Tetris might still be one of the most popular games in the world, but can it become the first virtual sport? Alexey Pajitnov and Henk Rogers, the people behind the game, certainly hope so.
Not content with having singlehandedly stalled the progress of Western civilization by creating one of the all-time greatest office productivity killers ever known to man, Alexey Pajitnov doesn't just want Tetris to be a game. He wants it to be a sport. He and Henk Rogers founded the Tetris Foundation in 1991 to keep the spirit of Tetris alive, and doing that doesn't just mean building new versions of the game, but taking it to a whole other level.
"We are going to turn Tetris into the first real virtual sport," Rogers said. "Sports like baseball and football were created at a time when our future was a lifetime of physical activities and physical fitness. But now that's not as important, it's more about mental fitness today."
Dubious assertion that physical fitness is no longer as important as it used to be aside, Rogers' point is that Tetris is an activity that "exercises the mind. That is the definition of a virtual sport."
And while plenty of people already play Tetris these days, Rogers envisions a world where gaming's not just a hobby, but a commonplace, everyday activity for a huge number of people. "The future is a country that has 48 million people living in it and the biggest casual gaming site in the country has 24 million registered users," he said. "That country is Korea. That's what's going to happen in the rest of the world."
I wouldn't mind that. If Tetris becomes the first virtual sport, then I'll be the first virtual Michael Jordan. Yeah, I'm that good.