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The Hidden Perils Of Dropping Blocks This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Recently, many concerns have been raised about Americans' inferiority to the Japanese, and about our country's dependence on theirs. While the Japanese are slowly dominating our commercial market, they are also gaining control over our minds. What's worse is that their insidious plot operates through a seemingly harmless, fun children's game - Tetris. The game is fun ,but the results are terrifying.

You may be laughing at the suggestion that a video game could be dangerous. If you have Tetris, then it is possible that you are denying a problem within your own home. Perhaps you, yourself, are an addict, but think you have control. Or, maybe you have never observed Tetris in action. (For those of you who have not, the game involves dropping blocks of different shapes in order to create straight rows. Oh, how innocent it sounds.) But while Americans are playing with blocks, Japanese children are on computers designing cars, TVs, nuclear reactors, and robots that will take the place of U.S. politicians when Japan takes over the world.

I have witnessed the effects of the game on family and friends. My home has housed one of those hazardous machines, "Gameboy," for less than a month, but our lives will never be the same. Several days before Christmas, my mother and I bought the toy with good intentions. We thought my father would enjoy a diversion from the stresses of modern life, the anxiety of work, the boredom of waiting in the car while we hit the malls on weekends. And we figured that having his own Gameboy would prevent him from stealing my cousin's at family gatherings.

Perhaps we should have known better. The way a grown man would grab a little electronic box from an 8-year-old child, and then hibernate in a corner, dropping blocks, might have given us a clue. But we bought our own and we have been paying the consequences. Now my father will postpone urgent deadlines at work in order to master Level Eight.

And, my father is not alone. I must make a confession. Not only am I an exposer of the dangers of Tetris; I am also a victim. But as they say, realization of a problem is the first step to recovery. I now admit my addiction and seek help.

Upon hearing about the magnitude of "Tetris dependence," I decided to take a stand. Now, on request, my mother hides the game from me. She has given me time to write this article to inform the public. Please heed my warning and tell your friends. You may be saving yourself from mind decay, or saving a classmate from replacement by a robot.

The main danger of the game seems to be one of electronic control. While Tetris came out fairly recently, the underlying problem is far from new. For years, many adults have warned us that cable TV, music videos, and non-G-rated movies transform otherwise innocent children into illiterate morons, drug addicts, and murderers. Now, however, no one is safe. Even full-grown, mature, and educated individuals can become hopeless addicts. In fact, Tetris seems to target fairly intelligent people who would not develop otherwise destructive habits. The Japanese, of course, hope that it affects those who would otherwise become productive members of society.

So what can the average person do to free him or herself? Cold turkey, as I am trying, is an option for those with clever parents. (My mother has improved - the first two times I found Gameboy within minutes.) Another alternative would be weaning gradually. Involvement in other activities facilitates the return to healthy living. Those which involve dropping objects into slots, (i.e. basketball, golf, mail delivery, etc.), provide some relief to Tetris withdrawal. Whatever you do, take this problem seriously, because it is our future and the fu t...what's that? I hear electronic music coming from upstairs. It's my father! He found it! Where is he? It's my turn .... n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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