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《俄罗斯方块》诞生30周年编辑本段回目录

周六的时候,费城人迎来了世界上最大的《俄罗斯方块》游戏。它呈现在一栋29层楼的建筑中,以此庆祝费城科技周。30多年前将Alexey Pajitnov的游戏带到西方的Henk Rogers见证了这一盛举。

这一活动只是今年为庆祝《俄罗斯方块》(游戏邦注:Pajitnov于1984年在前苏联所创造的)诞生30周年的多个庆典之一。Rogers长途跋涉到了莫斯科与Pajitnov见面,并获得了在世界上的其它地方发行这款益智游戏的权利。1989年,Rogers将游戏授权给了任天堂,并售出了超过3500万份游戏。

但事实证明,手机才是《俄罗斯方块》的最大平台,直至今日玩家在该平台上共下载了4.25亿次游戏。

上周Gamebeat有幸能够对Rogers进行采访。以下便是这次访问的内容。

tetris(from gpgr.net)

tetris(from gpgr.net)

GameBeat:当你在听说在建筑上安装游戏时,你有什么想法?

Henk Rogers:这真的很棒。在过去7年里我总是会在Burning Man(游戏邦注:一个名为“Black Rock City,LLC”的组织发起的反传统狂欢节,为期八天)玩大型《俄罗斯方块》。而这次的活动比之前的更加巨大。

GamesBeat:如果存在某种方式能够从中赚钱的话就更好了,但现在这似乎只是纯粹的展览。

Rogers:PR关系到赚钱的问题。

GamesBeat:没错。你最近在忙些什么?你是否对《俄罗斯方块》做出了更新,并且过去几年里你们取得了怎样的发展?

Rogers:我们共获得了4.25亿次的付费手机下载。这只是手机平台上的成绩。在最初的Game Boy上我们拥有3500万的销量。而作为盒装产品,我们共卖出了7000万份。

GamesBeat:似乎现在这款游戏普遍出现于智能手机上?

Rogers:当手机能够用于玩游戏时,它就开始在这个平台上扩展。最初是在日本。然后扩散到美国,韩国等。上面的数值是过去14多年里所累计下来的总数值。

GamesBeat:我能想象这一快速发展。现在人们是否仍然想要在智能手机和平板电脑上玩这款游戏?

Rogers:是的。我们必须改变游戏。最初的游戏是给予键盘进行控制,而现在它变成了触屏游戏。这从根本上改变了某些内容。但却仍然有效地运行这。

GamesBeat:你们是否仍然基于付费下载在出售这款游戏?或者你们是否转向了免费模式?

Rogers:是的,我们跳出了这一步。4.25亿并不包含免费模式。现在我们拥有《俄罗斯方块闪电战》。艺电拥有手机版权并决定创造一个与《宝石迷阵闪电战》(一款免费且基于道具的游戏)相似的产品。这是在4.25亿付费下载之外的另外一个层面。

GamesBeat:所以《俄罗斯方块》从根本上来看还是保持着不变。为什么你会这么想呢?

Rogers:我认为《俄罗斯方块》将触及人们的一个基本的快乐中枢。游戏非常随意。同样的情况永远都不可能出现第二次。人们喜欢能够做决定而不是根据机械记忆去做某事。

GamesBeat:这似乎在宣告着8位体图像,即早前任天堂风格的外观的东山再起。

Rogers:是的,可能是这样。这里存在着许多怀旧因子,对于年轻一代来说,这是他们从未看过的内容。他们一直都在玩那些高分辨率的3D射击游戏,并且他们所接触的风格都具有较大的杀伤力。如果你只是单纯地想玩游戏的话,这些图像将更有帮助。

GamesBeat:现在人们是如何了解到一款游戏?只是通过口口相传吗?

