Teen Breaks Tetris Record In Historic Gaming Feat

Thirteen-year-old Willis Gibson has officially beaten the original Nintendo version of Tetris, the falling-block video game. But his victory didn’t come in the traditional sense. Gibson managed to break the famous game.

Technically speaking, Gibson, also known as “blue scuti” in the gaming realm, reached what gamers refer to as a “kill screen” in Tetris. This is a stage where the Tetris code experiences glitches, leading to a game crash.

While it might not seem like a conventional victory for those focused solely on high scores, it stands as a prestigious accomplishment in the video game sphere. Achieving such milestones often entails pushing both hardware and software to their limits and beyond.

This achievement holds significant importance for Tetris players, as many had previously deemed the game unbeatable. The absence of a scripted ending is a key factor, as the constant descent of those four-block shapes persists regardless of one’s stacking prowess in forming disappearing rows. Even the most skilled players attempted to prolong their winning streaks by advancing to increasingly higher levels. Nevertheless, ultimately, the unrelenting nature of the game proved to be a challenge that outlasted all players.

However, on December 21, Willis achieved a breakthrough by triggering a kill screen on Level 157. In the gaming community, this is regarded as a triumph over the game because the user has pushed the software beyond its designated limits.

Tetris CEO Maya Rogers expressed her congratulations to Gibson for attaining this remarkable accomplishment, a feat that challenges all previously set limits of this iconic game. In a statement, Rogers highlighted that Tetris is approaching its 40th anniversary this year and labeled Willis’ victory as a “monumental achievement.”

Famous gaming YouTuber David Macdonald said when the game was new, “The Tetris scene people didn’t even know how to get to these higher levels. They were just stuck in the 20s and 30s because they just didn’t know techniques to get any further.”

Over time, players discovered methods to advance, as detailed by Macdonald in his comprehensive video on Willis’ triumph. In 2011, a player reached Level 30 by employing a technique known as “hyper tapping,” where rhythmic finger vibrations allowed the game controller to move faster than the game’s default speed. This approach propelled players to Level 35 by 2018.

The next significant development occurred in 2020 when a gamer merged a multi-finger technique initially employed in arcade video games. They positioned one finger at the bottom of the controller, pushing it against another finger on the top, a method known as “rolling.” This notably faster approach facilitated a player in reaching Level 95 by 2022.

During his livestream video, Gibson seems to hyperventilate before saying, “Oh my God” multiple times. He clutches his temples, afraid he may pass out. After attempting to regulate his breathing by cupping his hands over his mouth, he finally exclaims, “I can’t feel my fingers.”