Report on the Tetris Effect

For completeness, I am reporting back on our book club read for February: The Tetris Effect: The Game that hypnotised the world by Dan Ackerman.

This was a compelling read for me – first and foremost as a trip down memory lane. I remember getting the retail boxed Tetris for Macintosh by Spectrum Holobyte. Like many enjoyed the addictive gameplay and didn’t think much about what was going on behind the scenes – in my head, in the courts, in hotel lobbies, and behind the Iron Curtain. The storty surrounding this phenomenon makes for great reading and the tangential tales that colour this recounting by Dan Ackerman make for a fine read.

I particularly enjoyed the broad context of games development in cash and technology starved labs in Russia, the cut-throat development and marketing of software in the 1980s and how it was peculiarly caught up in the geopolitics of the time. The additional discussion around how ultra-simple gameplay, finely crafted, can tap into our psyches made for fascinating reading.

I am aware (and our book club voiced a similar complaint) that this is 275 pages that could have been related in a longer article format with as much impact. However, I did not find myself dragging my way through this book, nor being aware of repeated content or overly detailed recounting of events. This is not to say that we all read differently and others mileage on this count may vary. For me, this was a satisfying read that captured the spirit of the times and re-embellished my own memories of these bygone gaming times.

I fear that the book club was less forgiving or simply less engaged with the phenomenon at the time which clearly does impact on the voting. The overall rating was solid, with Fergal 4.0, Jim 6.0, Brian C 5.0, Declan 6.0, Joe 4.0 and Mike at 7.0 with an average rating of 5.6 and round buying averted;-)

The books nominated for our March read were:
Brian M – Last Stories – William Trevor
Mike – American Pastoral – Philip Roth
Brian C – Milkman – Anna Burns
Declan – War of the Wolf – Bernard Cornwell

The selected read for March 2019 is War of the Wolf.

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