Rogers:我不认为是口口相传。应该说是手头上的宣传。也就是,人们的视线会越过你的肩膀并说道:“你在做什么?”你会将手机递给对方并让他们试试看。然后他们便会想要在自己的手机上安装同样的游戏。这并不是由某些人亲自来描述一款游戏。这是某些人在玩游戏而其他人在旁边看他玩游戏。这是一个非常有趣的原则。这是一种手头上的宣传。

GamesBeat:游戏是否发生了很大的改变?多人游戏版本是否流行起来了?

Rogers:我们已经尝试了任何可能的方向,但不管什么时候我们创造了一个新的版本,我们总是会回到最基本的《俄罗斯方面》公式中。基本的《俄罗斯方块》已经多次得到证实。旋转变得更加清楚。按键按压也更加标准化。此外我们也调整了早前的一些内容。但是我们并未修改那些未被损坏的内容。

GamesBeat:对于手机游戏产业当前的发展你了解多少?你是否会阅读所有的头条新闻?

Rogers:我吗?不会。去年12月我有点淡离这些业务,可以说我已经很久不去关注产业动态了。在我的生活中还有很多事要做。我是一个名为Blue Planet Foundation的组织的一员。我还是PISCES(Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems)组织的主席。我们正致力于将太空探索业务带向夏威夷。我们拥有一个团队成员在实践居住于火星的可能性。

GamesBeat:这些项目的进展如何?

Rogers:它们都进展顺利。Blue Planet已经运行8年了。我们已经通过了各种条例。我们减少了用于发电的石油数量。

GamesBeat:我很好奇你对于现代游戏产业以及那些越来越受欢迎的内容,如《Clash of Clans》或者《愤怒的小鸟》的看法。

Rogers:我不是很能理解免费模式。在这方面我有点保守了。以前你可以花费好几百万美元区创造一个优秀的产品,然后你将知道能够出售一定数量的这些产品。而今天,你必须先创造游戏然后希望自己能够留住那些愿意花钱的少部分玩家。你不得不为了跟他们要钱而中断他们的游戏体验,我认为这么做会破坏整体游戏体验。

GamesBeat:最近有个数据表示,如今93%的游戏收益是来自免费模式。

Rogers:这也是为何现在是由我的女儿在运营公司而不是我的主要原因。

GamesBeat:但似乎人们也有可能会对此感到厌倦。

Rogers:他们会的。就像我今天与我的司机聊天时,他就表示不能理解花钱去玩《俄罗斯方块》的行为。花少量钱去玩游戏有什么问题?人们不会愿意花一杯咖啡的钱于一款会持续数周的游戏。所有的价值主张都被搞砸了。人们只会期待着不劳而获。

GamesBeat:我一直觉得购买任天堂的卡盘比投钱到街机上好多了。

Rogers:这是取决于你从游戏中得到多少。当然,我在《太空入侵者》和《小蜜蜂》上花了很多钱。但很快我便决定不再这么做。

GamesBeat:你认为任天堂现在是处于什么位置中,并且它是基于何种形态?你认为他们需要做些什么?

Rogers:这很有趣,最近我在日本遇见了宫本茂先生。虽然我很不想说,但是,我的确不清楚任天堂现在所处的境况。我只是想见见宫本茂。似乎他们需要了解其余的产业正在做些什么。他们总是会清楚地勾画出发展道路。山内溥已经不再参与这些规划。

很高兴能够看到他们再次获得了一些势头。他们的确有钱。我想他们 比其它公司更了解年轻人的市场。这始终都是一个巨大的市场。我的孙女才5岁,但却已经拥有了自己的任天堂Wii。她真的很喜欢它。

GamesBeat:他们只是需要在机子上添加更多《俄罗斯方块》,对吧?

Rogers:不管在哪里,只要有个屏幕,键盘或触屏,《俄罗斯方块》便可以玩起来。我们正尝试着保证这一点。

GamesBeat:Alexey是否和你一起过来了?

Rogers:不,他现在在莫斯科,所以不像我这么方便。因为日本离夏威夷不是特别远。

GamesBeat:你是否想要传达给那些来到费城的人们一些特别的信息?

