TETRIS: Heavenly Scrolls (1989)

Given the ongoing discussion about whether or not TETRIS is 40 years old this year (I say not), I thought it would be cool to add something interesting and relevant to the conversation. As a bonus, this is an item that at the time of writing is not covered in English anywhere else on the internet.

An old Japanese book about TETRIS, written in the first year the game was available outside of USSR:

テトリス10万点への解法 (天の巻)
TETRIS: The Solution to 100,000 Points (Heavenly Scrolls)


Edited and translated by 石原恒和 Tsunekazu Ishihara, published 15th March 1989.

Yes, that’s the current CEO of The Pokémon Company!

The book is equal parts strategy guide, love letter to the game, and historical document. It mostly features Spectrum Holobyte’s Macintosh version of TETRIS, but fondly refers to versions on the Amiga and other home computers. At the point this book was published, March 1989, the Game Boy was just about to release, in April, and its version of TETRIS would not arrive for a few months more, in June.

It features contributions from the team at SEDIC (most famous for Otocky) in the form of essays, stories, and illustrations about their experience with the game and how it had changed their world view. More on them in a forthcoming blog post. Towards the end of the book there are interviews with the TETRIS creators: Vadim Gerasimov (programmer) and Alexey Pajitnov (designer). Henk Rogers does not seem to be mentioned, though his company BPS is briefly mentioned in passing.

I can’t see any specific mention of the creation date of TETRIS in the text, but there’s a copyright line, most likely taken from the Spectrum Holobyte Macintosh version, that says:

Copyright © 1987 Academy Soft-ELORG.
All rights reserved. TETRIS is a trademark of Academy Soft-ELORG.

Originally published: 2024-06-18
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