It was Alexey Pazhitnov in Russia that originally concieved the idea for Tetris. Nintendo saw this Russian game and very much liked it, going through the trouble of getting a license to release the game on their own system, the NES.
Tetris (speaking generally, not just of the Nintendo release) has got to be, without a doubt, the greatest puzzle video game of all time. Tetris became a huge hit, spawning sequels, future releases, and similar games, like Dr. Mario and Yoshi's Cookie. This block-matching game became the foundation for many more puzzle games of the future.