When Mario Broke Through the Iron Curtain

When Nintendo obtained the license for Tetris, things got…aggressive.

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Mario has a big announcement: He’s broken through the Iron Curtain!

In this rare flyer from 1989, Nintendo is flexing their muscle about getting the exclusive rights to publish Tetris on home video game platforms in North America. There are several great documentaries about Tetris’ licensing story – our recommendation is BBC’s From Russia With Love – but the short version relevant here is that Nintendo was able to secure the rights that Atari felt that they had.

The underlined and italicized section, “No other company in the world is now, nor has ever been, licensed to market the Tetris home video game title,” is a very clear signal and, perhaps, middle finger to Atari, which had recently defected from Nintendo’s licensee program to market “unlicensed” cartridges of their own.

We also love the painting of Mario meeting with a representative of the Soviet Union. It’s such a great time capsule of this exact moment in world history and how it applied to pop culture. We can’t imagine today’s Mario meeting with… well, any world leader!

GOG Bundle Now Available!

GOG, along with a group of game developer friends, has put together a game history bundle for our benefit!

We’ve personally curated a selection of three historically important and interesting titles: The Last Express by Jordan Mechner and Smoking Car Productions, The Manhole by Cyan, and Wasteland by InXile (or originally, Interplay).

Not only have these three publishers agreed to donate all profits to us, so has GOG! If you’re interested, the bundle is available now through December 20th.

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If you’re a patron, then John Romero is about to make you his guest…at the Daikatana launch party!