Tetris Reversed is unearthed after being forgotten for a decade | The DeanBeat

Many game fans have enjoyed the Tetris film, which chronicled the creation and licensing of Tetris, the addictive game that Alexey Pajitnov created in the back of the Iron Curtain. His pal Henk Rogers went thru a great deal of anxiety to license the game in Russia and even regain Pajitnov out of the Soviet Union decades ago.

However there’s another chapter to the tale unfolding.

Today, Pajitnov and others who unearthed a forgotten game in the Tetris canon talked at the Game Developers Convention about Tetris Reversed, a prototype for a game that was regarded as lost.

However little did Pajitnov know that an engineer in charge of the game, Vedran Klanac, had saved a replica of it. Thru the assistance of intermediaries, he confirmed it to Pajitnov and the 2 shared their memories of what happened to the lost game.

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Tetris Revisited panel at GDC 2024.

Pajitnov, originally from Moscow, became famous as a computer engineer and inventor of the legendary computer game Tetris, which he created in the Nineteen Eighties while working for the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Rogers acquired the rights to the game and eventually acquired Pajitnov in a foreign nation. They retold some of this epic at our GamesBeat Next 2023 event last October. (Make particular to enroll for GamesBeat Summit 2024 on May 20-21; you can consume a 25% discount code: gbs24dean25.

Alexey Pajitnov is the creator of Tetris

Pajitnov has lived in the U.S. since 1991, the place he has been though-provoking about the pattern of games such as Pandora’s Box and labored with companies such as Microsoft and WildSnake Software. In addition to his iconic Tetris game, he is in the back of titles such as Hatris, El-Fish, and Hexic among many others that have deepened and expanded game invent. He was awarded First Penguin Award at Game Developers Preference Awards in 2007 for his breakthrough in the field of games. And his epic was the field of the Tetris film.

Klanac is the CEO of Ocean Media, and he is originally from Zagreb, Croatia. He was an aerospace engineer who started his career in the games trade with Croteam the place he constructed the physics engine for Severe Sam 2.

Since 2006, he has been operating Ocean Media, a game publishing company with a give attention to consoles. All the way thru the last 20 years, he was though-provoking about production as a programmer and government producer in additional than 200 projects. And it looks he was the programmer who created the Tetris Reversed code based on instructions from Pajitnov, who had passed them on thru a middleman.

Extra than a decade ago

Vedran Klanac was the prototype creator.

In 2011, programmer Vedran Klanac went to the NLGD Festival of Games in Utrecht, The Netherlands. He listened to a talk on a charitable effort from Martin de Ronde, a cofounder of game studio Guerrilla Games. Klanac said in an interview with GamesBeat that he listened to De Ronde’s talk and offered to assist. De Ronde came back months later saying he had an agreement with Pajitnov about creating a original prototype for a Tetris game.

De Ronde asked if Klanac if he wanted to make Tetris Reversed by Pajitnov.

“Are you kidding me?” Klanac reacted.

They started the mission. De Ronde served the droop-between on the mission, mediating between dressmaker Pajitnov and engineer Klanac. De Ronde wanted to create a title for OneBigGame and donate many of the proceeds to charity. It was a aspect mission that was separate from Guerrilla Games, and he wanted the games to near back from famous game builders fancy Pajitnov.

“We discussed this fair lately but I by no means knew who Vedran was all the way thru the mission,” Pajitnov said all the way thru the panel. “Most of the players all concentrate correct on the profile in the game. All that matters is the profile of the garbabe in the playfield. The placement of the articulate objects in Tetris. In case you bear in mind similar board game, the player tries to make consume of all of the space. I assumed maybe this is perhaps done, to attempt to make consume of all of the playfield. I discovered a way to accomplish it by reversing the game. Instead of placing the objects in the playfield, I conventional them to eat the objects in the game. That was the main theory of the game.”

De Ronde would obtain instructions from Pajitnov about the invent of the game, and then pass them on to Klanac, who would turn around and code the game. Then he would pass a display back thru Pajitnov about what had been accomplished. It took a month to accomplish the primary prototype.

“I had some questions about how it will calm work. And then we started the iterations which the communication neighborhood” undertook, Pajitnov said.

They did many of the work from March 2012 to November 2012. Klanac did the work in his maintain game engine, on his maintain time. And, fortunately, he had a accurate archiving device.

Notes can be passed back and forth, and Pajitnov by no means actually met Klanac. And it was correct a aspect hustle for Klanac. Pajitnov said he remembers the prototype and he played it lot.

“Martin was in the center. And this is one among the reasons why Alexei actually by no means communicated with Klanac,” he said.

“Then we started doing iterations on how to create the primary version,” Klanac said.

Tetris Reversed in action.

As the fall approached, Klanac said every person was busy. de Ronde was in the strategy of promoting his studio, Guerrilla Games, to Sony. Then the mission slowed down and de Ronde said it was dead in the water. Communication became more sporadic.

Three years later, Klanac emailed De Ronde about what was the status of the program.

“Is this dead in the water?” Klanac asked.

De Ronde had no answer but idea it was likely canceled. Then the game sat fallow. Klanac tried another time to regain clarity a year later. However de Ronde by no means answered to that message.

A playable prototype

So Klanac stopped working on the mission and moved on. However he knew the prototype was total and it is perhaps played.

And so it was lost.

Tetris Reverse unearthed

Vedran Klanac labored on Tetris Reversed in 2012.

