Tetris, one of the most enduring and classic games of all time, is getting a film adaptation at some point in the near future (via Wall Street Journal).
You would be forgiven for thinking that Tetris is just a simple puzzle game about falling blocks. Apparently the game’s story is far grander than that.
“It’s a very big, epic sci-fi movie,” explained Larry Kasanoff, the CEO of Threshold Entertainment which has teamed up with The Tetris Company to develop the film. Kasanoff did not share any details about the plot other than its massive scale: “What you [will] see in Tetris is the teeny tip of an iceberg that has intergalactic significance.”
This is not Kasanoff’s first experience with adapting major video game properties to the silver screen, having previously produced 1995’s Mortal Kombat and its 1997 followup Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Both films were critically panned, but effectively leveraged the brand’s established audience into reasonably strong box office showings (even without a thespian powerhouse like Raúl Juliá anchoring the cast).
If the Tetris film fares well, Kasanoff has plans for a wider range of multi-media experiences for their narrative: “We certainly have the canvas for location-based entertainment based on the epicness.”
The real life history of Tetris is an interesting little chapter of late Soviet history in its own right. Russian computer scientist Alexey Pajitnov developed the game in his spare time while working for the Soviet Academy of Sciences in 1984. The distribution rights were owned by the Soviet Union, and confusing management led to years of lawsuits between Atari and Nintendo, who had both been granted the rights to publish.
After the Union’s 1991 dissolution, it took until 1996 for Pajitnov to finally reclaim the game from its post-Soviet limbo and profit from his beloved creation with the formation of The Tetris Company.