A 13-year-old boy from Oklahoma has accomplished what was long thought to be impossible – becoming the first person to officially beat the notoriously difficult 1980s video game Tetris.
Lead Up to the Feat
Tetris, the classic block-fitting puzzle game, was first released in 1984. With its simple yet addictive gameplay, the game quickly became massively popular around the world. However, Tetris presented players with an incredibly tough challenge – completing the game by reaching the maximum possible score.
The way Tetris is designed, the speed of the falling blocks increases exponentially as the game progresses. Eventually, the blocks fall so fast that continuing to play is humanly impossible. This point is known as the “kill screen”. Reaching this threshold has been the ultimate goal for competitive Tetris players for decades. Some experts even argued that getting there simply couldn’t be done.
|Progress Towards “Kill Screen”
|Confirmed as the first player to surpass 1 million points
|Scored over 2.8 million points
|Notched up a high score of 3.38 million
Over the past year, a player named Willis Gibson, who goes by the gaming handle “Blue Scuti”, emerged as a top contender for being the first to beat unbeatable Tetris. Hailing from the small town of Stillwater, Oklahoma, few expected this unassuming young teenager to be the one to final cross the finish line.
On January 3rd 2024, Willis sat down to play Tetris on the original Nintendo Entertainment System console. Several gamers and Twitch streamers gathered, both online and in-person, to watch Willis’s latest attempt at making Tetris history.
After sticking to his proven high-scoring strategies from previous record-setting games, Willis managed to rack up over 4 million points. The blocks were now falling at blinding speeds. Even slight hesitations by the player would result in a clogged up board and a swift Game Over. However, Willis kept his cool under immense pressure. Carefully plotting each move with precision, he continued to clear lines and stave off defeat.
Finally, after over 2 hours of intense gameplay, Willis cleared one last line of blocks. His score ticked over to 4,999,999 – the maximum achievable in the game. Moments later, the next wave of blocks spawned in completely filling the board. Willis had officially reached the mythical Tetris “kill screen”. After nearly 4 decades, the unbeatable had been beaten.
The small gathering of spectators watching Willis erupted into raucous cheers and applause. As the realization of his tremendous accomplishment sank in, a visibly overwhelmed Willis shook his head in stunned disbelief. After giving high fives all round and speaking to some media, Willis finally went home for some well-deserved rest!
Response to the News
News of Willis’s epic gaming feat quickly went viral globally. Tetris developers Nintendo and The Tetris Company released statements offering their congratulations. Gaming publications and competitive esports organizations also chimed in with praise.
However, some naysayers emerged as well. A presenter on British television network Sky News stated Willis should “go outside” rather than play video games. This prompted backlash from Tetris experts defending the skill level involved.
“It’s incredibly difficult, just making one mistake can ruin the entire game. So the mental stamina and fortitude needed is immense,” said world-renowned Tetris master Keresztes Balazs.
Jonas Neubauer, seven-time Tetris world champion, echoed similar sentiments saying reaching the kill screen requires “great mental strength, tremendous skill and patience.”
What’s Next for Willis and Tetris?
For now, Willis is enjoying the adulation from his peers for pulling off this long-elusive gaming achievement. However, this likely isn’t the end of the road when it comes to elite Tetris gameplay.
Some expert players feel there are still more discoveries to be made beyond the kill screen that Willis reached. By utilizing intricate move sequences and rotations, there may be ways to delay or avoid the automatic loss when the kill screen generates. This could open up new avenues for scoring and survival records.
As for Willis’s next moves, while admitting he’ll take some time to appreciate this accomplishment, he won’t be putting down the controller for good.
“I’m definitely going to keep playing Tetris. I still think there are possibilities I haven’t fully explored around stalling out the kill screen.” the soft-spoken teen said. “And improving my efficiency to reach this point faster is another goal. My personal best is around 8 hours now from picking up the controller to finishing the game. I believe with more optimization I can get that below 3 hours.”
Only time will tell whether Willis or another player can push the boundaries of Tetris further. But one thing is certain – this hugely impressive feat has cemented Willis’s name forever in the gaming history books.
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