Tetris movie true story: is Taron Egerton AppleTV film based on real events, where is video game inventor now?

AppleTV+ film Tetris is based on the true story of video game creator Alexey Pazhitnov and entrepreneur Henk Rogers

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Tetris is a new AppleTV+ historical drama film set during the Cold War and following the evolution of the titular video game. The film stars Kingsman actor Taron Egerton and features a supporting cast that includes Toby Jones, Togo Igawa, and Rick Yune. 

The film, which has an impressive $80 million budget, takes place in the 1980s and ‘90s as Tetris expanded from Russia into the western market through its inclusion on the Game Boy.

But how accurate is the Tetris film and where is the creator of the game now? This is everything you need to know about the true story of Tetris:

Is the AppleTV Tetris film based on a true story?

Yes, Tetris is based on the story of Alexey Pazhitnov and Henk Rogers, the two men who made the video game into the global brand that it is today. Tetris was invented in 1984 by Pazhitnov - the game, named for the Greek ‘tetra’ meaning four, and ‘tennis’ because of Alexey’s love of the sport, became a worldwide sensation and is still popular almost four decades later.  

Tetris, AppleTVTetris, AppleTV
Tetris, AppleTV

The AppleTV+ movie stars Taron Egerton as Henk and Nikita Efremov as Alexey and follows the story of how the pair managed to make the game into an international success against the backdrop of the Cold War.

When game designer Henk came across Tetris in 1988 he was so impressed with its brilliant simplicity that he became obsessed with obtaining the rights to the game. He achieved this, and was able to bring Tetris to western gamers.

Both Henk and Alexey had some involvement in the film’s production and reviewed the script - Alexey said “It's a Hollywood script; it's a movie. It's not about history, so a lot of [what's in the movie] never happened. But the filmmakers asked us a bunch of questions about what it was really like. 

Alexey Pazhitnov invented TetrisAlexey Pazhitnov invented Tetris
Alexey Pazhitnov invented Tetris

“They tried their best to accept our changes when they had to do with authenticity. But when it started getting into the car chase and all that, it was like, 'OK, now it's all them.' We couldn't change anything.”

So, whilst the movie is inspired by the true story of the Tetris Company founders, it appears that the producers took some artistic license as they translated the story for the screen.

Where is the inventor of Tetris now?

Henk Rogers and Alexey Pajitnov founded The Tetris Company in 1996. The Tetris franchise is worth an estimated $140 million today, and Tetris was the best-selling videogame in the world from 1993-2020, when it was overtaken by Minecraft.

Alexey is still involved with the Tetris Company and Henk continues to serve as its president.  The pair attended the SXSW world premiere of the film on 15 March. Alexey moved to the US with his wife in 1991, whilst Henk has set up several companies over his career including the non-profit Blue Planet Energy and now lives in Hawaii.

The Cinemaholic puts Alexey’s net worth at around $20 million, and estimates Henk to be worth even more, roughly $50 million.

Tetris is available to watch on AppleTV+ now.

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