Back when I was a kid and Tetris had first gotten popular in the United States (I'd already been playing it for a couple years, though, having run across it in an arcade and immediately being hooked, and then later finding a version of it on a local BBS), I noticed that a bunch of different versions were out, some of them calling themselves Tetris but most calling themselves things like Nyet or Double Blocks. My favorite versions were, in decreasing order, Tengen Tetris (the one in the arcade, which was also possible but not very probable to find for the NES), Double Blocks for the PC (since it had multiplayer, and also modem "deathmatch", though this was long before that term was coined), and then Nintendo's own version (the one made by Elorg).

In the meantime, my neighbors were housing a German exchange student. His only exposure to Tetris was the incredibly spartan Nyet, which had no next piece preview and only one direction of rotation (whereas all three of my favorite versions had a piece preview, and both Nintendo and Double Blocks had both clockwise and counter-clockwise rotation). This German was a Tetris bigot - he couldn't accept that there was any version other than his beloved Nyet. He, in fact, refused to play any version against me because I was "cheating" by having the piece preview and using the "backwards" rotation.

This leads me to another time when I was in an arcade and there was, of course, Tetris (which is still, thankfully, obligatory for arcades to have, it seems, and it's usually the only good game you can ever find in one), and I actually - perish the thought - hit game over. So I scrambled and reached into my pocket trying to pull out a quarter so I could continue, and the stupid kid who had been watching over my shoulder the whole time said, "Damn tetrisized." (This was back when Nintendo's "Get Tetrisized" ad was showing non-stop 24/7.) As though "Tetrisized" were a real word and not some stupid Nintendo marketing gimmick. And as though that didn't show that he watched too much TV and believed everything he saw in ads. Whatever. I found a quarter and continued to play, while the dumb kid just walked off, shaking his head going "Tsk, tsk, tsk" like he'd probably seen in so many cheesy sit-coms.

Tetris bigotry is a special case of the more general phenomenon of brandism. Brandists pay more attention to the advertising than to the actual product. (Inability to see through marketing smokescreens is typical of the sheeple species.) I was once a brandist, not buying any unlicensed NES software, but I have turned around 180 degrees; I now develop independent console games, available at

My aunt is a brandist. She likes the Super NES version of Tetris & Dr. Mario better than freepuzzlearena, TOD, or even The New Tetris because "it's the real thing." But because (unless you believe in the Matrix) all things that you can touch are real in some sense, the whole concept of a "real thing" in the Coca-Cola sense cannot exist without brandism. Is this TOD disk I am holding not real?

If "the real thing" means "first to market," even the original PC Tetris ( not necessarily the real thing; pentomino puzzles have been around since ancient Rome.

Tetris is a registered trademark of The Tetris Company.

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