Rogers:《俄罗斯方块》将扎根于此。欢迎来到《俄罗斯方块》诞生30周年的纪念庆典。我们将会致力于寻找更多新产品。我们也会在E3中进行庆祝。到时候Alexey也会出现。(本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,作者:Dean Takahashi)

‘Mr. Tetris’ explains why the puzzle game is still popular after three decades (interview)

Dean Takahashi

Philadelphians were treated Saturday to the biggest game of Tetris the world has ever seen. It was played on two sides of a 29-story building in honor of Philly Tech Week. Henk Rogers, who brought Alexey Pajitnov’s game to the West more than three decades ago, was on hand to witness the spectacle.

Above: Henk Rogers and Frank Lee play a giant Tetris game.

The event was one of a number of celebrations happening this year in honor of the 30th anniversary of Tetris, which Pajitnov created in the former Soviet Union in 1984. Rogers made the trek to Moscow to meet Pajitnov and get the rights to publish the puzzler in the rest of the world. Rogers licensed the game to Nintendo, and by 1989, people had bought more than 35 million copies.

But mobile has turned out to Tetris’s biggest platform of all, with more than 425 million paid downloads to date.

We caught up with Rogers for an interview last week. Here’s an edited transcript of our interview.

GamesBeat: What did you think about that building installation when you heard of that?

Henk Rogers: It’s great. I’ve been playing around with the giant Tetris at Burning Man for the last seven years. This is going to be humongous, an order of magnitude bigger.

GamesBeat: It’d be nice if there were a way to make some money off that, but for now it seems like a neat exhibition.

Rogers: Well, PR is money.

GamesBeat: True. What have you been up to lately? Do you have any updates on Tetris and the kind of reach it’s found over the years?

Rogers: We have 425 million total paid mobile downloads. That’s all just on mobile. We had 35 million on the original Game Boy. Boxed products, I think altogether we sold something like 70 million.

GamesBeat: How much of that is really recent? It sounds like a lot of it would be on smartphones?

Rogers: It’s really spread over the whole period where phones have become able to play games. That first happened in Japan. Then it sprang up in the U.S. and Korea and other places. That’s a total number over the last 14 years or so.

GamesBeat: I’d imagine that’s accelerated, though. Do people still want to play it on smartphones and tablets?

Above: “Mr. Tetris” Henk Rogers.

Rogers: Yeah. We’ve had to change the game. The original game was controlled with a keyboard, and now it’s a touchscreen game. That fundamentally changes some things. But it’s still doing fine.

GamesBeat: Do you still only sell it as a premium download, or have you made the leap to free-to-play in any way?

Rogers: Yeah, we have made that jump. That 425 million number doesn’t count free-to-play. We have Tetris Blitz now. Electronic Arts secured the mobile rights and decided to do a product that’s similar to their Bejeweled Blitz, a free, item-based game. That’s another level on top of the 425 million paid downloads.

GamesBeat: So Tetris is still holding its own, basically. Why do you think that is?

Rogers: Tetris reaches a basic pleasure center that people have, I think. It lets you create order out of chaos. The game is very random. The same thing never quite happens twice, so your brain has to be making decisions all the time. People like being able to make decisions instead of just doing things according to rote memory.

GamesBeat: It seems like there’s been a big comeback for 8-bit graphics, the old Nintendo-style look.

Rogers: Yeah, that’s possible. There’s a bit of nostalgia out there, and for the younger generation, it’s something that they haven’t seen. They play all these high-res 3D shoot-‘em-ups, and the style there is kind of overkill. If you just want to play the game, these graphics don’t get in the way.

GamesBeat: How do people hear about the game these days? Is it just word of mouth?

