Tetris Ending Explained – how does Henk acquire Tetris handheld rights for Nintendo?

By Marc Miller
Published: March 31, 2023 (Last updated: March 20, 2024)

We discuss the ending of the 2023 Apple TV+ film Tetris which will contain spoilers.

Henk Rogers owns Bullet-Proof Software, a gaming company based in Tokyo. The whimsical dreamer stumbles across a Russian computer game called Tetris. Henk immediately asks for a loan to acquire distribution rights in Japan.

The problem is the genius behind the game, Alexey Pajitnov, had a stroke of genius on government property. One of the most successful inventions in video game history was created without state-of-the-art software.

READ: Tetris Review

He even made the famous shape by bunching parentheses together.

Tetris Ending Explained

How much money does Henk have to borrow to make Tetris for Nintendo?

According to the movie, Henk borrowed three million dollars from the bank and used his house as collateral. Henk promised Nintendo he would make all the games himself. He needs two million dollars for the cartridges to put in Nintendo consoles. Henk needs an extra million to build arcade games.

This is important because the arcade is a cash business that returns money to the bank. The loan is approved, and Henk acquires the rights to distribute Tetris in Japan with Mirrorsoft through personal computers, video game systems, and arcade games.

How does Henk lose arcade distribution rights to Sega in Japan?

Henk acquired the rights to distribution of the game, but a company called Mirrorsoft sold arcade rights to Sega to produce Tetris arcade games in Japan. Kevin, the CEO of Mirrorsoft, is the son of Robert Maxwell, the company’s president.

Kevin oversees distribution. When Henk tells Kevin he made a deal with his guy, the yuppy laughs it off and says he doesn’t dangle in specifics. This means Henk will not be able to stay afloat without the cash injection arcade games would have provided. So, Henk asks Nintendo for an advance on his Tetris residuals.

How does Henk become involved with Gameboy?

It isn’t clear if Hank was hired or assigned a paid role to help acquire the handheld video game rights for Tetris for Nintendo’s new invention: Gameboy. Henk approaches Mirrorsoft and Andromede Software owner Robert Stein about acquiring the handheld rights.

All three look at each other. It is clear they don’t have it and never considered it. However, they claim to have it.

Henk wants to make them a very attractive offer, and they say they will consider it (without having heard it, mind you). Kevin dismisses Henk and then tells Stein to return to Russia to execute contracts for worldwide rights to distribute Tetris.

This now includes a handheld version as well. Henk tries to approach Stein separately to pay him a cool 25,000 dollars. However, Stein turns around and tries to sell the rights to Atari for $100,000.

READ: Where is Henk Rogers’ wife today? Explained

Henk then flies to Russia himself to negotiate the rights of handheld Tetris. Kevin gets wind of Stein selling handheld rights to Atari, so he fires Stein. All three are headed to Russia for the same reason: to negotiate with ELORG — a Russian government agency that owns the rights to Tetris.

Stein is counting on his previous contracts. Mirrorsoft depends on Robert Maxwell’s personal relationship with President Gorbachev and bribing a high-ranking KGB official. Henk is counting on, well, his sparkling personality.

How does Henk acquire Tetris handheld rights for Nintendo?

Henk acquires handheld rights to Tetris by offering a better deal to Nikolai Belikov, an ELORG official in charge of the negotiation. Even though Mirrorsoft offered a million dollars to the KGB official Trifonov, they soon found out that Robert Maxwell had run out of money.

This allows Nikolai to sign the deal with Nintendo, which offers Russia more money and perks than the other software companies. However, Maxwell is not done and promises Trifonov 50% of Tetris’ profits if he catches Henk before he gets to the airport.

However, thanks to Alexey, Henk, and the Nintendo officials, get to the airport on time. They escape when Trifonov heads to the wrong gate. Tetris is a success and sends Alexey tickets for his entire family to move to the United States. Henk and his family then meet the Pajitnov family at the airport.

What did you think of the ending of the 2023 Apple TV + film Tetris? Comment below.

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