Monday, 27 June 2016

Game Time: 1989, Tetris.



In the News

It’s 1989. A wall falls down in Germany. Ninety-six people lose their lives at Hillsborough Football Stadium. George Bush Snr. becomes President of the United States. Toyota launches its luxury brand, the Lexus. Serial killer Ted Bundy is executed by electric chair. The Mirage Hotel and Casino opens in Las Vegas. The United States provide assistance to the Columbian Government to battle Drug Lords. During the height of its operations, the Columbian Cartel generates more than £47 million per day. Forbes magazine estimates Columbian Godfather, Pablo Escobar, to be one of 227 billionaires in the world with a personal net worth of close to $3 billion, while his Medellín Cartel controls 80% of the global cocaine market. Sky TV is launched in the UK and a Boeing 747 crashes onto the M1 Motorway.


The Game Times

Operation Wolf (NES) wins GOTY at the Golden Joystick Awards. The seminal releases are: Phantasy Star II on the Sega Master System; Mega Man 2 on the NES; SimCity and Minesweeper on PC; Super Mario Land with “Princess Daisy” debuting and, in June, Tetris on Nintendo Gameboy.



The release of Tetris is significant because I’m fast approaching my fifth birthday and my parents combine it with the Ultimate Warrior Wrestle-Buddy Teddy as my main presents. Until this point my only hand-held devices are a Walkman with Jason Donovan’s album, Ten Good Reasons, and a Speak and Spell. Tetris is another level. Tetris is when shapes composed of four square blocks each fall down a playing field. The object of the game is to manipulate these tetrads by moving each one sideways and rotating it by 90-degree units, with the aim of creating a horizontal line of blocks without gaps.


The Game’s Legacy

World History would be very different if Tetris had never been made. I’m pretty sure I read that when Pablo Escobar tightly lined the walls of his aeroplanes with cocaine he used the stacking technique he learned from Tetris.


Why I Stopped Playing

My mum told me I wasn’t allowed to bring my Gameboy to church. Anyway, I did. One Sunday I tucked it into my sock and then tucked my sock into my jogging bottoms to make a jogging bottom nest. If the Gameboy escaped the sock then the nest should keep it secure. Richard Denton asked me why my trousers were tucked into my socks but I couldn’t tell him the truth. The plan was that when the pastor did a long prayer I would feed the Gameboy up from the nest, past my pants and into my jumper to get in a round of Tetris. Sadly, during the hymn before the long prayer the Gameboy’s weight penetrated the nest and fell out at my mother’s feet. She marched me to the outer room and let Jessica Walters play my Gameboy in front of me. Jessica was in the outer room because she was eating crisps which were too loud for church. During one of her games she must have sniggered or tried to speak, and she spat out a blob of wet crisp onto my Gameboy’s screen. It was disgusting and deeply affecting to see someone’s hula-hoop puddle slide down my screen. After that I couldn’t play Tetris without thinking about it so I stopped playing.


Three Questions for the Comments Below

What were you doing in 1989? What were you playing in 1989? Why did you stop?

by Owen J. Batstone.


This is the 2nd installment of Owen's "Game Time". If you didn't catch the first one you can catch up here.

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