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10 Things You Didn't Know About Tetris

Thursday 31st March

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Tetris, Sky Gamestar, Sky's interactive TV games channel, is launching Britain's first national Tetris league table - The Tetris Liveplay Championship. The Championship starts today (Thursday 31st March) and enables viewers in Sky households throughout the UK and Ireland to play head-to-head in real-time. The person with the highest ranking after two weeks will be crowned the UK King or Queen of Tetris and win one thousand pounds.

*How does The Tetris Liveplay Championship work?

Sky viewers don't need a games console to enjoy Tetris Liveplay, just their TV remote control. Players have to remove two or more lines at the same time to send across Garbage to their opponent. The more lines they remove, the more Garbage they send to their opponent.

Garbage appears at the bottom of the playfield, and moves the other blocks up. Players have to be extra vigilant, to not only pepper their opponent with Garbage, by removing lots of lines, but also to make sure they deal with any Garbage they are sent.

Players can keep an eye on how their opponent is doing by watching their playfield at the bottom right of the screen.

Every player gets a Tetris League ranking. Every game played goes contributes towards the ranking. The more the player scores, the higher the ranking.

If a player takes on someone with a higher ranking and wins, they get more points for beating them!

The Championship starts on Thursday 31st March at 11am and finishes on Wednesday 13th April. The winner will be the person with the highest ranking on 13th April, they will receive a one thousand pound cash prize.

To access Sky Gamestar, viewers press the 'Interactive' button on the Sky remote followed by Sky Gamestar.

To mark the occasion Sky Gamestar has pulled together a list of '10 Things You Didn't Know About Tetris':

1. Tetris is based on an ancient Roman puzzle called Pentamino

2. Over 86 million units have been sold worldwide to date, eclipsing sales of Michael Jackson's Thriller album (best selling album of all time at approximately 56 million copies)

3. The Tetris logo was designed by legendary record sleeve artist Roger Dean, who created famous album covers for rock giants Yes in the 1970s

4. The game inspired a terrible single in 1992 by Dr Spin, featuring samples of music composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber

5. In September 2002, Faiz Chopdat, 23, of Blackburn, was jailed for four months after refusing to turn off his mobile on a flight from Egypt to Manchester. The crew asked him three times to switch off the phone, which was interfering with the plane's communications system, but each time Chopdat turned it on again. He was playing Tetris.

6. The world's smallest game of Tetris took place under an electron microscope using 42 glass 'microspheres' at the Department of Physics of Complex Systems in Amsterdam

7. Brown University in Rhode Island, US, was turned into the biggest game of Tetris in 2000, when the windows of the 14-storey building lit up as the shapes 'fell'. It was visible for miles.

8. Yuri Yevushenko, director of the Russian Academy in the 1980s, claims Tetris is so successful because "unlike American games it is not about murder, shooting or chasing; it is about building and order."

9. In a recent US study at the Harvard Medical School's department of psychiatry, 27 Tetris players spent seven hours a day, for three days, playing the game. Many had 'Tetris dreams'.

10. There is an online Church of Tetris website, which attracted hundreds of visitors per week

For more information please contact:

Tara Hicks

020 7705 3416

Heidi Bruckland

020 7705 3275

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