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Marcunio avatar 6:34 PM on 12.16.2012  (server time)
The Twelve Games of Christmas: Day Three

It's that time of year again, folks. The days are short and cold, the nights are long and even colder, and one of the best places to be is in your nice warm house. Since you're there, you may as well break out the good ol' videogames and make those chilly winter evenings go by a little faster.

In honour of this, I'm going to be posting about one game each day in the run-up to Christmas, finishing on the magical day itself. Keep in mind that these aren't necessarily going to be games that feature Christmas (although some do). Rather, they're going to be a mix of winter warmers, personal nostalgic favourites, and games that echo some traditional Christmas pastimes. I'm sure other people will have their own winter favourites, but this is my unique list and I'm going to do my best to give a little history on each game and explain why they're featured here.

So, without further ado, onwards with day Three!


History: Tetris has been released in some form on pretty much every platform capable of playing it. Created by Russian programer Alexey Pajitnov in 1984, the game quickly spread and was ported to platforms such as the IBM PC, Atari ST, and most famously Nintendo's Game Boy. A lot of people will tell you that Pajitnov never made any money from the game, due to the fact it was created in Soviet Russia and therefore belonged to the Government. This is not entirely true, as in 1996 The Tetris Company was created and Pajitnov has been receiving royalties for the game ever since.

Although many different versions of Tetris now exist, the main goal remains largely the same. The player must slot the falling Tetriminos together in an attempt to create horizontal lines. Once a line has been created, it disappears and the player receives points. It's really that simple, and nearly 30 years later the adjustments to the formula do little to change this fundamental goal. Cascading gravity permits blocks to fall after being placed, allowing for some huge chain reactions. And infinite spin lets a player rotate a block indefinitely before placing it. But it's still all about creating lines, and doing it as efficiently as possible.

Why It's Here: Firstly, I should say that the specific version of Tetris I am talking about is the legendary Game Boy title. It's actually the first game I remember playing. Moving those little Tetriminos around that monochrome screen provided me with hours of entertainment. And that's why it's here. Simple puzzle games have been a part of Christmas for well over a hundred years. Whether it's miniature mazes in a cracker, or a more complex brain teaser found in your stocking, puzzles say Christmas.

As I've got older, I've found more and more that Christmas is about the simple pleasures. A nice meal, seeing friends and family, having a break from work, good conversation and a tasty drink. Tetris is the gaming equivalent of these straightforward delights. It may not be the big triple-A game you wanted a few years ago, but damn does it ever feel good going back to such a well crafted, traditional experience. Just as you can always pick up a Rubik's Cube and have fun, Tetris will always provide entertainment. Simple. Well crafted. Timeless.

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