Tetris is one of the most popular video games of all time, and Henk Rogers helped make it happen. He first discovered the game at a convention in 1988, and immediately saw how elegant and addictive it was. As a software developer based in Japan, Henk set out to obtain selected publishing rights, but waded into a tangle of red tape that stretched from Japan to the U.S. to the Soviet Union. He eventually ventured behind the Iron Curtain to bluster his way into the obscure government office that managed Tetris. While in Moscow, Henk also met the game’s inventor, Alexey Pajitnov, and the two of them hit it off. After much legal wrangling across many time zones, Henk and Alexey won the worldwide rights to the game; and today, Tetris has sold over 500 million copies.
This episode was produced by Sam Paulson, with music by Ramtin Arablouei and Sam Paulson.
Edited by Neva Grant, with research help from Katherine Sypher.