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The Tetris Effect

The Cold War Battle for the World's Most Addictive Game

Dan Ackerman

21 February 1989. Three men fly into Moscow, representing software giants from Britain, America, and Japan. Each of them is determined to undercut the others in order to secure a technology so powerfully addictive it has brought the government department that created it to a standstill. In a country on the brink of seismic change, where spycraft is about to give way to cut-throat capitalism, Tetris has become the grand prize.

Featuring corporate espionage, unmarked government organizations, courtroom drama and international conspiracies, the origin of the world’s most popular video game is a gripping, fast-paced thriller of the highest order. Not only this, but it is also the tale of a one-in-a-million software start-up – a unique example of an idea, a product, and an era coming together at exactly the right moment. Tetris was perfectly (if accidentally) crafted to hit primal triggers in our minds and in Ackerman’s hands its story is unputdownable.

  • Publication date: May 4, 2017
  • ISBN: 9781786071019
  • RRP: £9.99
  • Pages: 272
  • Publication date: September 1, 2016
  • ISBN: 9781780749594
  • RRP: £5.99
  • Pages: 272


'From its launch in 1984 [Tetris] created a generation of gamers drawn by its irresistible block-stacking brilliance...The story of its conception is just as addictive; think courtroom dramas and global intrigue, all relayed in Ackerman's bewitching prose'.



Sunday Herald

‘How [Tetris] came to the West is a remarkably complicated cloak-and-dagger story…The Tetris Effect is full of fascinating facts.’


The Tetris Effect is a page-turning, block-stacking, globe-trotting thriller/history book, covering the epic creation saga of one of the greatest video games ever made or played.

Ernest Cline, author of Ready Player One

‘A great read on a game that has hypnotized my brain and probably yours too.’

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple

The Tetris Effect explains how one guy in Russia with one little game ended up creating a global business and cultural phenomenon... Ackerman tells the story of the first and quintessential start-up.’

Douglas Rushkoff

‘Tetris broke social, cultural and technological boundaries in a way that nobody, including the meek Russian researcher who designed the game, could have predicted. Ackerman pieces the story together with flair and diligence in a brilliant account of the video game that everybody from the Soviet government to Japanese moguls wanted for their own.’

Simon Parkin, author of Death by Video Game and contributing writer, New

‘The author provides a meticulous accounting of the rise of “Tetris”…For those fascinated with the way video games are created and intrigued by the history of early computers, the book will provide great entertainment, just like the game…An all-inclusive history behind one of the most popular video games ever.’

Kirkus Reviews

‘Ackerman doles out intrigue worthy of Robert Ludlum or Tom Clancy. It’s a behind-the-Iron Curtain nail-biter.’

LA Review of Books

Dan Ackerman

Dan Ackerman is a section editor at leading technology news site CNET. He regularly appears as a technology correspondent on major news outlets including CNN, the BBC and CBS where he is CBS This Morning’s in-house technology expert. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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