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'''''TETЯIS: The Soviet Mind Game''''' is a variant of ''Tetris'' produced by [[Tengen]] for the NES. The game was only on shelves for four weeks before Tengen was legally forced to stop manufacturing and distributing the title.
 
'''''TETЯIS: The Soviet Mind Game''''' is a variant of ''Tetris'' produced by [[Tengen]] for the NES. The game was only on shelves for four weeks before Tengen was legally forced to stop manufacturing and distributing the title.
   
== Gameplay ==
+
==Gameplay==
 
The gameplay is often cited as being better than Nintendo's port, as it supports 2 player mode and has more options to choose from on the menus.
 
The gameplay is often cited as being better than Nintendo's port, as it supports 2 player mode and has more options to choose from on the menus.
   
== Development and history ==
+
==Development and history==
In 1984, Soviet Academy of Sciences researcher [[Wikipedia:Alexey Pajitnov|Alexey Pajitnov]] alongside Dmitry Pavlovsky and [[Wikipedia:Vadim Gerasimov|Vadim Gerasimov]] developed ''Tetris'' out of a desire to create a two-player puzzle game, and the game spread commercially amongst computers. Mirrorsoft president Robert Stein approached Pajitnov with an offer to distribute ''Tetris'' worldwide, and secured the rights to license the title, which were in turn granted to Spectrum HoloByte. After seeing the game run on an Atari ST, programmer Ed Logg petitioned Atari Games to license it, and approached Stein. With the rights secured, Atari Games produced an arcade version of ''Tetris'', and under their Tengen brand name began development to port the title to the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in May 1989.
+
After seeing a variant of ''Tetris'' run on an Atari ST, programmer Ed Logg petitioned Atari Games to license the rights to the game. Atari Games licensed what was believed to be the legitimate arcade and console rights from Mirrorsoft, who had previously licensed them from Andromeda Software. Andromeda's belief that they had the ability to sell any arcade and console rights to ''Tetris'' stemmed from a contract between them and Elorg, the rightsholder of ''Tetris'' at the time (signed on May 10, 1988); the contract gave Andromeda the rights to Tetris for home computers and "different types of computers"; the phrase was vague enough for Andromeda to believe that it meant things like arcade systems and consoles. Atari Games, believing the rights they acquired were legitimate, began development of an NES variant of ''Tetris'' in June 1988.<ref>[https://nintendotimes.com/1988/06/26/june-1988-computer-entertainer/ Computer Entertainer (June 1988)]</ref> They announced that they were going to manufacture their own NES game cartridges in December 1988.<ref>[https://www.upi.com/Archives/1988/12/12/Tengen-making-its-own-video-game-cartridges/5164597906000/ "Tengen Making Its Own Video Game Cartridges" - United Press International (12/13/1988)]</ref>
   
Tengen along with Spectrum HoloByte later licensed the rights to Henk Rogers on behalf of Nintendo to distribute ''Tetris'' in Japan, and Rogers traveled to Moscow to secure permission to distribute ''Tetris'' with the Game Boy. Around this same time, Nintendo approached Spectrum HoloByte on the prospects of developing a version of ''Tetris'' for the Game Boy, and a representative of Mirrorsoft, Kevin Maxwell, traveled to Russia to secure permission on their behalf. However, because Stein had secured the rights from Pajitnov directly and not from the Russian authorities, the USSR's Ministry of Software and Hardware Export stated that the console rights to ''Tetris'' had been licensed to nobody, and that Atari Games had only been licensed the rights to produce arcade games with the property. They sent a fax to Maxwell in England with 48 hours to respond; Maxwell however was still in Russia at the time and received the fax late, resulting in licensing being distributed to Nintendo. In April 1989, Tengen, who had previously filed an anti-trust suit against Nintendo, sued Nintendo again claiming rights to distribute ''Tetris'' on the NES, and Nintendo counter-sued citing infringement of trademark. In June 1989, a month after the release of Tengen's ''Tetris'', a U.S. District Court Judge issued an injunction barring Tengen from further distributing the game, and further ordered all existing copies of the game be destroyed. As a result, 268,000 ''Tetris'' cartridges were recalled and destroyed.
+
Although the arcade rights Atari Games received from Mirrorsoft were not legitimate at the time of their arcade versions' releases, those arcade versions would eventually be legitimatized after Andromeda signed a contract with Elorg on February 26, 1989 granting Andromeda the ability to sub-license arcade rights to Tetris legitimately.''The Soviet Mind Game'' would not get that chance, however.
  +
  +
On March 31, 1989, Nintendo sent a cease-and-desist letter to Atari Games that told them to stop making copies of ''Tetris: The Soviet Mind Game''; Nintendo had acquired the legitimate console rights to ''Tetris'' directly from Elorg nine days earlier. Atari Games sued Nintendo a few days later, claiming that they had the console rights to ''Tetris''. The court ruled in favor of Nintendo; A second version of Elorg and Andromeda's computer contract (signed on February 23, 1989) had a definition of a computer added to it, and ''The Soviet Mind Game'' did not fit the new definition. In June 1989, a month after the release of Tengen's ''Tetris'', a U.S. District Court Judge issued an injunction barring Tengen from further distributing the game, and further ordered all existing copies of the game be destroyed. As a result, 268,000 ''Tetris'' cartridges were recalled and destroyed.
   
