris®, of course!

Have you ever played Tetris? If so, you know how much fun it can be. The game is hard to put down! If you haven’t played before, it’s pretty easy to get the gist of Tetris. It’s played in what’s called a Matrix—an empty rectangle on a screen. Shapes, called Tetriminos, fall into the Matrix. It’s the player’s job to place each Tetrimino so that it forms an unbroken horizontal line with other shapes. 

When a straight line is formed, the blocks in the line disappear. The goal of the game is to stop the Tetriminos from piling up and reaching the top of the Matrix. This becomes difficult because the shapes fall faster the longer you play.

Today, Tetris is one of the best-selling video games of all time. Have you ever WONDERed who invented it? The game was created by a Russian computer engineer named Alexey Pajitnov in 1984. He was inspired by his favorite board game, Pentominos. 

However, it was many years before Pajitnov would see much success from Tetris. The game became popular almost immediately, but the rights to the game belonged to the USSR government until 1996. It allowed Tetris to be sold through agreements with companies like Nintendo and Atari.  

In 1996, though, Pajitnov founded the Tetris Company. To this day, it owns the rights to Tetris. While it started as a basic computer game, Tetris quickly spread to multiple platforms. It was one of the most commonly played games on Nintendo’s Game Boy. 

In 1993, Tetris became the first video game played in space. Russian Aleksandr Serebrov played the game on his Game Boy while aboard a rocket. Since then, Tetris has remained one of the most popular games among kids and adults alike.

Tetris may be fun, but it’s also been shown to have a positive impact on the brain. In a 2009 study, kids played Tetris daily for about 30 minutes over the course of three months. This led to growth in parts of their brains tied to cognitive function. The game has also been used to combat some effects of trauma for PTSD patients. 

Many people enjoy playing Tetris, but some have a difficult time putting the game down. They spend so much time playing Tetris that they see Tetriminos falling in their dreams. Some even report hallucinations. This is called the “Tetris Effect.” While some see it as a negative effect of too much time playing the game, others claim it helps them organize and bring order to their lives. 

Have you ever played Tetris? There’s a reason it’s been around for so long—the game can be a lot of fun! Like other video games, it can also be good for you. Just make sure you play with permission from an adult!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.7, CCRA.W.8, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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