The Tetris community recently witnessed an impressive achievement that was 34 years in the making. A 13-year-old gamer, Willis “Blue Scuti” Gibson, became the first person to beat the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) version of Tetris since it was released in 1989.
NES Tetris became notorious in the gaming community for being incredibly hard to play after a certain level. Before 2021, gamers managed to only hit Level 38 before it became impossible to keep up with the pace of the game.
However, in 2021, a new technique called “rolling” was discovered, enabling players to push the limits of the game. Even then, it was believed that the game could only be played until Level 155 before a “kill screen” – a term used to describe a point in which classic games crash due to code limitations – appears.
In December, Tetris champion Justin “Fractal” Yu and Blue Scuti organized a match in which they wanted to see who would reach the “kill screen” first. Blue Scuti reached Level 155 first but then went on to progress two more levels, getting to Level 157 before the game crashed.
“I’m going to pass out, I can’t feel my fingers,” the 13-year-old kid said after needing 40 minutes to complete the run and “beat” NES Tetris.
Previous experiments using Artificial Intelligence software showed that NES Tetris can be played all the way to Level 255 if all the crash points are avoided. At that point, the player would be met with a red scheme, which, when beaten, would take him back to the starting level.