Every other week, Bonnie Ruberg contributes Playing Dirty, a column on sex and gender in video games:
Watching Alexey Pajitnov receive the First Penquin award at this year's Game Developer's Choice Awards, it occurred to me I'd never really thought about the face behind Tetris. Sure, I'd heard Pajitnov's name plenty of times, but the man himself, and that lovable, Santa-bought-hair-dye beard, those were off the radar. Who knows what I expected of the infamous Russian: someone stiffer, more stand-off ish, a gaming visage for the Cold War itself. Not that Tetris has much to do with politics. In fact, for me, the game has always represented something totally different. I associate Tetris with sex.
At first, the idea sounds absurd. Colored blocks remind you of sex? Deprived gamer alert! But think about it: the point of Tetris is to make things fit together. Blocks float down to fit in the spaces left open by other blocks. When things fit together right, they make a solid line, a happy, unified whole. When they don't fit right, blocks leave ugly, open patches, the gaping black bane of Tetris existence. To win the game, you need to make sure every block finds its hole.