Vlad Micu, a trade pattern professional, unearthed this epic and united Pajitnov and Klanac for the primary time. Micu had met Klanac in Taipei in 2017. They had been pals for a while and saw each diverse annually at the Reboot Accomplish Blue conference in Dubrovnik. They had dinner there in April 2023 along with Kate Edwards, CEO of Geogrify, and I was there too. They had been talking about the Tetris film.

Then Klanac mentioned that he calm had the prototype of a game called Tetris Reversed in his personal archives. He shared the backstory with Micu, who was terrorized that there was a lost prototype of a Tetris game that was by no means published. And he was also surprised that Klanac and Pajitnov had by no means met in individual.

“Vedran, out of nowhere, drops this massive bomb on us,” Micu said.

Micu was working on a game conference in Prague and managed to regain Pajitnov to near back out and give a talk.

“I actually ended up sitting down with Alexei and bringing all of this up to him,” he said.

Micu told Klanac he should calm take into consideration doing a talk about it at the GDC, and they agreed it’d be a accurate epic as a form of autopsy for a game that had correct a prototype. Thru Edwards, Micu acquired in contact with Pajitnov in individual and he had gotten the GDC staff’s attention with regards to the epic about the lost game. The Tetris company had no objection to the session.

The GDC approved the session out of the passion of the preservation of games. And the epic was retold today in a panel at the Game Developers Convention. For the primary time in public, they confirmed the video of the prototype in action.

Pajitnov went over the invent decisions, the iterations and the pattern task. It’s no longer clear yet if the game will ever be officially published.

“When you gape the gameplay video, and should you gaze at the invent parts. This is Tetris for fancy 300 IQ folks,” Pajitnov said.

How the game works

Tetris Reversed was lost for more than a decade.


This game idea started from the original game of Tetris. Klanac analyzed the game and noticed that the profile of the playfield direct material is the main level of care of the player. Come what may the main strategy of a regular player in Tetris is to produce and maintain the appropriate profile of the “garbage” –with out bumps and with deep narrow holes of certain configurations.

In case you played Pentomino or any diverse board variations, you’ll examine that the playing happens all over the playfield – you attempt to catch appropriate place for the piece all over the place on the playing discipline. So Klanac tried to understand how to make all the space available.

Game dynamics

Generally, it is borrowed from the original game – the tetramino piece falls down, the player controls its place (to left or to accurate), state (rotate 90 levels, maybe replace it, if the “maintain”-chance is on), and motion (acceleration – “mushy descend”, maybe even some “stream-up” or pause choices,  if the game is too hard to play).

However the main original feature is to make your total playfield accessible, Klanac said. That was the main level of the original game invent. He took the subsequent piece and made it fall down on the entrance of the playfield stuffed with garbage. At a certain place, Klanac wanted the piece to be embedded into the playfield – with certain UI action. The piece can be placed (or attempted to be placed) – so, its “lifestyles cycle” is to be over and the subsequent piece is to be generated. That’s why UI action ought to be one thing fancy a “hard descend” from the original game, Klanac said.

This way the main game dynamics is fairly remarkable area up.


Tetris Reversed guidelines

Most of the foundations are about the “embedment” action. If all the cells underneath the piece are full (grey-colored) – then the placement takes place and these cells are cleared. Otherwise, the stream fails. Within the real prototype, Klanac believed, four background cells remained untouched, the piece disappeared and then your total playfield acquired “reversed”: all the no-empty cells grew to turn into empty and empty cells – no-empty. Now, Klanac changed this rule a bit, but historically that is what has been implemented.

Later this “Reverse” scheme was implemented in a prototype as a separate action that the player can perform with a certain button anytime all the way thru the stream. The reason for that was to let the player maintain playing if he “ate” almost all the garbage and there is no area for the piece placement.  The variety of these “Reverse” actions was assigned restricted – 15 or 20. After they are exhausted, the “Game over” happens.

The extra rule was about the collapse of the empty strains. There was no need for this feature, however the great emotional finish made Klanac really want it in a original version. The collapse rule is somewhat easy – if the road of garbage is cleared,  then it collapses as in the original game. The greatest interrogate is about the liberated space on high of the playing discipline. He decided to make it entirely unplayable afterward. No placement is allowed there and no reversing of the cells. So, the collapse of the road literally shrinks the playing discipline, displaying real growth in the gameplay and making a game harder and harder. Klanac thinks it was a very accurate decision.

Kate Edwards (left), Vlad Micu, Alexey Pajitnov and Vedran Klanac.

Klanac said it is called Tetris Reverse because it introduces a reversing mechanic the place there are two prerequisites. You can reverse the board, which literally means inverse, or reversing light and dark cells.

That is, the board flips so that the area the place a block can droop with the circulate down in the initiate-air space turns into an obstacle, and the former obstacles turn into initiate spaces on the board.

On the accurate aspect of the display, you gape the variety of reverses that you’re calm left with and how many times you can calm reverse. If a piece falls from the cease all the way down to the backside and you don’t place that block, then this can automatically reverse the game.

The idea is to outlive as long as you can.

Pajitnov remembered working with de Ronde, asking him to re-create the prototype that Pajitnov had created. Klanac, thru de Ronde, promised to work on two variations of the prototype. Then the mission correct stopped going forward.

“I had almost entirely forgotten about its existence,” Pajitnov said.

Now he wonders if the game can be published as it is today.

“Basically, it’s another version of Tetris,” said Pajitnov.

Pajitnov said he was glad the prototype shall be preserved for history. As for the present nostalgia around Tetris, he said it’s nice that Tetris is calm alive.

“I’m particular there is going to be grand passion as there is a original prototype that folks don’t know anything about,” Pajitnov said.

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