小方块 大魔力


小方块 大魔力

帖子  Pao-西安 于 周三 十一月 21, 2012 1:10 pm


1) How Tetris became the world's favourite computer game

In 1984 a Russian scientist invented what would become one of the most popular computer games ever; today it is estimated that at least a billion people have played Tetris.

It was created in 1984 by Alexey Pajitnov, a young researcher at Moscow's Academy of Science.

Bored by his job in the cybernetics department, he began using his love for mathematical puzzles to create a new computer game.

His inspiration was a board game called Pentomino, in which 12 different shapes made out of five squares are twisted and turned until they fit together in a box.

"You could spend a good couple of hours trying to do it and when I started programming this as a virtual game the Tetris idea kind of sparked," Mr Pajitnov said.

At that time there were very few computers in Moscow and researchers at the academy were forced to share, so very soon Mr Patijnov's colleagues were skiving off work to play the game.

"Everybody tried it and everybody loved it - including myself - and very soon the game just spread out from the computer centre across Moscow, then wider and wider," he said.

'Wild fire'

With the iron curtain still firmly in place, Moscow did not have anything resembling a computer industry and software was not for sale.

"The idea of receiving money for the programme seemed really strange and ridiculous at that time. So somehow Tetris was copied from my computer and from floppy disk to floppy disk - it just spread like wildfire," says Mr Pajitnov.

Tetris was passed between computer users the length and breadth of the Soviet Union and before long the government noticed that it had begun affecting productivity in the workplace.

In order to combat the problem they created an early form of spyware, which was installed on state computers to corrupt both Tetris and the floppy disk it originated from the moment the game was opened.

In the mid-1980s a British software manufacturer visiting an office in Hungary noticed the staff were playing with coloured shapes on their computers rather than engaging with their work.

Intrigued, he found out more about the game and went on to negotiate the distribution rights with the Russian government.

Before long, people in Europe and America were playing it at home. But the industry was moving fast and by the late 1980s the new platform was a handheld console like Game Boy.

Handheld revolution

Henk Rogers was an American software developer working in Japan who immediately saw the potential in Tetris.

"Most computer games are destructive but with Tetris you build something and I think that corresponds to some basic pleasure centre in humans," he says.

In 1989 Mr Rogers decided he wanted the distribution rights for handheld Tetris, so he packed his bags and without having any contacts in the USSR he jumped on a plane with a basic tourist visa and landed in communist Moscow.

"It was a little crazy, partly it was naïve and partly it was guts but also a lot of it was adrenaline - I just went for it," he says.

Mr Rogers was there to find ELORG, the new Soviet agency for the import and export of software.

But he found people in Moscow unhelpful. No matter whom he asked, no-one could tell him where the company was or even provide him with a telephone number.

After a few days of frustration Mr Rogers hired an interpreter, who helped him locate ELORG's offices, but when he arrived he was received by a shocked staff who were thrown by his unannounced visit; the usual protocol being a prior arrangement with permission from the KGB.

While he was there he met Alexey Pajitnov and they struck up what would become a long friendship.

"I had met businessmen before," Mr Pajitnov recalls, "but they were more like con-men. Henk was different - he really understood the game."

After a week of negotiations Mr Rogers won the officials over and he walked away with the rights for personal computers as well as handheld consoles.

Today Henk Rogers and Alexey Pajitnov together own the company that holds the rights to Tetris, where they continue to develop the game to fit with the latest technology.

To date, 70 million games have been sold in shops. It has been downloaded to 130 million phones and three million people a day play the game on Facebook.

Mr Rogers is sure that the game will never lose its ability to engage people.

"It is not like the Rubik's Cube or Pac-Man, Tetris is not a fad or a fashion and it will never fade into history; people will keep on playing it."

2)The psychology of Tetris

How the secret to the popular game’s success is that it takes advantage of the mind's basic pleasure in tidying up and uses it against us.

