After Nearly 35 Years, Tetris Finally Meets Its Match: Using lightning-quick reflexes, a teenager beat Tetris and managed to finally conquer the classic block-stacking puzzle game nearly 35 years after its creation.
Tetris holds a special place in the hearts of retro gamers. Since its creation in 1984 by Russian software engineer Alexey Pajitnov, the classic block-stacking puzzle game has challenged players around the world with its simple yet endlessly compelling gameplay. But while devotees have racked up impressive high scores over the decades, no player has ever reached Tetris’s technical limits — until now.
Last month, 13-year-old Willis Gibson accomplished the unthinkable: he became the first person ever to hit the game’s elusive “kill screen.” Gibson, who uses the gamer handle Blue Scuti, pulled off this feat on December 21, 2023, while live-streaming his gameplay from the Nintendo Entertainment System version. The masterful run capped at level 157, when the never-ending game finally reached its kill screen limits and crashed.
And let’s give some extra praise to Blue Scuti for beating the game on a level with dark blue game pieces on a black screen. They are almost impossible to see.
How To Beat Tetris?
So how did this gaming prodigy finally conquer the 35-year-old title and beat Tetris? Blue Scuti employed a technique called “hypertapping,” rapidly drumming the controller’s D-pad to slide blocks into the optimum positions. According to experts, he may have pressed that D-pad more than 20 times per second over the course of his 38-minute session. This allowed Blue Scuti to keep pace with the game’s exponentially escalating difficulty curve. Tetris builds speed with each new level, forcing players to stack blocks perfectly while making split-second rotations.
Yet Blue Scuti kept his cool even as the tension mounted. Even the slightest mistake could have dashed his hopes. But after nearly four decades, Tetris had met its match thanks to one teen with some lightning-quick hands.
A Statement From The Tetris CEO
Blue Scuti’s achievement represents a significant milestone in the history of the game Tetris. After hearing the news, Maya Rogers, the CEO of Tetris, sent the following statement to PopSci:
“As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Tetris this year, moments like these truly showcase the passion and dedication of Tetris enthusiasts. Congratulations to ‘blue scuti’ for achieving this extraordinary accomplishment, a feat that defies all preconceived limits of this legendary game. This monumental achievement not only breaks new ground in the realm of Tetris but also ignites our anticipation for its future. Here’s to the incredible journey ahead!“
Private investor. Tech enthusiast. Broadcast TV veteran.