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Pajitnov: I've Spent More Than 10 Years Working On Multiplayer  Tetris

Pajitnov: I've Spent More Than 10 Years Working On Multiplayer Tetris Exclusive

June 28, 2010 | By Christian Nutt

In a new Gamasutra feature interview, the original creator of the seminal puzzler -- Alexey Pajitnov -- explains that he's spent a great deal of time trying to perfect multiplayer Tetris, but says "we are not quite there yet," and to expect "something really cool in the future."

The original creator of the game -- who developed it in the '80s while working at the Academy of Sciences in Moscow -- now has recaptured the rights to the game that touched off the casual puzzle revolution, and is still working on new versions.

In fact, while he still works actively in approving new versions of Tetris that come to market from publishers, he's "kind of on early retirement," he says. He also says that the freedom to get away from a product development cycle "really liberates your mind and probably... I will be able to come up with something really cool in the future, yes."

"We are working on multiplayer versions for more than 10 years -- I've been trying to design it. I should admit that we are not quite there yet," says Pajitnov.

"It was quite a problem with Tetris that... the game is very intense, you know? If you play on the high level -- and that's where you want to play usually. So, you play on the edge of your abilities, in terms of the speed and reaction, and everything," he continues. "So, you kind of have no brain resources to observe what the other people are doing."

"That's the kind of measured theoretical problem which we need to resolve with multiplayer Tetris. So, if we lower the intensity of personal game playing, we, a little bit, lower the excitement of the game. But if we keep it at the same level, the players don't have resources to really do some kind of multiplayer actions, to observe, to analyze what's going on in the big picture, and adjust their strategy," continues Pajitnov.

"So, we have been seated on this problem for a while; that's the brief description of it. But there are still very promising ways to do it, so the version we have now is pretty good," he adds. "I mean, when you send the garbage in the multiplayer to the other player, it kind of works."

"But unfortunately, my dream would be the game, when you could really see what the other people do and take their gameplay and their achievement and their status in the game really in account," concludes Pajitnov. "That's what the main joy of a multiplayer game is, in my opinion."

The full interview, which goes into more depth on Pajitnov's current work and view of the industry, is live now on Gamasutra.

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