Shapes fall from the sky, all you have to do is to control how they fall and fit within each other. A simple premise, but add an annoyingly addictive electronica soundtrack (based on a Russian folk tune called Korobeiniki, apparently) and you have a revolution in entertainment.

Since Tetris was launched on the world in 1986, millions of hours have been lost through playing this simple game. Since then, we’ve seen games consoles grow in power, and with it the appearance of everything from Call of Duty to World of Warcraft. Yet block and puzzle games like Tetris still have a special place in our hearts. Why are they are so compelling?

The writer Jeffrey Goldsmith was so obsessed with Tetris that he wrote a famous article asking if the game’s creator Alexey Pajitnov had invented “a pharmatronic?” – a video game with the potency of an addictive drug. Some people say that after playing the game for hours they see falling blocks in their dreams or buildings move together in the street – a phenomenon known as the Tetris Effect. Such is its mental pull, there’s even been the suggestion that the game might be able to prevent flashbacks in people with PTSD.

I had my own Tetris phase, when I was a teenager, and spent more hours than I should have trying to align the falling blocks in rows. Recently, I started thinking about why games like Tetris are so compelling. My conclusion? It’s to do with a deep-seated psychological drive to tidy up.

Many human games are basically ritualised tidying up. Snooker, or pool if you are non-British, is a good example. The first person makes a mess (the break) and then the players take turns in potting the balls into the pockets, in a vary particular order. Tetris adds a computer-powered engine to this basic scenario – not only must the player tidy up, but the computer keeps throwing extra blocks from the sky to add to the mess. It looks like a perfect example of a pointless exercise – a game that doesn't teach us anything useful, has no wider social or physical purpose, but which weirdly keeps us interested.

There's a textbook psychological phenomenon called the Zeigarnik Effect, named after Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik. In the 1930s, Zeigarnik was in a busy cafe and heard that the waiters had fantastic memories for orders – but only up until the orders had been delivered. They could remember the requests of a party of 12, but once the food and drink had hit the table they forgot about it instantly, and were unable to recall what had been so solid moments before. Zeigarnik gave her name to the whole class of problems where incomplete tasks stick in memory.

The Zeigarnik Effect is also part of the reason why quiz shows are so compelling. You might not care about the year the British Broadcasting Corporation was founded or the percentage of the world's countries that have at least one McDonald's restaurant, but once someone has asked the question it becomes strangely irritating not to know the answer (1927 and 61%, by the way). The questions stick in the mind, unfinished until it is completed by the answer.

Game theory

Tetris holds our attention by continually creating unfinished tasks. Each action in the game allows us to solve part of the puzzle, filling up a row or rows completely so that they disappear, but is also just as likely to create new, unfinished work. A chain of these partial-solutions and newly triggered unsolved tasks can easily stretch to hours, each moment full of the same kind of satisfaction as scratching an itch.

The other reason why Tetris works so well is that each unfinished task only appears at the same time as its potential solution – those blocks continuously fall from the sky, each one a problem and a potential solution. Tetris is a simple visual world, and solutions can immediately be tried out using the five control keys (move left, move right, rotate left, rotate right and drop – of course). Studies of Tetris players show that people prefer to rotate the blocks to see if they'll fit, rather than think about if they'll fit. Either method would work, of course, but Tetris creates a world where action is quicker than thought – and this is part of the key to why it is so absorbing. Unlike so much of life, Tetris makes an immediate connection between our insight into how we might solve a problem and the means to begin acting on it.

The Zeigarnik Effect describes a phenomenon, but it doesn't really give any reason for why it happens. This is a common trick of psychologists, to pretend they solved a riddle of the human mind by giving it a name, when all they've done is invented an agreed upon name for the mystery rather than solved it. A plausible explanation for the existence of the Effect is that the mind is designed to reorganise around the pursuit of goals. If those goals are met, then the mind turns to something else.

