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  • Voltaire Staff

Oklahoma teen 'beats' Tetris after 34 years of launch

A 13-year-old created history recently when he became the first person to "beat" Tetris in the more three decades of the launch of the game, which has kept people literally twiddling their thumbs ever since.  

Willis "Blue Scuti" Gibson achieved the "True" Killscreen, triggering a game crash at level 157 – a milestone previously thought unattainable in the 34-year history of the classic game.

Tetris was originally created in 1984 by Soviet engineer Alexey Pajitnov and gained popularity when Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, launched it in 1989 in a handheld console form.

Unlike many single-player games with traditional endings, Tetris is designed to continue until the player loses. For years, pro players believed they had reached the theoretical end of the NES version, the regulated version of the game.

Recent breakthroughs in high-level play, including innovative techniques, have brought the code's breaking point within reach.

For a long time, level 29 was known as the "Killscreen" and considered the limit, as blocks fell faster than a NES controller's movement. In 2011, Thor Ackerland introduced the "hypertapping" technique, using rapid finger vibrations to reach level 30.

Ackerland held the record for seven years, till another hypertapper teenager Joseph Saelee broke it, reaching level 31. Saelee kept breaking his own record and reached level 35 in 2020. His record was broken by another player EricICX who reached level 38.

The hypertapping technique worked but just so much, and players felt they had hit another ceiling and began looking for another faster method of reaching higher levels. Along came "rolling" in 2020, a method which has come to be the most preferred among professionals.

The introduction of the "rolling" play style by Christopher "CheeZ" Martinez in 2020, which involved bouncing the controller up and down with one hand below the controllers and fingers from another pressing the keys, allowed the community to surpass level 100.

The Tetris community witnessed a surge in records as top players transitioned to the rolling technique. EricICX, a proficient roller, shattered records in 2021 by reaching level 95, showcasing the newfound possibilities in Tetris gameplay.

However, challenges emerged with glitched colours and visibility issues, slowing down progress. The game's ancient code, initially not designed to handle such high levels, posed hurdles that players like Blue Scuti had to overcome.

Players found that beyond level 138, Tetris' colour scheme deteriorates, presenting challenges like the nearly invisible "Charcoal" level.

EricICX managed to achieve glitched colours at level 146 during a tournament match, marking the first-ever game crash. This event hinted at the possibility of "beating" Tetris, prompting players to explore new milestones beyond speed and score records.

Willis Gibson's achievement of triggering the "True Killscreen" at level 157 marked a significant breakthrough. Still, other records await conquest, such as crashing Tetris at the earliest theoretical opportunity at level 155 or attempting to reach level 255 without a crash.

The Tetris scene took a thrilling turn in 2023 when Blue Scuti set out to livestream daily attempts to achieve the elusive game crash.

The culmination of his efforts occurred at level 157 when, amid misdrops and intense moments, Blue Scuti achieved the game crash, making Tetris history.

Blue Scuti has not only reinvigorated the Tetris community but also sparked discussions about the future of record-chasing. Players are now exploring various strategies, from speedrunning the crash to aiming for the highest scores before triggering it


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