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3 Jan, 2024 19:52

US teen becomes first human to 'beat' Tetris

Only AI computers had previously been capable of defeating the iconic 34-year-old video game
US teen becomes first human to 'beat' Tetris

13-year-old Willis Gibson from Oklahoma is believed to have become the first human being to have beaten the classic Nintendo video game Tetris, more than three decades after it was first released.

Gibson, who goes by the moniker ‘Blue Scuti’ online, posted a video of his record-breaking achievement online after taking just 38 minutes to reach level 157, before it crashed into its so-called “kill screen” – the de-facto conclusion to the game. His score read ‘999999.’

“Please crash,” Gibson says in the video as he completes another line of falling blocks, just before the game finally freezes. “Oh my God!” he exclaims. “Yes! I’m going to pass out. I can’t feel my hands.”

It was only considered possible to advance to level 29 until just a few years ago. Previously, only specially-designed artificial intelligence bots had been capable of forcing the game to its kill screen.

Tetris features a range of falling blocks that a player must arrange into horizontal lines at increasingly white-knuckle speeds. The iconic game had confounded players since its release 34 years ago on Nintendo systems after it was created by Soviet engineer Alexei Pajitnov in 1984.

It is considered to be one of the most beloved and enduring video games in history and remains popular to this day, with a new generation of players participating on consoles and on mobile phones.

“It’s never been done by a human before,” said Vince Clemente, president of the Classic Tetris World Championship, according to the New York Times on Wednesday. “It’s basically something that everyone thought was impossible until a couple of years ago.”

Gibson, who maintains his Tetris skills without about 20 hours of practice a week, has become one of the United States’ top competitive players since he started playing just two years ago.

“When I started playing the game I never expected to ever crash the game, or beat it,” he wrote on his YouTube channel. Gibson also claims to have broken the overall scoring record, as well as three other Tetris world records.

He dedicated his achievement to his late father Adam, who passed away last month.