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May 19, 2024

Teenage Gaming Prodigy Makes History By Beating Tetris

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Jan 6, 2024

A 13-year-old boy from Oklahoma has achieved what was long thought to be impossible – becoming the first documented human player to fully beat the original Nintendo version of the classic video game Tetris.

Decades-Old Puzzle Game Conquered After Grueling 38-Minute Session

On January 4th, 2023, Willis Gibson played a marathon 38-minute session of Tetris on a Nintendo Entertainment System at his home in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Gibson used expert techniques like hypertapping and rolling to reach the game’s maximum possible level, level 999. Upon transitioning to level 1000, the game’s coding could no longer handle the increasing speed and data, triggering the legendary “kill screen” ending.

Reaching this point signifies a complete victory over Tetris – something no other verified player has done in the game’s 34-year history. While many had come close before, the kill screen has persisted as an elusive final challenge. The teen’s monumental feat was recorded on video and shared on YouTube and Twitch, earning millions of views and making headlines globally.

“I was just in disbelief,” Gibson stated when interviewed after completing his groundbreaking game. “The kill screen is something I’ve been working towards for two years now.”

Teen Spent Years Practicing Complex Tetris Strategies

Gibson’s accomplishment was no fluke. He has been devoted to mastering Tetris for years, putting in long hours of practice using fan-made ROM hacks that allow play past level 999. This allowed Gibson to train for the game’s extreme speeds well beyond what official game cartridges can handle.

The gameplay required in these late levels is unthinkably fast and complex. In addition to moving and rotating falling pieces as normal, Gibson also had to utilize advanced rotation and movement techniques that have been discovered and honed by top players over decades.

“Hypertapping” involves rotating tiles while they move between columns to efficiently counter unwanted placements. “Rolling” rotates tiles rapidly when in contact with either wall to keep them mobile. Executing these properly allowed Willis to survive until the kill screen finally halted play.

Teenager Dedicates Achievement to His Late Father

When asked about what inspired his Tetris journey, Gibson gave touching credit to his father – “He’s the one who first introduced me to Tetris when I was really young. It was always our favorite game to play together.

Tragically, Gibson’s father passed away two years ago after a battle with cancer. Willis shares that the loss fueled his drive to conquer Tetris once and for all.

Getting the farthest anyone has ever gotten, and setting records along the way is my tribute to him,” Gibson remarked. “Now that I’ve reached the kill screen, I really feel like I’ve fulfilled that promise to play just one more game with him.

Tetris High Score Progression
Previous verified record: Level 218 (Harry Hong – 1999)
Willis Gibson’s record: Level 999 (Kill Screen) – 2023

Gibson’s poignant words and unbelievable achievement have earned admiration from Tetris fans globally. Even Henk Rogers, managing director of the Tetris Company, called Willis to congratulate him.

For 34 years fans have chased the Tetris holy grail, and we’re thrilled Willis claimed victory!” Rogers shared. “His vision and fortitude should inspire the world!

Teen Celebrity Continues Tetris Journey Despite Victory

One might think that conquering Tetris’ final level would mark the end of Willis Gibson’s connection to the classic puzzler. However, reaching this gaming peak has only strengthened his passion.

Now achieving celebrity status in the Tetris community, Gibson says he feels more devotion to the game than ever. He continues actively streaming Tetris play on Twitch, now attempting to set ever-higher personal bests at reaching the kill screen quickly.

I plan to keep practicing and really optimizing my speed and efficiency getting there,” Willis explains. “My supporters and this community we’re building make me want play my absolute best every time I stream.

Some experts believe Gibson has untapped potential that, properly refined, could allow him to reach the Tetris endgame even faster. Through enough training and optimization, getting to the kill screen in under 30 minutes may be within Gibson’s capabilities.

While firmly etched into gaming history, this teenage gaming phenom clearly has no designs on abandoning the classic puzzler that he has helped redefine. He continues diligently playing and streaming, both out of personal passion and to inspire new fans globally.

Now I want to really share everything that makes Tetris so amazing,” Gibson says. “My dad taught me that playing games isn’t about being the best – it’s the joy and connections they create that matter.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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