13 Inventors Foiled By Their Own Inventions

Vladimir Pokhilko

Vladimir Pokhilko is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list 13 Inventors Foiled By Their Own Inventions

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He helped develop Tetris


Vladimir Pokhilko was a Russian entrepreneur and academic. He and friend Alexey Pajitnov, a computer programmer, started a series of businesses together, including the gaming and 3D software technology company AnimaTek. (One of AnimaTek’s most popular products was El-Fish, a MS-DOS fish tank simulator that was stored on five separate diskettes. Because computers in the ’80s were super-awesome.


Pajitnov is typically credited with creating the iconic video game Tetris. However, Pokhilko was an important early supporter and collaborator, and performed influential experiments using the game as part of a clinical psychology program.

In other words, Pajitkov may have been the square pieces and the longish ones that bend at the ends, but Pokhilko was the 4-block tall pieces that you always end up needing to get a Tetris. You get what I’m saying.


Neither Pajitkov nor Pokhilko earned royalties from the massive worldwide success of Tetris, as the Soviet government had forced them to sign over the rights to the game in 1986, before it had been published. Pokhilko later admitted that they feared for their lives if they refused to give up their ownership of the game.

Then in September of 1998, with AnimaTek facing a grim financial future, and his anger over not being included in a recent Tetris anniversary edition payday boiling over, Pokhilko did the unthinkable. He murdered his wife and 12-year-old son, and then killed himself, in his Palo Alto, Calfornia, home.

Pokhilko left a bizarre “suicide note” that said the following: “I’ve been eaten alive. Vladimir. Just remember that I am exist. The davil” It doesn’t make any more sense in Russian.