Tetris, one of the most popular video games in the world, has a very disturbing story behind it. ID and Discovery+’s new docuseries, The Tetris Murders, will focus on the gruesome murder of the game’s co-creator.
Arriving December 5 on ID and Discovery+, The Tetris Murders will revisit the puzzling murder of Vladimir Pokhilko, the co-creator of Tetris.
On September 22, 1998, Pokhilko was found dead by a friend in his Palo Alto, California, home after suffering a severe knife wound to the neck.
Pokhilko’s wife, Yelena Fedotova, and 12-year-old son, Peter Pokhilko, were also found dead after being bludgeoned to death with a hammer and repeatedly stabbed.
Speaking on what they described as a “bloody scene,” Palo Alto CSI Tech Investigator Sandra Brown, Sergeant Curtis Chan, Sergeant Scott Wong, and detectives Mike Denson and Jean Bready all revisit the case where the pieces don’t seem to fit.
Initially, Pokhilko and his family’s deaths were called a murder-suicide, with Pohilko leaving a suicide note stating, “I’ve been eaten alive—Vladimir. Just remember that I am exist—The Davil.”
One person, Grigoriy Shapirshteyn, isn’t buying that because he claims his friend “wasn’t a religious man,” and the reference to Satan at the end of the note made no sense.
The Tetris Murders Hints At Foul Play
Brown and her colleagues also found more puzzling clues that questioned the idea it was a murder-suicide.
Per The Daily Beast:
Two different hammers had been used, one for each victim. After Yelena and Peter were fatally clubbed, the killer procured a knife and stabbed both of their corpses exactly 11 times. After that, he went into the bathroom, washed the knife off in the sink, and wiped down the faucets—and the hammers—so they’d have no fingerprints. If Vladimir was the perpetrator, he then wrote the note, burned a bunch of financial and travel-related documents in his backyard barbecue, and killed himself in thoroughly awkward fashion, gashing himself with a blade gripped in his right hand in the right side of his neck, making a four-inch downward cut that was so deep, officers could see the back of his larynx and his spinal cord. Even after doing that, Vladimir held onto the knife, which was found clutched in his hand, boasting only palm (not finger) prints.
Brown, Chan, and Wong are all in the docuseries and believe the murder could have been staged based on the clues they discovered, and the Russian Mafia could be the culprits.
How Tetris Came To Be
Pokhilko, a Soviet immigrant, was a psychologist at a Moscow medical center in the 1980s before turning his attention to computers with the idea he could use computers to aid in his work as a psychologist.
He would then meet Alexey Pajitnov, who took his love for pentominoes, a game where you make pictures using five differently shaped blocks and turning it into the beloved video game Tetris.
Pokhilko was captivated by the game and felt it could help him understand how people’s minds work. He partnered with Pajitnov to work on the game for a year, and the two even formed the company AnimaTek.
As for Tetris, neither Pokhilko nor Pajitnov were able to benefit financially from the game’s popularity after it was licensed to Nintendo because the Soviet Union owned all IPs made by its citizens.
Pajitnov would eventually get the rights to his game and for the Tetris company, and Pokhilko would concentrate AnimaTek.
Like anything involving Russia, and the involvement of Vladimir Putin, who was the FSB chief at the time, everything looks suspicious.
The Tetris Murders premieres on Monday, December 5 at 9/8c on ID and streaming on Discovery+. Peep the trailer below.
Photo: Boston Globe / Getty