A friend of the Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov, he was the first clinical psychologist to conduct experiments using the game. He played an important role in the subsequent development and marketing of the game, and a 1999 article in the Forbes magazine credited him for "co-inventing the seminal videogame Tetris".
In 1989, he and Pajitnov founded the 3D software technology company AnimaTek in Moscow. While attempting to create software for INTEC (a company that they started) that would be made for "people's souls", they developed the idea for El-Fish.
After suffering financial difficulties at his software company, AnimaTek, he murdered his wife Elena Fedotova (38) and their son Peter (12), then committed suicide. Shortly before his death, Pokhilko penned a note. The police initially did not release the content of the note, saying that it was not a suicide note, and they didn't know who authored it. The content of the note was released in 1999; it read:
- "I've been eaten alive. Vladimir. Just remember that I am exist. The davil."
- Mark J. P. Wolf (31 August 2012). Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming. ABC-CLIO. p. 642. ISBN 978-0-313-37936-9. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
- When startups become blowups by Jon Swartz. Forbes, 10 June 1999.
- Marc Saltzman, ed. (1 May 2002). Game Programming 5.0 Starter Kit. Pearson Education. p. 431. ISBN 978-1-57595-555-1. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
- Stein, Loren (27 January 1999). "POLICE: Detail of Russian entreprenuer's note reveals a tormented man". Palo Alto Weekly. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
- Pushed past the brink by Matt Beer and Jacob. San Francisco Chronicle, 24 September 1998.
- Report names father as killer P.A. Police show revealing note. San Jose Mercury News (CA) – 22 January 1999 – 1B Local.
- Vladimir Pokhilko seminar abstract and bio on the Stanford University Human-Computer Interaction website.
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