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Rogers: Can Tetris Lead To World 'Piece'?

Henk Rogers licensed Tetris out of Russia, but he has more worldchanging plans for the franchise, as he tells Gamasutra that "we're all one people", and Tetris F
Henk Rogers is the man who licensed Alexey Pajitnov's Tetris. Much more than just a savvy games industry figure, Rogers has big, bold ideas for the human race -- and Tetris. Rogers wants to help cease dependence on fossil fuel; to make a "backup" of life on earth; to figure out how the universe ends. He wants to end war. His plans for Tetris embody many of his incredibly lofty goals. Conflicting peoples have found common ground in the past, said Rogers, who heads up Tetris Company, Blue Planet Software, and Tetris Online. "Look at Japan," he tells Gamasutra as part of a new feature interview. "It used to be a little country that used to fight each other, until they said, 'Wait a minute. We're actually one people.'" "Someday, all people the world are going to wake up and say, 'Hey, we're all one people.' We're doing something with Tetris that hopefully helps us move in that direction," he said. "I have a product in development now called Tetris Friends, and Tetris Friends will allow you to play with people in any other country. It's asynchronous, so you don't have to stay awake in the middle of the night to play somebody on the other side." Tetris Friends, currently in beta, will utilize a handicapping system in order to get players of different skills to play with one another. By doing this, the game lifts barriers between people -- the ultimate goal of the game is to connect players, to make them "friends." A translation system that Rogers' and his team is working on would even eliminate the language barrier. Rogers said, "The idea is that we can find you a friend -- if you're a serious player, it's a good serious player to play with. Or, if you're into astronomy, then you could find someone who's into astronomy. Whatever it is that you're into, we'll find you friends that are into things that you're interested in." He continued, "…You might end up having friends on the other side of some conflict, for example. So hopefully, when conflict starts to happen, we start to connect people on both sides of the conflict, and people start talking to each other, and that's the first step towards conflict resolution. Because right now, they're just not talking, and they're just shooting," Rogers said. "If we can get that happening, I think we will reduce the tensions in the world." For more on Rogers' thoughts on preserving the human race, terraforming Mars, and the fascinating story behind the past and future of Tetris, you can read the full Gamasutra feature now (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).

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