TETRIS The graphic novel review

t1When Russian mathematician Alexey Pajitnov invented a simple computer game, inspired from a classic board game, few would have thought much of it.Once they played this simple game called TETRIS everything changed and they were addicted. Then came the war for thr rights on PC, Arcade, Console and the like. Problem was it was a Russian state product and the rights were given to everyone and no one. Japan, US, Russia and Europe get involved in the complicated international power play and all that Alexey wants is TETRIS free to all.

t2After finishing this novel I went back to it. Rereading this tale of business, state, cold wars and modern technology I was spellbound. The story has thrusts, twists, turns and good old fashioned buddy friendship. I often believe that the back story of any great success is more interesting than the actual product itself. Take Facebook, The Social Network replayed events in a dynamic and compelling way. It explored not only the product but the relationships. The interactions that made the thing tick. Just like how Box Brown has taken a simple game many (including me) played into the wee hours and build characters, events, tangibly dynamic information into a narrative that is clear. Not only is it clear but it is clever. In truth it is the best graphic novel, novel or box of 2016. I am in awe of its sheer delightful storytelling. This actually is only the start of how good this novel is. It also is a study in great visuals and even greater groundwork.

t3Artwork can often make or break a work. Too visionary and the novel becomes blurred. Too simple and the work becomes dated and dull. TETRIS is clear but visually controlled. Details merge like a video game and make the reader work but also entertained. Sheer information overload is stopped because the narrative and image merge. The use of visual depictions of programming language, game artwork and classic tech is not only a time travel into my youth. It is also a clever handling of the details  of time and tide. This is where Brown has done his research. It is like a documentary film within a modern history, inside a drama that happens also to be a video game. Utterly absorbing, utterly complex and rewarding. This is a novel of states and times that have passed but are as important today as they were yesterday and will be tomorrow. Bravo Box Brown, Bravo…


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