Trivia takes advantage of this goal orientation by frustrating us until it is satisfied. Tetris goes one step further, and creates a continual chain of frustration and satisfaction of goals. Like a clever parasite, Tetris takes advantage of the mind's basic pleasure in getting things done and uses it against us. We can go along with this, enjoying the short-term thrills in tidying up those blocks, even while a wiser, more reflective, part of us knows that the game is basically purposeless. But then all good games are, right?

小方块 大魔力

《俄罗斯方块》是于1984年由前苏联的阿列克谢-帕基特诺夫(Alexey Pajitnov)编写的游戏,它成为前苏联出口的第一款游戏,当时由发行公司为IBM 的个人电脑发行该游戏。从那以后,《俄罗斯方块》几乎出现在了每一个有屏幕和CPU的设备上;成为任天堂原版掌上游戏机的捆绑游戏,取得了巨大的成功;在全球超过50多种不同的平台上,你都可以找到这款游戏的身影。



1984 年时,阿列克谢•帕吉特诺夫是莫斯科科学院的一名年轻研究员。那时,由于自动控制部门的工作太无趣,他凭借自己对数学智力游戏的酷爱,开始创造新的电脑游戏。他的灵感来自于棋盘游戏五格拼板,用五个等边方块连成的图形,拼成12个不同的形状,这些方块边挨着边,迂回曲折地交缠在一起,直到他们摞在一起。帕 吉特诺夫说:“看人们花上好几个小时玩五格板游戏,我开始想把它编成虚拟程序,后突然灵机一动,俄罗斯方块的念头便油然而生。”



莫斯科有一定局限性,在那儿没有与计算机类似的行业,软件也不用来出售。“当时,用程序换钱看似奇怪且荒谬。因此,不知何故,人们把俄罗斯方块的程序从我电 脑上拷贝过去,然后用软磁盘传播---它如燎原之火,迅速传开。”帕吉特诺夫说。俄罗斯方块在前苏联各个部门的电脑上相互流传,不久之后,政府发现它已开 始影响工作效率。为了解决这个问题,政府发明了间谍软件,它安装在接通的电脑上,不仅用来破坏俄罗斯方块,而且当软磁盘启动游戏时,它便迅速开启,从而关 闭游戏。这可谓间谍软件的早期形式。





1989 年,罗杰斯先生决定他想要掌上罗斯方块游戏的分销权, 他没联系前苏联任何相关部门,收拾好行李,他跳上了飞机,带着基本的旅游签证, 就降落在共产主义的莫斯科。“这有点疯狂,部分原因是它是天真幼稚,部分是勇气,但也有很多是肾上腺素作怪——我就是想去得到它,”他说。











很多游戏的宗旨大体都是整理消除。斯诺克(snooker)就是典型的例子(对于非英国人来说叫做pool)。第一个人把球打乱后,其他人依照不同规则轮流 将球射入落袋里。俄罗斯方块在这一基本框架中加入了电脑控制的成分——不光是玩家要整理方块,电脑还会不断从上方扔下额外的方块来制造凌乱。游戏看起来就 是整一个漫无目的的过程,完全没有寓教于乐的成分在内,也没有深远的社交或是心理意义,但是我们却意外地为此着迷。




对俄罗斯方块玩家的研究结果显示,人们普遍喜欢通过旋转方块来看它们是否匹配,而不是一边看着方便降落一边思考。当然这两种方法都可行,但在俄罗斯方块的世 界里永远是动作领先——这是吸引人的关键。和生活中不太相同的是,俄罗斯方块将我们处理问题时的所见所想直接联系到了一起,我们能立即对问题采取行动。

益智游戏利用心理达标原理不断挫败我们直至我们满意。俄罗斯方块则更进一步在失败与成功之间创建了持续的链条。正如聪明的寄生虫一般,俄罗斯方块善于利用人 们完成与再使用的心理乐趣。我们一边玩着一边短暂地陶醉于排列方块的乐趣中,哪怕我们人格中理智与成熟的部分明白这基本上是个毫无意义的游戏。但是所有好 玩的游戏差不多都是这样。



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