 
In an interview, Ed Logg noted that the Tengen version of ''Tetris'' was built completely from scratch, using no source code or material from the original game. After presenting the title at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Tengen president Randy Browleit requested improvements in the game. Originally portrayed solely in black and white, Browleit requested that the pieces be portrayed in color, and Logg altered the game accordingly prior to the next Consumer Electronics Show. When asked which version of ''Tetris'' he liked the most, Logg stated the Nintendo version of Tetris for the NES "wasn't tuned right", citing a lack of the use of logarithmic tuning over doubling the game's speed.
 
In an interview, Ed Logg noted that the Tengen version of ''Tetris'' was built completely from scratch, using no source code or material from the original game. After presenting the title at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Tengen president Randy Browleit requested improvements in the game. Originally portrayed solely in black and white, Browleit requested that the pieces be portrayed in color, and Logg altered the game accordingly prior to the next Consumer Electronics Show. When asked which version of ''Tetris'' he liked the most, Logg stated the Nintendo version of Tetris for the NES "wasn't tuned right", citing a lack of the use of logarithmic tuning over doubling the game's speed.
   
== Trivia ==
+
==Trivia==
 
*This game appears often on [[multicarts]], typically named ''Tetris II'' on the menu. Multicart versions also often omit the title screen, replacing it with a plain text title to save ROM space.
 
*This game appears often on [[multicarts]], typically named ''Tetris II'' on the menu. Multicart versions also often omit the title screen, replacing it with a plain text title to save ROM space.
 
*If the reverse R on the title screen is read in Cyrillic, the game's name would be "Tetiais/Tetyais".
 
*If the reverse R on the title screen is read in Cyrillic, the game's name would be "Tetiais/Tetyais".

Revision as of 19:06, March 13, 2020

TETЯIS: The Soviet Mind Game
Tetris (Tengen) -!- 001
Tetris' title screen.
Publisher Tengen
Developer Tengen
Console NES
Date May 1989
Engine Tetris engine
Sound engine Mirrorsoft
Alternate names/hacks Tetris II (what it's normally referred to as on multicarts)

TETЯIS: The Soviet Mind Game is a variant of Tetris produced by Tengen for the NES. The game was only on shelves for four weeks before Tengen was legally forced to stop manufacturing and distributing the title.

Gameplay

The gameplay is often cited as being better than Nintendo's port, as it supports 2 player mode and has more options to choose from on the menus.

Development and history

After seeing a variant of Tetris run on an Atari ST, programmer Ed Logg petitioned Atari Games to license the rights to the game. Atari Games licensed what was believed to be the legitimate arcade and console rights from Mirrorsoft, who had previously licensed them from Andromeda Software. Andromeda's belief that they had the ability to sell any arcade and console rights to Tetris stemmed from a contract between them and Elorg, the rightsholder of Tetris at the time (signed on May 10, 1988); the contract gave Andromeda the rights to Tetris for home computers and "different types of computers"; the phrase was vague enough for Andromeda to believe that it meant things like arcade systems and consoles. Atari Games, believing the rights they acquired were legitimate, began development of an NES variant of Tetris in June 1988.[1] They announced that they were going to manufacture their own NES game cartridges in December 1988.[2]

Although the arcade rights Atari Games received from Mirrorsoft were not legitimate at the time of their arcade versions' releases, those arcade versions would eventually be legitimatized after Andromeda signed a contract with Elorg on February 26, 1989 granting Andromeda the ability to sub-license arcade rights to Tetris legitimately.The Soviet Mind Game would not get that chance, however.

On March 31, 1989, Nintendo sent a cease-and-desist letter to Atari Games that told them to stop making copies of Tetris: The Soviet Mind Game; Nintendo had acquired the legitimate console rights to Tetris directly from Elorg nine days earlier. Atari Games sued Nintendo a few days later, claiming that they had the console rights to Tetris. The court ruled in favor of Nintendo; A second version of Elorg and Andromeda's computer contract (signed on February 23, 1989) had a definition of a computer added to it, and The Soviet Mind Game did not fit the new definition. In June 1989, a month after the release of Tengen's Tetris, a U.S. District Court Judge issued an injunction barring Tengen from further distributing the game, and further ordered all existing copies of the game be destroyed. As a result, 268,000 Tetris cartridges were recalled and destroyed.

In an interview, Ed Logg noted that the Tengen version of Tetris was built completely from scratch, using no source code or material from the original game. After presenting the title at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Tengen president Randy Browleit requested improvements in the game. Originally portrayed solely in black and white, Browleit requested that the pieces be portrayed in color, and Logg altered the game accordingly prior to the next Consumer Electronics Show. When asked which version of Tetris he liked the most, Logg stated the Nintendo version of Tetris for the NES "wasn't tuned right", citing a lack of the use of logarithmic tuning over doubling the game's speed.

Trivia

  • This game appears often on multicarts, typically named Tetris II on the menu. Multicart versions also often omit the title screen, replacing it with a plain text title to save ROM space.
  • If the reverse R on the title screen is read in Cyrillic, the game's name would be "Tetiais/Tetyais".
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