Henk Rogers: Where is the Tetris Distributor Now?

Image Credit: PBS Hawaiʻi/YouTube

While there’s no denying a simple rolling array of dropping blocks is the basis of arguably one of the most popular video games ever, the truth is its backstory is just as intricately complicated. That’s because, as carefully explored in Apple TV+’s ‘Tetris,’ it was invented by a local Soviet computer engineer and hence had to abide by the communist government’s licensing decisions. Though little did anybody realize there was subsequently a lot of confusion regarding ownership amid several companies, that is, until honest entrepreneur Henk Rogers came into the picture.

Who is Henk Rogers?

It was back in 1989 when Henk made his way to Russia with his heart set on bringing Tetris to the world, only to reportedly find himself caught in a dangerous web of lies as well as corruption. However, he ultimately succeeded in securing the game’s worldwide video rights thanks to his sheer enthusiasm for technology and sincerity, meaning he never once lied during the negotiations. That’s actually because the Dutch-born, New York-raised, then-Japan resident had been interested in this field from a young age, so he always wanted things to be fair for everyone involved.

As per records, Henk was born on December 24, 1953, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where he remained until the age of 11 before the family relocated to their patriarch’s homeland of America. He then attended NYC’s specialized school for mathematics, science, and technology — Stuyvesant High School — but did not graduate as he truly felt he’d already learned all he needed to. “At Stuyvesant, I had one elective,” he once candidly said, referring to the intriguing subject of Computer Science prior to adding, “My entire career since has been based on that one elective.”

Image Credit: PBS Hawaiʻi/YouTube

Henk continued, “I never got tired of the elective, but I’d taken that, and there was no more follow-up courses. So everything else was just like… I would have graduated if I’d just stuck out the last year. I did graduate in New York City, but not from Stuyvesant.” He admittedly went down a similar path while attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa as well; he took all the computer night classes he could yet did not enroll in a single other course. In other words, according to the game enthusiast’s LinkedIn, he “majored in Computer Science, minored [in] Dungeons and Dragons. I did not take any ‘core requirements,’ so I did not graduate. I did get an education.”

Henk’s thinking was that he didn’t need a piece of paper as a degree; he merely needed the knowledge to move forward in life as well as in his chosen tech profession in every way imaginable. From there, he actually followed his family and his love Akemi to Japan, where he worked at his father’s gem company for six years before establishing Bullet-Proof Software on his own in 1983. The rise of personal computers was the facet to have inspired him to blend his love for computers and games, only to end up creating the country’s first major role-playing game, The Black Onyx.

Henk Rogers and Alexey Pajitnov // Image Credit: Destructoid

Henk reportedly evolved into an entrepreneur with his Bullet-Proof publishing company to market The Black Onyx, just to soon travel the world looking for new games to license and distribute. That’s when he came across Tetris in 1988, fell in love with the way it essentially functioned, and became determined to do everything in his power to obtain its national-international rights. He really did do so by offering them a fair price despite not having much for an initial downpayment, which then led to unimaginable success thanks to GameBoy having it pre-installed.

Where is Henk Rogers Now?

From what we can tell, Henk ran AnimaTek in Moscow, Russia, as Founder & Chairman from 1989 to 2001 to control Tetris’ distribution before moving back to the US for good — even inventor Alexey Pajitnov moved to really establish The Tetris Company. In fact, the former still serves as the firm’s President, Exclusive Licensor of the brand, Chairman of the incorporation, as well as Sole Agent for the franchise; Tetris thus remains one of his primary businesses. We say “one of” because the proud family man (husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather) has since stepped into the world of clean energy, philanthropy, research, advocacy, and space exploration too.

Henk was actually the CEO & Founder of Blue Lava Wireless from 2002 to 2005, yet a near-fatal heart attack drove him to realize his true purpose and then launch Blue Planet Foundation. This non-profit organization aims to implement renewable energy policies to ensure the end of carbon-based fuel usage across the United States of America, including all its small territories. He even has Avatar Reality, Blue Planet Research, Blue Startups, Blue Planet Energy, American Renewable Energy Institute (AREI), Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES), and International MoonBase Alliance (IMA) under his belt.

Therefore, to this day, the Member of the Board of Governors for the National Space Society (NSS) is actively pursuing his passion for making a positive impact on this world of ours. That’s also why he resides between his off-grid ranch in Hawaii and New York City (both of which run on 100% solar batteries), uses electric cars, is a vegetarian, and is trying to have trees planted whenever/wherever possible to offset his constant air travel.

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