Alexey Pajitnov

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Alexey Pajitnov
Alexey Pajitnov - 2575833305 (crop).jpg
Pajitnov in Barcelona, Spain in
June 2008
Alexey Leonidovich Pajitnov

(1955-04-16) April 16, 1955 (age 66)[1]
Known forDeveloper of Tetris
AwardsGame Developers Choice Awards First Penguin Award
LARA - Der Deutsche Games Award

Alexey Leonidovich Pajitnov[a] (born April 16, 1955) is a Russian video game designer and computer engineer. He is best known for developing Tetris in 1984 while working for the Dorodnitsyn Computing Centre of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, a Soviet government-founded R&D center.

He only started to get royalties from his creation in 1996 when he and Henk Rogers formed The Tetris Company.[2]


Pajitnov was born on April 16, 1955 in Moscow, in the Soviet Union. He studied applied mathematics at the Moscow Aviation Institute.[3][4] He then went on to work on speech recognition at the Dorodnitsyn Computing Centre where he would develop the first version of Tetris on an Electronika 60 computer in 1984.

As a child, he was a fan of puzzles and played with pentomino toys.[5] In creating Tetris, he drew inspiration from these toys.[5] Pajitnov created Tetris with the help of Dmitry Pavlovsky and Vadim Gerasimov in 1984. The game, first available in the Soviet Union, appeared in the West in 1986.

Pajitnov also created a sequel to Tetris, entitled Welltris, which has the same principle, but in a three-dimensional environment where the player sees the playing area from above.[6] Tetris was licensed and managed by Soviet company ELORG, which had a monopoly on the import and export of computer hardware and software in the Soviet Union, and advertised with the slogan "From Russia with Love" (on NES: "From Russia with Fun!"). Because he was employed by the Soviet government, Pajitnov did not receive royalties.

Pajitnov, together with Vladimir Pokhilko, moved to the United States in 1991 and later, in 1996, founded The Tetris Company with Henk Rogers, which finally allowed him to collect royalties from his game. He helped design the puzzles in the Super NES versions of Yoshi's Cookie and designed the game Pandora's Box, which incorporates more traditional jigsaw-style puzzles.

He was employed by Microsoft from October 1996 until 2005. While there, he worked on the Microsoft Entertainment Pack: The Puzzle Collection, MSN Mind Aerobics and MSN Games groups. Pajitnov's new, enhanced version of Hexic, Hexic HD, was included with every new Xbox 360 Premium package.

On 18 August 2005, WildSnake Software announced that Pajitnov would be collaborating with them to release a new line of puzzle games.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Pajitnov's son, Dmitri, died in a skiing accident on Mount Rainier in 2017.[8][9]


Title Year Platform(s) Role(s)
Tetris 1984 Electronika 60, IBM-PC Original concept
(with Vadim Gerasimov & Dmitry Pavlovsky)
Welltris 1989 Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, Macintosh & ZX Spectrum Designer
(with Andrei Sgenov)
Faces 1990 Amiga, DOS, Macintosh Original concept
(with Vladimir Pokhilko)
Hatris 1990 TurboGrafx-16, Arcade, Game Boy & NES Original concept
Knight Move 1990 Famicom Disk System (Japan) Idealist
Wordtris 1991 DOS, Game Boy, Classic Mac OS, SNES Designer
El-Fish 1993 DOS Original concept
(with Vladimir Pokhilko)
Knight Moves 1995 Windows Idealist
Ice & Fire 1995 Windows, Macintosh Original concept
(with Vladimir Pokhilko)
Tetrisphere 1997 Nintendo 64 Contributor
Microsoft Entertainment Pack: The Puzzle Collection 1997 Windows & Game Boy Color Designer
Microsoft Pandora's Box 1999 Windows Designer
Microsoft A.I. Puzzler 2001 Windows Designer
Hexic 2003 Windows Original concept and design
Hexic HD 2005 Xbox 360 Original concept and design
Dwice 2006 Windows Designer
Hexic 2 2007 Xbox 360 Designer
Marbly 2013 iOS Original concept and design

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 1996, GameSpot named him as the fourth most influential computer game developer of all time.[10]

On 7 March 2007, he received the Game Developers Choice Awards First Penguin Award. The award was given for pioneering the casual games market.[11]

On 24 June 2009, he received the honorary award at the LARA - Der Deutsche Games Award in Cologne, Germany.[12]

In 2012, IGN included Pajitnov on their list of 5 Memorable Video Game Industry One-Hit Wonders, calling him "the ultimate video game one-hit wonder."[13]

On 2015, Pajitnov won the Bizkaia Award at the Fun & Serious Game Festival[14][15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Russian: Алексей Леонидович Пажитнов, IPA: [ɐlʲɪkˈsʲej lʲɪɐˈnʲidəvʲɪtɕ ˈpaʐɨtnəf].


  1. ^ "Corporate Bio". Tetris. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  2. ^ "Tetris: a history". Retrieved 2012-05-06.
  3. ^ "Alexey Pajitnov, Creator of Tetris". tetris holding. Retrieved 2018-08-05. He received his Masters degree in Applied Mathematics from the Moscow Institute of Aviation
  4. ^ "History of Computers and Computing, Birth of the modern computer, Software history, Tetris of Alexey Pajitnov". Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Meet the men who built the only perfect video game: Tetris". Digital Trends. Retrieved 2016-04-25.
  6. ^ "Screenshots from Welltris, retrieved 31-10-2007". Archived from the original on 2006-04-22. Retrieved 2009-11-20.
  7. ^ "WildSnake newsletter 18 August 2005, retrieved 31-10-2007". 2005-08-18. Archived from the original on 12 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-20.
  8. ^ "Dmitri Pajitnov — In Memoriam, retrieved February 9, 2018".
  9. ^ "Skier identified after body was missing for a month on Mount Rainier, retrieved Feb 9, 2018". The News Tribune. 2017-08-22.
  10. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". 2005-02-21. Archived from the original on 21 February 2005. Retrieved 2012-05-06. Cite uses generic title (help)
  11. ^ "2007 Game Developers Choice Awards To Honor Miyamoto, Pajitnov". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 7 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  12. ^ "News report on Deutsche Games Award 2009". Archived from the original on 26 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
  13. ^ Reilly, Luke. "5 Memorable Video Game Industry One-Hit Wonders - Games Feature at IGN". IGN. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
  14. ^ "F&S 2015 BIZKAIA AWARD".
  15. ^ "El inventor del Tetris desvela su exito". Retrieved 8 July 2019.

External links[edit]