The most important video game ever made is Tetris because of its combination of perfect game-play and because of the influential is has had on gaming history. The game released in June 1984 requires players to attempt to remain “alive” for as long as possible by arranging geometric blocks as the fall from the top of the game arena to the bottom. If the player is able to arrange these blocks into a horizontal line that covers the whole arena, then this line will disappear, buying the player more time and therefore a higher score. As soon as a single block reaches the top of the arena, however, the game is over.
There are several reasons why Tetirs may be considered to be the most important game of all time. To begin with, it marked a direct contrast with other games released around the same time and therefore broke new ground for games. Other products would frequently focus on overly cartoonish characters, or absurd situations, and did not play as if they were designed for anything other than a pre-teen audience. Tetris, however, was a game that refined game play to an exceptionally simple concept, and rather than indulging in gimmicks or in childish characters, made use of an extremely simple concept and situation. The simplicity of this situation, however, belied a potentially infinite amount of game-play. As the shapes within Tetris are randomly generated, there is no chance that any two games will be the same. As such the game itself is continually fresh, and poses new challenges to players with different levels of experience.
Indeed, one key aspect of Tetris’s importance come in its capacity to refine such a simple concept and, through doing so, to create a universally playable game. The appeal of Tetris is non-culturally specific, and does not rely on any kind of specialist knowledge from its players. Despite this, however, it is again the case that this cultural simplicity may be seen to generate extremely high levels of skill, with the rank “Tetris Master” being a legitimate way of recognizing the top-players in the world. In this sense, Tetris may be taken as a precursor of, and even as precipitating the thriving cultures of online gaming and global community which one associates with contemporary video game technology. The early history of the game itself makes this relationship to burgeoning global community even more clear, as it was originally developed in the early 1980s in the USSR and only received wide release in Europe and the US after having been passed between different players after having been copied onto a floppy disk.
The importance of Tetris is shown again in how little the original games has changed in its many instantiations. While it was initially played on a desk-top computer, it has seen versions on consoles, the game boy and thousands of models of mobile phones. Although the graphics of the game have changed and improved with the development of computing technology, it remains the case that the basic structure has remained the same. In this sense, Tetris may again be seen as an exemplary game, and as one that represents a perfection of the relationship between form and game play which almost all serious game designers strive for.
In conclusion, in terms of both its game-play and in its influence Tetris should be viewed as the most important game ever released. On the one hand, the game represents a genuinely perfected model for game-play, one which at the same time allows for an infinity of variation. On the other, the game may be seen to have had a significant effect on the evolution of gaming communities and the way in which individual gamers from a variety of cultures are able to relate to each other.