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Game Developers Choice Awards To Honor Alexey Pajitnov
Bruce Willis
SAN FRANCISCO—Feb. 12, 2007
The Game Developers Choice Awards Advisory Board has named the 2007 special award recipients: Alexey Pajitnov, creator of Tetris, will receive the First Penguin Award for pioneering the casual games market.

The First Penguin Award acknowledges developers who dive head first into unknown territory and pave the way for the rest of the development community. This year’s award will go to Alexey Pajitnov, whose creation of the now-legendary game, Tetris, gave birth to the casual game industry and set the bar which every puzzle game to follow would aim to match.

Alexey Pajitnov
In 1985, while working for the Computer Center of the Moscow Academy of Science, a Soviet government-funded R&D center, Pajitnov developed “a charmingly simple and utterly addictive computer game” as an exercise to test a new computer, the Electronica. He based his game on a popular puzzle called The Pentamino Puzzle whose objective was to fit different geometric-shaped pieces into a box. The game, Tetris, soon came out of the Soviet Union and into worldwide circulation with a historic 1989 licensing agreement that paired the game with the Nintendo Game Boy. Pajitnov has also produced games including Faces, Welltris, Knight Moves, and Hatris. Since then, Pajitnov has helped produce several sequels to Tetris, including Tetris 2 and Super Tetris. He also helped design the puzzles in the Super NES versions of Yoshi’s Cookie and designed the game Pandora’s Box, which incorporates more traditional jig-saw style puzzles. Now a resident of Washington State, Pajitnov joined Microsoft in 1996 as the computer technology giant’s first staff games designer. He has worked for the Microsoft Entertainment Collection Puzzle Pack and MSN Mind Aerobics. Since 2004, he has been part of the Microsoft Zone Group to create games for MSN.

The Game Developers Choice Award ceremony, hosted by Tim Schafer of Double Fine Productions, will take place during CMP Technology’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) on Wednesday, March 7 at 6:30p.m. within the Esplanade Ballroom of the Moscone Center’s South Hall. The ceremony is produced by the GDC and presented by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA).