User:Arcorann/Early timeline

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  • June 6: Official date, according to TTC since 2009, of the creation of the earliest version of Tetris.


  • April 3: The oldest known surviving build of the Electronica-60 version has this date.
  • November: Tetris wins second place in a competition held in Zelenodolsk.


  • January 25: A surviving build of the IBM PC version from Gerasimov's website has this date. There are at least two versions preceding this.
  • June or July : Robert Stein encounters Tetris for the first time at the Hungarian Institute of Technology. After discovering that Pajitnov was the creator he sends a telex making a licensing offer for the IBM PC version, while reserving the Hungarian versions for other platforms.
  • October 23: Jordan Mechner of Brøderbund writes in his diary about Tetris.
  • October or November: Pajitnov responds to the telex (after weeks of getting a response translated and use of a telex machine authorised), intending to express interest in discussing further. Stein interprets this as agreeing to license the rights.
  • November 5: Stein sends another telex, making a hard offer of a $10000 advance and 75% of net sales. (Game Over for some reason claims it was a percentage of gross sales, but the Digital Antiquarian states net.)
  • November 13: Pajitnov responds favourably to the telex. Slow negotiations begin.
  • The oldest known surviving unofficial ports (notably the ZX Spectrum ports by Beliasov and Andic Software) date to this year.
  • Pentix, the oldest known derivative game, has a copyright date of 1986.


  • April: Stein informs the Russians that he has licensed the game to Mirrorsoft and Spectrum HoloByte, and offers additional advances for versions other than the IBM PC version.
  • June: Stein signs a contract with Mirrorsoft and Spectrum HoloByte. The contract designates the sale of rights for the IBM PC as well as "any other computer system".
  • November?: Commodore User issue 51 (December 1987) is released. Its review of Tetris marks the oldest known mention of the game in an English-language print publication.


  • January 6-10: Spectrum HoloByte exhibits Tetris at Winter CES 1988.
    • Henk Rogers encounters the game for the first time.
  • January 1_: Mirrorsoft exhibits Tetris at Which Computer? Show 1988 (National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham). (*This needs a citation)
  • January 22: Reuters reports that "The Soviet Union is launching its first commercial computer game in the West - an abstract puzzle called Tetris that software specialists say is "horribly gripping"." This is reprinted in a few newspapers including Newsday (Long Island, New York, USA), The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) and the Toronto Star (Toronto, Ontario, Canada). The Gazette's report is the longest, adding a quote from Victor Biryabrin. (It would report on it again on the 30th, describing it as arriving "this week".) The Los Angeles Times does the same on the 28th, and its article states that the IBM PC version went on sale in Britain on Wednesday (27th).
  • January 27: Release of the IBM PC version in the UK, the first commercial version.
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) reports on the release of Tetris. Though the material appears to be lifted from the Reuters article it notably claims that the IBM PC version is "already on sale" in Britain.
  • January 28: The Guardian reports on the release of Tetris. It describes the release of the IBM PC version in the past tense, and attributes the conversion to Spectrum Holobyte.
  • January 29: Release of the IBM PC version in the USA.
    • The New York Times reports on the release of Tetris.
  • February: Release of the remaining Mirrorsoft versions. 3 weeks after January 27 is February 17.
  • February?: CBC Evening News interviews Pajitnov. (*This needs a citation. Presumably Toronto)


  • February __: Alexander Alexinko of Elorg makes contact with Stein.
  • February 24: Stein and Alexinko agree on a draft contract for the sale of rights for the IBM PC and other computer systems.


  • May 10: Stein and Alexinko sign the contract agreed on in February, validating the home computer rights.
  • May ??: Henk Rogers signs a contract with Gilman Louie for the Japanese home computer rights and makes an agreement for the Japanese home console rights.
  • May ??: Jim Mackonochie agrees to sell Atari/Tengen the home console and arcade rights for Japan and North America. He and Robert Maxwell override Gilman Louie on the console rights deal with Henk Rogers but let him have the Japanese home computer rights. (Need to check if Atari obtained both sets of rights from Mirrorsoft, or if the arcade rights were directly from Stein)
  • May 30: Atari Games signs a contract with Mirrorsoft for home console rights.
  • July: Stein offers Elorg a $30000 advance for the arcade rights.
  • August 16: Henk Rogers meets with Hideyuki Nakajima regarding the Japanese console rights.
  • October:
    • Nikolai Belikov takes over as head of Elorg.
    • Henk Rogers signs a deal with Atari Games for the Japanese Famicom rights. (*Presumably Sega had a separate deal for the Mega Drive rights, but I do not have info in relation to this.)
  • November 15: Henk Rogers faxes Robert Stein regarding the handheld rights, offering an advance of $25000.
  • November 18: BPS version of Tetris is released.
  • December: Sega arcade version of Tetris is released.
  • December 22: Famicom BPS version of Tetris is released.
  • Unknown:
    • Atari develops and releases Vs. Tetris. (*More info required)


  • February?: Atari arcade version reaches arcades.
  • February 21:
  • February 2_:


  • March 15: Henk Rogers and John Huhs meet with Elorg in Moscow and make an offer for the console rights on behalf on Nintendo. Belikov sends a telex to Mirrorsoft giving them one day to make a counter-offer.
  • March 19: Lincoln and Arakawa arrive in Moscow.
  • March 20: Lincoln and Arakawa meet with Elorg and begin negotiating.
  • March 22: The contract between Nintendo and Elorg is finalised. A telex from Mackonochie arrives at Elorg; Elorg responds later that day informing Mirrorsoft that the home console rights belong to Nintendo.
  • March 23: Kevin Maxwell sends a threatening telex to Elorg.
  • March 31: Howard Lincoln sends a cease-and-desist order to Atari via fax.
  • March/April?: Sega postpones release for Mega Drive version of Tetris.
  • April 6: Nintendo releases press release announcing their NES version of Tetris, making mention of their worldwide exclusive licence.
  • April 15: Planned release date for Mega Drive version of Tetris before postponement and subsequent cancellation.
  • April 18: Atari Games sues Nintendo, believing their licence to be legitimately valid.
  • May 17: Tengen's version of Tetris is released.
  • May 25: Nintendo sues Atari Games over Tengen Tetris.
  • June 22: Judge Fern Smith issues a preliminary injunction, barring the sale of Tengen Tetris.


  • November 13: Judge Fern Smith issues a summary judgement ruling that Nintendo owns the console rights to Tetris.