Reuben Qualls or something you find in dirty diaper. We aren't sure.

Reuben Qualls

We Pieced Together the History of Tetris

The History of Tetris

Everyone has played or at least heard of Tetris, right? It reigned as one of the top-selling video games for decades. In the fatherhood era, you mostly play the real-life version while packing for a family road trip.

What you may not know, however, is the history behind one of the most long-lived, widespread video games out there. I know I didn’t, but when I started looking into it I couldn’t stop digging.

What stands out when looking back to the Game Boy’s Tetris title screen is the obvious… Soviet-ness to it…

Game Boy Tetris Title Screen

… And then there’s the theme song…

As it turns out, Tetris originated from Soviet Russia, during the final decade of the Cold War. Software engineer Alexey Pajitnov was in Moscow in 1984 working on the development of a new computer, the Elektronika 60.

Electronika 60
(Sergei Frolov)

Alexey developed a very rudimentary version of the Tetris we know and love today, to test the machine and have some fun. He said his inspiration for it came from a childhood game, Pentominoes, but he reduced the shapes from 5 equal-sized squares to 4. The name of the game itself is a mash-up of “tetra” (meaning 4), and Alexey’s favorite game, tennis (not sure how the two are similar, but we’ll go with it!). While not flashy or colorful in any way, the original Tetris is is still easily recognized today.

Original Tetris

With the easy to pick up mechanics, Alexey shared his game with coworkers and it spread like wildfire. Tetris ended up making its way to software exhibits outside of the Soviet Union and was adapted to play on IBM computers. Henk Rogers of Bullet-Proof Software eventually secured the handheld rights to the game and the Game Boy version was released. Taking the newly developing video game world by storm, Tetris even became the first game played in space when cosmonaut Aleksandr Serebov packed his Game Boy for his trip to MIR space station in 1993!

From its simple beginnings, 35 years later Tetris is still going strong. Developers are even creating mash-ups, like Tetris 99 (a “battle royale” Tetris game, where 99 players go head to head and last one standing, wins) on the Nintendo Switch! It may look a bit more colorful and hectic today…

Kotaku Tetris 99

… but Tetris is definitely here to stay.

If you’re looking for an on-the-go fix, EA’s mobile Tetris apps recently got pulled from the App Store and Google Play, but don’t worry! They’ve been replaced by N3twork’s version, availableĀ in both the App Store and Google Play. The app is pretty basic for now, but it’s free to play (it has ads that can be removed for $4.99) and no micro-transactions. N3twork even plans to release a Tetris Royale which, while we don’t have the full details yet, sounds like it will be something like the Nintendo Switch’s Tetris 99!

Tetris Co Announcement

Dad Builds Nintendo Switch TV Frame For His Son

Todd and Son
(Todd Peterson)

Gone are the days of boring old wooden TV cabinets, or hanging your TV on a bare wall. The custom route seems like the new way to go, and the results are actually pretty awesome! First seen late 2019 by a Nintendo fan who goes by Suprman9 in his aptly named “Nerdvana“, this Nintendo Switch TV frame quickly went viral, and for good reason…

Suprman9 Switch TV

Since then, many others have built their own iterations of the frame, including one of our very own dads over at The Dad Gaming. Todd Peterson wrote in his post “My son loves his Switch. I love my son. This is the result.”

TP Switch Frame
(Todd Peterson)

Todd actually took it a step further from any of the versions I saw, including Suprman9’s original, and added shelving inside hinged Joy-Cons for storing games!

TP Switch 2
(Todd Peterson)

We reached out to Todd to find out a bit more about how his project came together. The nuts and bolts of it are basically 2x6s, plywood, and wood circles from a hobby store. “Basically I just measured my switch, meticulously, and used a factor of 6.75 to ‘expand’ everything so the switch screen became a 42″ TV,” he told us.

Well done, Todd! It looks like yet another project I’ll have to convince my wife I need should do for our kid…

There’s a detailed write-up about the process of building one of these badboys here.

Fortnite Player Livestreams Call to Mom to Say He Paid Her Student Loans

Aydan Conrad Calling Mom

College is expensive, it’s undeniable. According to a 2019 Forbes article, the average borrower from the Class of 2017 owes over $28,000! What would you say, then, if your kid called you and let you know you’re all paid up?

Pro Fortnite streamer Aydan Conrad’s mom doesn’t have to imagine anymore. While streaming on January 23rd, 20-year-old Aydan calls her up live with his followers (numbering over 1.4 million) watching. He tells her he wants to give her the Christmas gift he wasn’t able to give her before, but she says “I don’t need anything, Aydan. You’ve done enough for me.” Aydan just pushes forward, though, and proceeds to let her know she has no more student debt. After the initial shock and disbelief wears off (especially after Aydan dropped the name of, we’re assuming, her contact for loan payments), everyone gets a chance to witness a truly heartfelt moment between mother and son as the two share some happy tears over the phone.

Aydan humbly credits all his viewers for making it possible, saying “It’s not me, it’s all the people that are watching my stream right now”, to which she responds “Aw, I love them… everyone click ‘exclamation point sub’ and ‘exclamation point prime’!” (for those that don’t use Twitch, those are two chat commands viewers can use to support streamers with a paid subscription). Talk about a loving family that supports each other in their life goals!


Texas Gamer Saves Teammate’s Life From 5000 Miles Away

Texas Gamer Saves Teammate
(YouTube/Sky News)

Few situations in a game are more intense than when your teammate goes down and it’s up to you to pull off that long shot, last-second revive while under fire from all sides. What would you do, though, if you were suddenly the only one able to help your real-life teammate on the other side of that screen… and they were halfway around the world?

spongebob freakout

Texas gamer Dia Lathora ran into this exact situation while playing online with her UK based friend, 17-year-old Aidan Jackson. Aidan told Dia he wasn’t feeling well mid-game and, shortly after taking off his headset, Dia told BBC News she began to “hear him seizing and breathing really hard, and sounds like he was choking and crying.”

Dia Lathora calls Widnes Public Safety
(YouTube/Sky News)

Unfortunately, he was upstairs with his bedroom door closed, so his parents couldn’t hear that anything was wrong. Where others may have panicked, Dia quickly began looking up emergency numbers in the UK she could try, eventually getting through to a live person via the public safety number for Widnes (where Aidan and his family live). As Dia had the address for her friend, she was able to direct emergency services to his home and get him the medical attention he needed.

“Next thing I knew I was waking up with police and my parents in my room saying that I had just had a seizure. I had no idea what was going on,” Aidan said during an interview with Sky News.

Talk about a clutch save for your team!

Needless to say, Aidan’s parents now ask him to game with the door open. In the end, this just goes to prove: Good gamer friends will have your back, both in and out of game!

“I thanked her at least 5, maybe 10 times for it. So yeah, I mean, I thank her every time I see her,” Aiden said.

Halo squad high fives