Sunday March 03, 2024

This kid just became the first person to beat NES Tetris
  Posted by: Engadget on Jan 3rd, 2024 7:15 PM

Tetris is one of the most popular and enduring video games of all time, with versions on just about every console, computer and gadget. Many of these iterations have endings baked into story modes and the like, but the original endless mode was considered unbeatable by humans, until now. A 13-year-old boy has become the first person to ‘beat’ the NES version of Tetris, 34 years after it originally released back in 1989, as announced by YouTuber aGameScout.

The reason we put ‘beat’ in quotes is due to the nature of the achievement. Oklahoma teenager Willis Gibson, also known as Blue Scuti on YouTube, didn’t access an authorized ending, as there isn’t one. Instead, he played the game so perfectly for so long that it forced a kill screen that crashed the game. These kill screens are usually caused by an overflow error that occurs when you speed the game up so much that the software can’t keep up.

The teen achieved this feat after 38 minutes of gameplay and captured the moment on video. He’s the first person to do this, but not the first, uh, entity. An AI program called StackRabbit forced a kill screen with the NES Tetris back in 2021. Score one for the humans!

This was done by incorporating a gameplay style called the rolling technique, which has players glide their fingers along the bottom of an NES controller and use that momentum to roll the controller into the other hand. When done correctly, you can hit the D-pad up to 20 times per second. The method revolutionized competitive Tetris play a couple of years back. Prior to this achievement, the 13-year-old had already broken the game’s high score record, level achieved record and the total number of lines cleared by using the rolling technique.

Gibson, aka Blue Scudi, told another YouTuber that he’s dedicating the achievement to his late father, who recently passed away in December. He also said that the gameplay session was so frantic that he couldn’t feel his fingers afterwards.

Achieving the mythical kill screen is something of a rite of passage for old-school games. If you’ve seen the documentary King of Kong, involving the arcade cabinet Donkey Kong, you know just how competitive it can be to snag those bragging rights. Players have hit the kill screen on Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Duck Hunt, and many others.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

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