Rogers: I wouldn’t say word of mouth. It’s word of hand. What happens is, someone looks over your shoulder and says, “What are you doing?” And you pass the phone over and give them a shot at it. Then they want it on their phone. It’s never just somebody describing the game. It’s always somebody playing the game and someone else watching them. It’s a very interesting principle, this word of hand.

GamesBeat: Has the game changed much? Have the multiplayer versions caught on?

Rogers: We’ve gone in every possible direction, but whenever we make a new version, we always come back to the basic Tetris formula. The basic Tetris has been proved over time. The rotations have become a little more clear. The button presses have become more standardized. We’ve standardized a number of things like that compared to the old days. But we’re not fixing what isn’t broken.

GamesBeat: How much are you keeping up with what goes on in the mobile game industry? Do you read all the headlines?

Rogers: Me? No. I kind of retired from the business last December, and I’d already had one foot in the grave for a long time. I have a lot of other missions in life that I’m working on. I’m part of an organization called the Blue Planet Foundation. I’m the chairman of an organization called PISCES – Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems. We’re working to bring the space exploration business to Hawaii. We have a group of members practicing for the possibility of living on Mars.

GamesBeat: How are those projects progressing?

Rogers: Oh, they’re doing great. At Blue Planet, that’s been around for eight years now. We’ve passed all kinds of legislation. We’ve reduced the amount of oil that’s being imported for electricity.

GamesBeat: I’m curious about what you think about the modern game industry and the things that are becoming popular these days, like Clash of Clans or Angry Birds.

Rogers: I have a hard time with the freemium model. I’m sort of old-school that way. You could spend a couple of million dollars and build a great product in the old days, and then you’d know that a certain number of them would be sold. Nowadays, you have to build the game and then hope you can keep nickel-and-dime-ing people afterward. You have to interrupt the experience asking for money, and I think it takes away from the game.

GamesBeat: A statistic out there says something like 93 percent of revenue is coming from free-to-play now.

Rogers: Which is why my daughter is running the company and not me.

GamesBeat: But it also seems like something people might be getting a little tired of.

Rogers: They could be. I hope so. I was talking to my driver today, and he couldn’t get around the idea of having to pay to play Tetris. What’s wrong with paying a little money? People won’t spend the amount of money they’d spend on a cup of coffee for a game that could last them weeks. The value proposition’s gotten all screwed up. People expect something for nothing.

GamesBeat: I always felt like buying the Nintendo cartridge was better than putting quarters into the arcade machine.

Rogers: It depends on how much you can get out of the game, I guess. Certainly, I wasted a huge amount of money on Space Invaders and Galaxian. Soon enough I decided I wasn’t going to do that anymore.

GamesBeat: What do you think about where Nintendo is right now and what kind of shape it’s in? What do you think they need to do?

Rogers: It’s funny, I was in Japan recently and I met Mr. Miyamoto. I hate to say it, though, but I didn’t really know what the situation with Nintendo was like. I just wanted to see Miyamoto. It seems like they need to come around to what the rest of the industry’s doing. They’ve always plotted their own course. Yamauchi’s no longer around to plot that course.

It would be nice to see them gain some momentum again. They certainly have the money. I think they know the younger market better than a lot of other companies do. That’s always going to be a market. My granddaughter’s five years old, and she’s getting to the age where she has a Nintendo Wii. She loves it.

GamesBeat: They just need more Tetris on their machines, right?

Rogers: Wherever there’s a screen and a keyboard or a touchpad, Tetris can go there. We’re going to try to make sure of that.

GamesBeat: Did Alexey also make it out there with you?

Rogers: No, he couldn’t make it. He’s in Moscow right now, so it’s more difficult for him to get there than me. Japan’s not a very long way from Hawaii.

GamesBeat: Is there any particular message you’re going to pass along to the crowd out there in Philadelphia?

Rogers: Yeah — Tetris is here to stay. Welcome to the 30th anniversary of Tetris. We’ll be looking for a number of new products. We’ll be celebrating at E3. Alexey is going to be there, too.(source:venturebeat)


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