Tetris | 13 year-old player ‘beats’ the NES version in less than 40 minutes

Tetris beaten
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Over 30 years on from its release, the NES version of Tetris has finally been beaten by a 13 year-old player.

Tetris? Completed it, mate. That’s the bragging right well and truly earned by 13-year old gamer Willis ‘BlueScuti’ Gibson, who’s become the first player to ‘beat’ the NES version of the puzzler – some 34 years after it was first released.

If, like us, you didn’t know it was possible to even beat Tetris, rest assured that it was widely assumed that no human player could keep up with the game’s sheer speed once it reached its later levels. By this point, the blocks come hurtling down the screen at such a frenzied pace that it becomes borderline impossible to position them accurately – all of which leads to a Game Over within a few short seconds.

BlueScuti’s skill is such, however, that he’s able to not only keep up with the game’s pace, but actually push it to the point where it seizes up altogether. This is Tetris’s ‘kill screen’ – a kind of programming bug that causes a game to glitch or break entirely. Pac-Man and Donkey Kong are two 1980s games that famously have their own kill screens.

Clearly an unusually talented player, BlueScuti managed to reach Tetris’s kill screen in less than 40 minutes, by which time he’d cleared 1,511 lines – far in excess of the number previously thought possible for a human. The feat was achieved by a couple of techniques only discovered in recent years, both of which involve holding the NES’ joypad in unusual ways and using multiple fingers to rapidly hammer its buttons at speed.

As reported by Ars Technica, the historic moment was captured for posterity in a livestream, which means you can see BlueScuti’s entire run in full below. The moment he triggers that hallowed kill screen can be found at the 38:55 mark. Understandably, he practically hyperventilates in shock at his monumental achievement.

First created by Soviet developer Alexey Pajitnov in 1985, Tetris captured the world’s imagination later in the decade. Famously the subject of a legal battle – later the subject of articles, books and even a movie Tetris has since appeared on just about every electronic device imaginable, from the ZX Spectrum to Nintendo’s Game Boy and beyond. Almost 40 years since it was first programmed, Tetris still holds a hypnotic allure – that it has such a dedicated community of young players is a testament to the game’s timeless appeal.

Take it away, BlueScuti…

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