The Andromeda Stein


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We will not remove any content for bad language alone, or being critical of a particular book. Pajitnov, an enthusiast of puzzle games, shaped his favorite game, pentominoes into his programming. After long hours of working on the game said by coworker Mikhail Kulagin to have "smoked an enormous amount of cigarettes" , Pajitnov's game of pentaminoes transformed into tetrominoes. Also different from pentaminoes, they now fell into a well, where a player would have to arrange in a specific way.


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This first version , which Pajitnov created using Pascal on the Electronika 60, consisted of brackets and of black and white graphics, with pieces made up of brackets. The game quickly made its way through the Computer Center. By the summer of , Alexey distributed the first color version of Tetris to his friends outside the Computer Center. Because the idea of intellectual property rights did not exist in Soviet Russia, as anything Pajitnov had made belonged to the state, he did not receive even a bonus for his work.

Because they did not own the game, they referred him to the Soviet Academy of Science's Computer Center. The Computer Center, an organization made up of mathematicians, astronomers, physicists, and so on, had no prior initiative to market any game. The Computer Center sent Pajitnov to deal with Steins request. According to Pajitnov, Stein proposed "something like one hundred thousand pounds" in advance, to which Pajitnov replied the Computer Center was interested.

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This led Stein to believe that he had secured the rights to everything. Stein went to Mirrorsoft , a British-based company headed by Robert Maxwell, and representative Jim Mackonochie signed a deal to produce the game in the United Kingdom. Nearing launch, Mirrorsoft received a telex from Electronorgtechnica stating they were preparing to market the game illegally since Elorg did not give them permission.

Elorg was a government department established to deal with foreign trade of software. When Stein met with Elorg on May 10th, , he explained he did not even know they existed. He managed to clear a deal for rights to Tetris on the personal computer. In its first year, Mirrorsoft's version sold over , copies in America alone.


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  • Mirrorsoft contacted Atari Games about making a video game console version. Representative Randy Broweleit, thinking Mirrosoft held the rights to the game, signed a contract.

    Atari tried improving the game's graphics, making the tetrominoes look three-dimensional. Henk Rogers , who traveled throughout the world looking for games to produce on the Japanese market, met Broweleit at an American trade show. By October of , Elorg had assigned Nikoli Belikov to examine their original agreement with Andromeda Software, who still had neglected its terms of payment.

    During this time, Nintendo was preparing to release its Game Boy and wanted to package Tetris along with it. Rogers went straight to who he believed to have the rights to Tetris , Robert Stein. According to Rogers, he believed they agreed on about 25, dollars, but after exchanging faxes for what he thought to be about three months, Stein continually saying he was going to Russia, Rogers became suspicious he was dealing with someone else.

    Andromeda sent telexes to Elorg proposing new licensing agreements, but Belikov replied that they must first honor the original agreement, then they could negotiate further.

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    Running out of time, in February of , Rogers took a plane to Moscow. Happened as it was, Stein would meet with Elorg the same week as Rogers'. Without Stein's knowing, Mirrorsoft secretly sent Kevin Maxwell to meet with Elorg the same day Stein was sent to meet.

    Henk Rogers had no meeting, though he went in feeling confident, as he had prior experience dealing with other cultures. He found the people unfriendly and the help desk at the hotel he was staying at, Intourist Hotel, could not help him locate Elorg.

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    The next day, February 21st of , Rogers hired an interpreter, who helped him find Elorg. Although against Russia's policy, Rogers met with Elorg's Belikov off-hand. Rogers told Belikov that he was selling Tetris very successfully in Japan, to which Belikov replied that Elorg has yet to give video game console rights to anyone. The rights had only been given to Andromeda Software, and only for personal computers. After realizing this, Rogers explained his connection with Nintendo, which at the time possessed seventy percent of the world's gaming market at the time. Since Stein and Maxwell were coming, Belikov arranged for Rogers to meet with him the next day.

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