Friday, November 10, 2006

Falling for Tetris

The BBC documentary "Tetris -- From Russia With Love," now available on Google video, is well worth its hour running time, especially for anyone who has ever let phones ring or dinners burn while playing the seemingly simple game of stacking up the falling geometric shapes. This tale of Tetris also is a story about intellectual property and digital culture that involves several countries and corporate players that took place on the geopolitical stage of the end of the Cold War. In other words, who owns the product of the work of programmers at the state-run Soviet-era Moscow computer center, which was subsequently installed on computers throughout the Eastern Bloc? Atari, Nintendo, and Great Britain's Mirrorsoft all fought for the rights.

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