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13-year-old Becomes the First Player to Officially “beat” Tetris, Triggering Kill Screen at Level 157

In a groundbreaking feat, 13-year-old gamer Willis Gibson, known as "blue scuti" in the gaming community, has become the first player to officially "beat" the original Nintendo version of the iconic video game Tetris.

While some may argue that crashing the game doesn't sound like a victory, reaching what gamers call a "kill screen" is a highly coveted achievement in the world of video games.

Tetris, known for its falling-block gameplay, has long been considered unbeatable due to its lack of a scripted ending. The game challenges players to stack four-block shapes into disappearing rows, with the blocks continuously falling regardless of skill level. Top players have always sought ways to extend their winning streaks by reaching higher levels, but ultimately, the game has always emerged victorious.

However, on December 21, Willis Gibson managed to trigger a kill screen on Level 157, surpassing the game's limits and achieving a monumental victory. Tetris CEO Maya Rogers congratulated Willis, acknowledging his extraordinary accomplishment and stating that it defies all preconceived limits of the legendary game. As Tetris approaches its 40th anniversary, Willis' achievement is a significant milestone in the game's history.

The journey to this historic moment has been a long and challenging one. In the early days, players struggled to progress beyond the 20s and 30s due to a lack of techniques. Level 29 posed a particularly tough roadblock as the blocks fell faster than the in-game controller could respond. However, over time, players discovered new strategies to overcome these obstacles.

In 2011, a technique called "hypertapping" emerged, allowing players to move the game controller faster than its built-in speed by rhythmically vibrating their fingers. This technique propelled players to Level 35 by 2018. In 2020, another breakthrough occurred when a gamer combined a multi-finger technique with a finger positioned on the bottom of the controller, pushing it against another finger on the top. This approach, known as "rolling," enabled players to reach Level 95 in 2022.

As players pushed the game's limits, new challenges arose. The original developers of Tetris had not anticipated such aggressive gameplay, leading to unexpected quirks at higher levels. Starting at Level 138, random color combinations made it difficult to distinguish the blocks from the black background. Patterns like "Dusk" and "Charcoal" proved taxing for players, slowing down progress.

To overcome these challenges, a Tetris-playing AI program called StackRabbit was developed. It reached Level 237 before crashing the game, providing valuable insights into triggering game-ending glitches. Human players then used this information to map out scenarios that could cause crashes in the original game. This collaborative effort resulted in a comprehensive spreadsheet detailing the specific conditions likely to lead to a crash.

Motivated by this knowledge, Willis embarked on his record-breaking run. When he crashed the game at Level 157, he expressed shock and disbelief in a livestream video. Despite the overwhelming moment, Willis's achievement marks a significant milestone in the history of Tetris and showcases the dedication and skill of the gaming community.

  • Willis Gibson, aka "blue scuti," becomes the first player to officially "beat" the original Nintendo version of Tetris by triggering a kill screen on Level 157.

  • Tetris CEO Maya Rogers congratulates Willis on his extraordinary accomplishment, calling it a monumental achievement.

  • Overcoming various obstacles and utilising innovative techniques, players have continuously pushed the limits of Tetris gameplay.

Source: AP NEWS

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