On the 30th anniversary of Tetris’ creation, here’s a look at the Russian mastermind who made the world care about falling blocks.
TIME’s Editor Dan Stewart talks about Tetris’ inventor, Alexey Pajitnov, a Russian computer engineer who created the game in 1984 but struggled for decades to earn royalties from its ubiquitous success.
Pajitnov came up with a game so addictive that he once said he couldn’t stop playing long enough to finish programming it. “The program wasn’t complicated,” he said. “There was no scoring, no levels. But I started playing and I couldn’t stop.”
While Pajitnov is still programming games, Tetris remains his magnum opus.