Saturday, February 9, 2008
Last week I attended to a conference where the main speaker was no other than Alexei Pajitnov, the creator of Tetris. More than a conference it was an encounter with fans. Even though the organization didn’t publicize the event too much, the small Barcelona FNAC conference room was full of people (see pictures here).
Pajitnov looks like a nice and shy guy who answered patiently all our questions in the most concise way. Somehow he looks like someone who could never dream of being famous, but circumstances made him a celebrity among a certain (and raising) group of people: videogamers.
Apart from being the creator of arguably the most famous puzzle game of all time (still being sold in platforms such as the DS, or digital tv as far as I know) he has created some other puzzle games like Hexic, and he’s still working as a consultant for more puzzle games.
You know, Tetris has an interesting story behind. It was created in the soviet era, and it took years of struggling against the russian government for different entrepeneurs (some of them not particularly honest) trying to get the rights of that soon-to-be best selling game. If you’re interested there is a nice BBC documentary about it named ‘Tetris – from Russia with love’.
I liked Pajitnov. He’s obviously a geek who deals badly with being a celebrity. He told us he plays 3-4 hours daily, and he even has a lvl 66 in World of Warcraft (at least, I beat him in that ). I’m thinking that, in a way, videogames also have their stardom. Of course, Pajitnov/Molyneux/Miyamoto/you-name-him will never be able to compete with Scarlett Johansson or Brad Pitt in ‘gorgeousness’ or sexual appealing, but at least their achievements endure for years, not only while they look good and the press loves them. And that’s not a bad thing.