June 1985 – Alexy Pajitov programs the first Tetris at the Moscow Academey
of Science on an mainframe. Vadim Gerasimov makes a PC version.
July 1986 – Robert Stein, President of British software company Andromeda,
spots Apple II and Commodore-64 versions of Tetris in Budapest. Without securing
rights to the game, he sells all rights except handheld and arcade versions to
Mirrorsoft U.K. and Spectrum Holobyte in the United States.
November 1986 – Stein fails to secure the rights to Tetris from the Academy.
“The first game from behind the iron curtain” is released, without rights, in
the U.S. and United Kingdom.
January 1988 -Electronics company ELORG now controlls Tetris on Pajitnov’s
behalf. Pajitnov appears on CBS, foiling Stein’s plan to claim a Hungarian origin
of Tetris. ELORG Director catches on to Stein’s plan.
May 1988 – ELORG licenses all versions of Tetris except handheld and arcade
versions to Stein.
July 1988 – Spectrum and Mirrorsoft sublicence conflicting and non-existent
rights to Bullet-Proof Software and Atari, respectively.
February 1989 – Nintendo secures rights to include Tetris with its new
GameBoy (and the home videogames rights in March) and Stein gets to sell arcade
March 1989 – ELORG, owed money from the Stein fiasco, sides with Nintendo.
April 1989 – Atari sues Nintendo of America. Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev
sides with Robert Maxwell, owner of Mirrorsoft and Spectrum (but not of Tetris).
July 1989 – Tengen (Atari) loses against Nintendo’s countersuit. Nintendo
releases Tetris in North America for its NES and GameBoy. Unlicensed NES Tengen
Tetris cartridges become collectors’ items. Court battles end in 1993.