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Honolulu, April 25 - All rights to Tetris, the best selling computer game ever, are now exclusively held by a new company that will allow its creator, Alexey Pajitnov, to finally receive the royalties he was denied for ten years under Soviet-era licensing agreements covering the game.

In an historic deal, Henk Rogers, the entrepreneur responsible for popularising Tetris on Nintendo Game Boy systems, convinced Mr Pajitnov and Electronorgtechnica, or "Elorg," the now privatised Soviet Ministry of Software and Hardware Export, to join him in a new joint venture called The Tetris Company.

The Tetris Company has named Blue Planet Software of Honolulu, Hawaii the exclusive agent to all Tetris business licensing. Prior to today's announcement, a number of Tetris licensing rights covered a range of platforms - electronic organisers, hand-held game machines, scientific calculators, dedicated word processors, home video machines, personal computers, video arcade machines and CD-ROM-based machines. Some of these former licensees include: Atari, Bullet-Proof Software, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Nintendo, Philips, Sega, Sharp and Spectrum Holobyte.

Tetris has sold over 40 million copies to date and is credited with being the game that popularised the wildly successful Nintendo Game Boy system. The non-violent game transcends age and gender and has a female following unlike any other computer game with women making up nearly half of its players.

"Alexey Pajitnov is perhaps the most famous game designer in the world, yet he's always been good-natured and philosophical about being denied the profits from his game," noted Mr Rogers. "After 10 years of being left out of Tetris licensing deals arranged by a government that no longer exists, modest Alexey is finally getting his due."

Mr Pajitnov developed Tetris in 1985 at the Moscow Academy of Sciences' Computer Center. Because the game called for the player to strategically place failing tetraminos, the simple geometric shapes formed by four adjacent squares, he named it Tetris. Initially designed as entertainment for himself and his computer-literate colleagues in Soviet academia, Mr Pajitnov was happily surprised to see his clever creation take the rest of the world by storm. Unaccustomed to the financial rewards given big Western and Japanese counterparts, Mr Pajitnov saw Tetris as an electronic ambassador of good will.

"The creation of the Terris Company will allow us to work on new versions of the game like Internet, network and multi-platform play," said Mr Pajitnov. "The company will also give me the opportunity to create new forms of electronic entertainment with Henk and my colleagues in Russia."

Blue Planet Software was established in early 1996 to market games with widespread appeal like the internationally popular Tetris. Its principal, Henk Rogers, is well known in the computer and games industry for his work with Tetris on Nintendo's game boy system as well as promoting original games in Japan with his innovative company, Yokohama-based Bullet-Proof Software. Blue Planet Software is located in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Tetris Company was founded in early 1996 by Henk Rogers, an early Western enthusiast of Tetris and Electronorgtechnica, or "Elorg," the now privatised Soviet Ministry of Software and Hardware Export and its US subsidiary, Games. The Tetris Company has its headquarters in Bellevue, Washington and controls all rights to Tetris.

SOURCE Tetris Company

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