I didn’t write about this when I finished it a month or two ago, because I was pressed for time and because I didn’t know what to say about it. I enjoyed it a lot, but I’m not an experienced enough reader of comics or graphic novels to know how to talk about them. But I’ve recently been battered with adverts for Tetris World Tour, a microtransaction-pushing, power-up-laden mobile Tetris game, and it made me think of this page:

Page from 'Tetris'. The first panel takes up half the page, and shows Henk and Alexey putting their fists together under the text: 'Henk worked out a deal that allowed him and Alexey to form: The Tetris Company'. The subsequent panels are smaller and depict a conversation:
Henk: Together we can protect Tetris. We can make sure no other designers change anything about the game that hurts playability or deletes something we consider essential.
Alexey: Yes, and entertain ideas that push the game forward. Also, and I'll be frank here, finally get me paid.

I’m glad Alexey Pajitnov got paid, but I’m not sure Tetris World Tour is a better representation of the ideals Henk Rogers sets out on this page than the various lovingly-made free Tetris implementations that The Tetris Company has squashed over the years.

I don’t read a lot of this kind of creative non-fiction, so I’ve never given much thought about the way it butts up against reality in places like this. These panels read a little differently if you have been pushed Tetris World Tour for the last week; in particular, Alexey’s frank final statement comes less as a light aside and more as a sting in the tail. Fiction has the luxury complete control over its world and its boundaries; true stories are never entirely finished. Part of me wants to respond to a work like this as if it were fiction (the willing imposition of disbelief?), but that instinct only kicks in when the story seems to conflict with reality: I never asked myself, for example, if I would be interested in this story at all if it wasn’t a true one.

To seasoned readers of creative non-fiction I’m sure these are among the most entry-level thoughts imaginable, which rather makes me want to read more. But I hate Tetris World Tour so much that I must award this no stars. ☆☆☆☆☆

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