You are surely aware that the man most credited with the birth of Tetris was bearded Russian darling Alexey Pajitnov (who had some help from Dmitry Pavlovsky and Vadim Gerasimov, neither of whom had beards).
Following its creation, Tetris became mired in a swamp of contractual issues, format spaghetti and multiple versions (by the end of the decade, half a dozen different companies claimed rights over it). Somehow, it still managed to land on a whole bunch of systems, including the Amiga, Atari ST and NES - though it's fair to argue that it resisted becoming a cultural phenomenon for several stubborn years.
It was only following complex negotiations between Nintendo and - not a joke - Pajitnov, Robert "Disgraced Yachtsman" Maxwell's Mirrorsoft, and the Russian government that it transcended its tumultuous origins to become a bona-fide, epoch-defining, classic.
Tetris came out for Nintendo's Game Boy a couple of months after release, but in the rest of the world, it was bundled with Nintendo's dinky hardware, and its place in gaming history was, at last, secure. To wit: it became one of the biggest video games of all time, and ensured that the Game Boy was the handheld console of choice, farting all over the face of Atari's Lynx and Sega's Game Gear.
But what happened next? How does a kindly-faced bearded fellow, who looks like a Lord of the Rings character, follow-up such a colossal hit?
Here's how: by burrowing a big cranny into the earth using nothing but his own mouth, teeth and lips (with some games which didn't do nearly as well, and were mostly a huge disappointment)!
It wasn't "beard" (bad), but the four-sided well departed from the purity and simplicity of its predecessor, making it the sort of game best enjoyed by people with upwards of five brains.
Oddly, certain versions of Welltris - including the arcade edition - appeared to feature a cartoon representation of Pajitnov in a lab coat. This was the first - but not the last - in-game recreation of Pajitnov's famous facial hair!
This time, face parts would descend from the top of the screen, and the aim was to align them to construct a complete face; similar to that kid's game where players draw different bits of a person before folding the paper and passing it on, or like something Mr Frankenstein would do.
What is remarkable is how few of the faces in Faces... Tris III featured beards. Given that Pajitnov is as well known for his beard as he is Tetris, this can only be seen as a stunningly wasted opportunity.
Helping it to stand out from the pack, some versions of Hatris also featured a cartoon of Pajitnov's face - replete with his pleasing beard and "harris"!
In this, players controlled the knight piece, as it was dropped it into a series of chess-like boards, where it could only move in the same L-shaped way it did in chess. The aim? Pick up coins and power-ups while avoiding perils such as monsters and lava pits.
It showed Pajitnov experimenting with more arcade-like elements, though, sadly, it was no classic - its steep difficulty curve discouraging players familiar with the more forgiving "Tetty" (Tetris).
Yes: that does sound rather euphemistic, but it's probably for the best if you don't spend too long thinking about it.
Clearly, this was a labour of love for the bearded Pajitnov, and more an exercise in what he wanted from a game than something anybody else would ever want to play.
What an "el fish" (selfish) beardsman!
The first was a sort of on-rails flying level, and the remainder a more traditional first-person shoot 'em up with beard-stroking puzzle elements. It was all but ignored upon its 1995 release, despite being released for both the PC and PlayStation.
Thankfully, while Pajitnov was experimenting with different genres during this period, there remained one constant for fans of the Russian game designer; his beautiful, bounteous beard!
Too bad Pajitnov didn't choose to make exploit burgeoning CD-ROM technology by releasing an interactive photo package containing images of his waggish "Russian bristles"!
There were follow-ups - Hexic HD, Hexic Deluxe and Hexic Rush to name but three - released for various console and mobile formats. However, Pajitnov has as yet failed to follow it up with a version where the hexagons were replaced with hats, shoes, or - ideally - beards.
Please, Papa Alexey, why you no do Beardtris game? Wait... ha ha: "Beardtris Potter".
That's right: you've never even heard of it - and for good reason: there aren't any beards in it!
It was also, as the screenshot above would attest, an ugly looking atrocity with aggravating music; a long way from Tetris...
Life is goin' my way,
When I'm walkin' in my golden shoes,
Everything I ever dreamed of has suddenly come true (beards)!