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Alexei Pazhitnov – creator of Tetris 
 
 
Pazhitnov was born, grew up, studied and worked in Moscow, living the life of a typical Soviet gifted kid: he attended a school of mathematics, then entered the Moscow aeronautical institute, took an interest in computer technology and cybernetics (although at the time the term was not very widely used, since cybernetics was declared a false science by the Soviet authorities), and later was enrolled into the Computer Center at the USSR Academy of Sciences, where he began serious work on artificial intelligence and speech recognition.
 
Once in 1984 Pazhitnov tried to program the classical game of Pentamino and found out that the powerful Soviet computers in the Center were too slow for that! He had to simplify the game, and so the legendary Tetris was born.
 
Within several years, the game spread across the whole world, appearing on dozens of platforms, and multiplied in hundreds of millions of copies.
 
According to the gaming industry legend, Pazhitnov never got a dime for this, but this is not exactly true: he received from the government a PC and a state-owned apartment in Moscow.
 
At the same time, the company that belonged to a British businessman and basically stole the rights for the game, was making millions/ Later this company had to settle with Pazhitnov on the copyright and the compensation for revenues lost by the author.
 
In 1988, with the advent of the era of cooperatives and private entrepreneurship in the USSR, Alexei founded the AnimaTek gaming company, And in 1991, having realized there was no prospect in the destabilizing country, Pazhitnov moved to the U.S., where he continued a successful programming career; in 1995 he got employed by Microsoft, where he worked on a series of popular games.
 
In 2007 Pazhitnov was awarded the prestigious Game Developers Choice Awards First Penguin Award.
 
Right now he works as a game designer, crafting gaming hits for various platforms.
 

Sources: 
"Tetris: a history". Atarihq.com. 2012-05-06.
Reilly, Luke. "5 Memorable Video Game Industry One-Hit Wonders - Games Feature at IGN"
 

 


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