Tetris for the IBM PC

Well for some reason I was interested in Tetris (Тетрис), and wanted to find an early version.  Looking around I did manage to find some background by Vadim Gerasimov, on the whole origin of Tetris.  What I never realized is that the first version was written for a Soviet PDP-11 clone, then ported to the IBM PC using Turbo Pascal! Or that it was all done in text mode!  The thought at the time is that every PC could run 40 colum mode, and thus would run Tetris.

Along the way I did manage to find some other early Russian artifacts for the IBM PC, namely MS-DOS 4.01 which not only has its own site, but has an excellent view into the history of localizing MS-DOS, and what the culture was like at the time.  There is even a promo video in Russian of course..

And I did come across a ‘Перевод’ of Windows 2.1 done in 1990, but no luck on Windows 3.0 ..  I wonder if they ever had OS/2 1.x ..?  Which speaking of non english versions of OS/2 1.x seem non existent, but I did find reference to there being a release in Japan, but naturally not even a screen shot.. I did find one rather harsh review of Windows/286 2.1 (Pусский), but seeing as far as I can tell there was no Excel 2 or Word 1 for Windows in Russian it would have been pointless running it back then.. Unless you had the 386 version!

So I figured, I’d mash in as much of the Russian bits into Windows/386, add in Tetris, and include some Amiga MOD files for the music (yes, besides being text based, there was *NO* music in the original tetris!  The Adlib! didn’t exist back then).  I’ve used the excellent 8bitboy to play the music.. You can mute if if you so wish, or skip around to various tracks…

Tetris on Windows/386

So while not all that ‘authentic’ it’s close enough I think…


7 thoughts on “Tetris for the IBM PC

  1. In the late eighties I got a copy of the Russian Tetris which I ran on my Taiwan AT clone, under MS-DOS. It’s the most addicting thing I’ve ever touched, I’ve not seen anything like it before or since, not even close. Including any other Tetris clones (I kind of like the one hidden inside XEmacs though).

    Anyway: I found myself unable to do anything else, not even sleep, so at one point I simply had to stop and I forced myself to delete the version on the harddisk, and every copy on every floppy. That was the only way. I knew that if I left behind any possibility of reinstalling it, I would. So I made sure that I couldn’t.

    This being during the Cold War I figured the game was some kind of Russian trick weapon to tie up every computer user in the West.


    • I remember in college reading about this “tetris for terminals” thing so I downloaded the source, brought it in to our glorious RS/6000 and found out XLC was too lame to compile it. So I did what any other sensible person would do, and I built a GCC cross compiler from Linux, and bootstrapped and built out a copy at home. I remember being all happy and dialing up to the RS/6000 to upload my binary, and taking the bus to school so I would get there and it should be uploaded (I took a copy on floppy too, I wasn’t that crazy!) And sure enough when I got there my upload had worked (2400 baud!) and I could finally sit in the back of the lab happily playing tetris…

      I do remember using screen like a ‘boss key’ thing but eventually I got busted playing tetris… I don’t think they ever appreciated how much work it was to get it running …. But yeah productivity greatly suffered… Then this thing called doom arrived..

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