Enduring classics

Let me slide into this one.

In yesterday’s posting “Gilligan’s aisle”, I marveled at the fact that a profoundly silly tv show from 1964-67 (Gilligan’s Island) was still available enough to the pop-cultural consciousness to serve as the hook for a punning Bizarro cartoon. It’s achieved some sort of classic status.

And then today’s Rhymes With Orange comic turns on a computer game that counts as antique in that world: the computer tiling game Tetris (released in 1984, for the Electronika 60 computer). The comic:

(#1) Incomprehensible to anyone who doesn’t know about the game Tetris and how it looks on the screen; otherwise, this just looks like a peculiar depiction of the idiom rain cats and dogs (whose etymology is unknown, though you can find a pile of inventive speculations about it)

But it seems that pretty much everybody knows about Tetris, so the comic works.

Then, as a bonus, it turns out that today’s Rhymes is a re-play of one from 2010, eleven years ago.

From my 4/11/10 posting “Another playful portmanteau”, accompanying the earlier posting of #1:

Hilary Price (of Rhymes With Orange) continues her series on playful portmanteaus — most recent examples I’ve posted on here (nightmarathon) and here (floorganized) — with Petris (pet + Tetris).

That posting just took Tetris for granted; of course, everybody knows about Tetris. The game then first got some discussion on this blog in my 9/15/17 posting “The many and the one”, which has a short section about it.

More of the Tetris story in Wikipedia:

In Tetris, players complete lines by moving differently shaped pieces (tetrominoes), which descend onto the playing field. The completed lines disappear and grant the player points, and the player can proceed to fill the vacated spaces. The game ends when the playing field is filled. The longer the player can delay this inevitable outcome, the higher their score will be.

… Built on simple rules and requiring intelligence and skill, Tetris established itself as one of the great early video games … [and] one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time. … The game is available on over 65 platforms, setting a Guinness world record for the most ported video game title. Tetris is rooted within popular culture and its popularity extends beyond the sphere of video games; imagery from the game has influenced architecture, music and cosplay.

It’s now available in versions for touchscreens and keyboards — iPads, iPhones, Kindles, etc. Tetris surrounds us.

So of course there are competitions. Like the Classic Tetris World Championship, as described in a New Yorker piece “The revolution in classic Tetris: How a younger generation used the Internet to master the falling blocks” by Jacob Sweet in the 3/26/21 issue:

(#2) Nick Little illustration from the New Yorker

One Response to “Enduring classics”

  1. Mitch4 Says:

    I didn’t see the RWO comic back then. But glancing at it yesterday and seeing the word PETRIS, while I did immediately get Tetris, I missed the point that the falling pieces included domestic pets, and in stead took the PETR- part to hint that the falling Tetris pieces would turn out made of stone, and were on their way to a destructive crash. Nice relief that they are pets and end up cozily tucked in.

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