Alexey Pajitnov: Where Is Tetris’ Inventor Now?

Investigation Discovery’s ‘The Tetris Murders’ chronicles the horrific incident in California’s Silicon Valley when Vladimir Pokhilko, his wife, Yelena Fedotova, and their son, Peter Pokhilko, were found brutally murdered inside their home. While the police initially treated it as a homicide and began an investigation, they soon learned that Vladimir was involved in developing the video game ‘Tetris’ alongside the creator Alexey Pajitnov.

Though the latter was not involved with the deaths in any way, detectives also learned that Vladimir never received much revenue from the video game’s success. Now, if you are intrigued by the case and want to find out where Alexey currently is, we have you covered.

Who Is Alexey Pajitnov?

Born on April 16, 1955, in Moscow, Russia, Alexey Pajitnov grew up surrounded by literature and movies, as his mother worked as a film journalist and his father was an art critic. Hence, from quite a young age, he discovered his affinity for the visual medium, especially films and visual puzzles. The young boy was also fascinated by mathematics, which later made him choose to pursue a course on applied mathematics from the Moscow Aviation Institute.

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Interestingly, Alexey started creating computer games for testing as he worked at the Soviet Academy of Sciences’ Dorodnitsyn Computing Centre, where they often had to examine new equipment. Nevertheless, tired of trying the same program continuously, he thought outside the box and soon reminisced how he loved playing the board game pentominoes, where one had to fit different shapes into a rectangle frame.

Using that idea as an inspiration, Alexey began working on the first version of ‘Tetris,’ but the game required quite a bit of bug-fixing and polishing until the final version was completed on June 6, 1984. The Investigation Discovery show mentions that although he created the final version himself, Vladimir Pokhilko was involved in the developmental phase.

‘Tetris’ became quite popular in the Soviet Union, yet Alexey and Vladimir were stuck behind the Iron Curtain, making it quite challenging to market the game in the west. Moreover, since a Soviet company sold the game and the former was considered an employee of the state, he did not receive any royalty from sales. Eventually, Alexey contacted Henk Rogers, who helped market the game in the west and even found a way to get Alexey and Vladimir to the United States.

Once in the US, Alexey and Henk established The Tetris Company, through which they could sell the game and get loyalties. On the other hand, while still in Russia, Alexey co-founded the tech company, AnimaTek, alongside Vladimir Pokhilko, and the two created the simple computer game ‘El-Fish.’

Where Is Alexey Pajitnov Now?

Alexey Pajitnov moved to the United States in 1991 and started The Tetris Company in 1996. Subsequently, in the same year, he was offered an opportunity to work at Microsoft, where he helped develop, test, and perfect several puzzle games, including the ones on the ‘Microsoft Entertainment Pack: The Puzzle Collection.’ In fact, at Microsoft, Alexey was credited for designing several popular games, including ‘Microsoft Pandora’s Box,’ and ‘Hexic.’

Image Credit: Rev3Games/YouTube

Besides, Alexey later worked with WildSnake Software but seemingly retired after conceptualizing and designing his last game ‘Marbly’ in 2013. Naturally, he earned immense praise and recognition in the video game industry and received various awards throughout his career. Alexey is happily married to Nina Pajitnov; though the couple had two sons, Peter and Dmitri, we are sorry to report that the latter breathed his last in a skiing accident in 2017.

The creator of ‘Tetris’ and his wife now reside in the city of Clyde Hill in Washington State and, from the looks of it, have built a happy life surrounded by family and friends. Moreover, Alexey is quite vocal about his stance on global issues, as he was recently in the news for condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Read More: Tetris Murders: How Did Vladimir Pokhilko and Yelena Fedotova Die?