My cousin James got a GameBoy (this was the GameBoy 1.0, before DS, Micro, Advance or even Color were even a gleam in Miyamoto's eye) for his birthday during one of the big family holidays that were a regular fixture of my summers growing up. I’d never before encountered the hypnotic Russian rhythms or spinning blocks that came together to create the kids crack going by the street-name of Tetris. There were about eight of us children on holiday and from the moment the devilish machine arrived we were all in one of three states: either playing the game, waiting for our turn to play the game or tetchily awaiting the return of which ever one of the adults that had been dispatched to get more batteries so we coould play the game. Even the parent’s weren’t immune from the dot-matrix temptress. The GameBoy went missing one afternoon and while James was looking for his mother to help him search, he found her crouched behind her bedroom cupboard twisting 4-blocks and rotating L-shapes as she tried desperately to smash through ceiling of level 10.
This early addiction led to a misspent youth beating Tetris that, in turn, I blame for my current fascination with packing the dishwasher. I attempt to tessellate pots and plates as best I can; my mind desperately hitting the figurative A button in an attempt to make sure every last dish fits. I now get a twisted release when I set the dishwasher in motion and there’s not a single piece of kitchenware left on the counter or in the sink. But this evening I was beaten. As the house hummed to the gentle noises of the rinse cycle, I walked through the sitting room only to discover a half finished glass of water that had some how avoided being packed safely away and somewhere in the distance I thought I heard 8-bit balalaikas playing a repetitive tune I know better than my own heartbeat.