Tetris turns 30 tomorrow, which makes it a good day to reevaluate your life. Mankind has lost millions of hours to this falling blocks game since its release on June 6, 1984. And according to Dr. Tom Stafford at the University of Sheffield in the UK, it’s all been for nothing.
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“There’s no benefit. There’s nothing to learn. There’s no social or political consequences. In fact, it’s almost completely pointless,” he said in a just released video explaining the psychology behind Tetris.
Like many, you probably believed that pissing your life away playing a puzzle game like Tetris was making you smarter on some level, maybe improving your problem solving skills or teaching you something subliminal about geometry. But apparently those were just delusions and Tetris is more of a drug or a mindfuck than an educational tool.
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One writer called it a “pharmatronic,” which is the equivalent of an electronic version of a mind-altering drug. That explains your addiction to puzzle games like Candy Crush. Dr. Stafford takes this idea one step further and says that Tetris capitalizes on the human brain’s obsessive memory of unfinished tasks, also known as the Zeigarnik Effect. Tetris is a world of incomplete tasks. “The game is endlessly generating tasks/lines to complete and endlessly supplying you a terrain in which to exercise your visual insight,” he said. “The genius of Tetris is that it takes advantage of this memory hook for uncompleted tasks, involves us in a compulsive loop of completing and generating new tasks.”
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So it looks like this trick ass ho of a game dooped us all. Well-played, Tetris. Well-played.
Watch Dr. Stafford’s talk and get the Tetris music stuck in your head for the next 30 years.
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