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Tetris (DOS, Spectrum HoloByte)

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Title Screen


Developer: Nexa
Publishers: Spectrum HoloByte (US), Mirrorsoft (UK)
Platform: DOS
Released in US: January 29, 1988
Released in UK: January 27, 1988

Carts.png This game has revisional differences.

This version of Tetris was the first to be released outside the Eastern Bloc, and by extent the first to be sold commercially. The western release was the result of creator Alexey Pajitnov knowing a guy who knew some guys who knew some guys and so on, eventually bringing the game into the hands of business executive and white-collar criminal Robert Maxwell, who owned both Spectrum HoloByte and Mirrorsoft. Thus began the bizarre and convoluted situation regarding the international rights to Tetris, which would eventually spawn a (heavily embellished) feature film.

Despite the copyright screen having a date of 1987, the game was actually released in January 1988.

Revisional Differences

When info about this version made its way to the Russians they demanded a few changes to the game.

Title Screen

In the original version of the game, a plane flies across the title screen before the opening scroll, a reference to Mathias Rust and his flight over Red Square. The incident was considered a national embarrassment to the Russians, and Elorg demanded that the plane be removed as a result. The copyright text was also made slightly thicker and takes up a bit more screen estate in the revised version.

Version 1.0 Revised version
Tetris10 (DOS, Spectrum HoloByte)-title.png Tetris (DOS, Spectrum HoloByte)-title.png

After the opening scroll is the Play Tetris screen. In the original version the plane returns with a banner reading "Play Tetris!", and the player must press a key to move on to the programmer credits. In the revised version the Play Tetris screen disappears almost instantly, presumably just before the plane would appear.

Version 1.0 Revised version
Oh, okay. So... what do I do?

Level Select Screen

The level select screen has different colours. Why this was changed is unclear.

Version 1.0 Revised version
Tetris10 (DOS, Spectrum HoloByte)-levelselect.png Tetris (DOS, Spectrum HoloByte)-levelselect.png

Stage Backgrounds

Backgrounds depicting submarines and fighter planes were replaced because Pajitnov wanted Tetris to be "a peaceful game heralding a new era in the relationship between superpowers and their attitude toward world peace."

Version 1.0 Revised version
Tetris10 (DOS, Spectrum HoloByte)-lv3ega.png Tetris (DOS, Spectrum HoloByte)-lv3ega.png

Level 3, containing submarines, was changed to a man riding a horse.

Version 1.0 Revised version
Tetris10 (DOS, Spectrum HoloByte)-lv8ega.png Tetris (DOS, Spectrum HoloByte)-lv8ega.png

Level 8, containing fighter planes, was changed to a theatre performance.