Somehow, AppleTV+ Has Made a Gripping Cold War Thriller About the Birth of ‘Tetris’

Remember Tetris – The ’80s video game phenomenon that laid the building blocks for the modern-day industry? Despite its humble appearances, the iconic time-waster almost never happened had it not been for one man willing to take on the KGB at the height of the Cold War. Sound ridiculous? Yep, but that’s the premise of AppleTV+‘s new film Tetris.

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Taron Egerton in 'Tetris' (2023) | Image: AppleTV+

Taron Egerton in ‘Tetris’ (2023) | Image: AppleTV+

The first official trailer for Apple TV+‘s upcoming Tetris movie reveals the surprisingly riveting true origin story of how one man risked it all to “turn Tetris into a worldwide sensation”. Tetris took the video games world by storm in the mid/late 80s with its straightforward yet addictive gameplay loop. Players watch as different-shaped blocks tumble down the screen, before being tasked with positioning them to fit with each other. While the game has been relished by people across the globe, not many know the real story behind how Tetris became a global phenomenon

Tetris follows Henk Rogers, a Dutch video game designer, played by Black Bird and Rocketman actor Taron Egerton. Rogers was partly responsible for securing the console gaming rights, thus allowing its release on Nintendo’s then-revolutionary Game Boy handheld. The debut trailer opens up with Rogers, who, after a brief interaction with the game, is left spellbound, labelling it “the perfect game.”

Egerton expresses, “I played for five minutes, I still see falling blocks in my dreams. It’s poetry. Art and math all working in magical synchronicity.” He then goes on to explain to his colleagues about the game, starting with the name, which is a word created from a combination of “tetra” (Greek for “four”) and “tennis,” which happens to be Pajitnov’s (Tetris’ creator) favourite sport.

'Tetris' (2023) | Image: AppleTV+

‘Tetris’ (2023) | Image: AppleTV+

“This game isn’t just addictive. It stays with you.” After convincing everyone that this is a “once in a lifetime opportunity” and it should be grabbed, Rogers embarks on a journey to the Soviet Union to meet the Russian inventor Alexey Pajitnov with the intention of getting the game’s rights and bringing it to the masses. However, the Communist law at that time dictated that the game belonged to the people of the Soviet Union, thus pitting Rogers directly against the Soviet government.

Over the course of the trailer, we see Rogers meeting Tetris’ inventor Pajitnov, portrayed by Nikita Efremo and the nefarious KGB representatives, all while navigating the increasing tensions between the Soviet government and the West. “When he sets out to bring the game to the world, he enters a dangerous web of lies and corruption behind the Iron Curtain,” reads the film’s description.

Tetris is directed by Jon S. Baird and produced by Matthew Vaughn, Gillian Berrie, Claudia Vaughn, Len Blavatnik, and Gregor Cameron. Besides Egerton and Nikita, the film also stars Moyo Akande, Toby Jones, Sofya Lebedeva, Rick Yune, Igor Grabuzov, Ken Yamamura, Miles Barrow, Aaron Vodovoz, and Leva Andrejevaite. The biographical film is written by Noah Pink, with Lain MacKenzie executive producing. Tetris is all set to premiere at this year’s South by Southwest festival next month before hitting Apple TV+ on March 31.

Check it out

Taron Egerton in 'Tetris' (2023) | Image: AppleTV+

Taron Egerton in ‘Tetris’ (2023) | Image: AppleTV+


Shubhendu Vatsa

Shubhendu Vatsa is an experienced reporter specialising in video game, eSports and technology coverage. A BTech IT graduate, Shubhendu has previously written for entertainment-based publications such as GiveMeSport, Touch, Tap, Play, Attack of the Fanboy, EssentiallySports, Twinfinite and The Load Out.