Tetris beaten for the first time in 34 years | Inquirer Technology

Tetris beaten for the first time in 34 years

10:26 AM January 03, 2024

The classic video game Tetris has been beaten by a teenager after three decades. Willis “Blue Scuti” Gibson was the first to complete this impossible feat. The 13-year-old reached level 157 before hitting the game’s “final kill screen.” The term is fan jargon for the corrupted screen that prevents players from progressing once they reach a specific point.

Blue Scuti’s story shows how determination and willpower can help anyone achieve their goals. People have been trying to push the limits of classic games like Tetris for more than 30 years. However, one determined individual managed to attain where others have failed through sheer grit and skill. What an inspiring way to start the new year!

This article will discuss how Willis Scuti attained the Tetris world record. Later, I will share a brief history of previous attempts to highlight the teen wonder’s achievement.


How did Blue Scuti beat Tetris?

Tetris is a video game created by Russian designer Alexey Pajitnov in 1985. It involved rotating falling blocks to arrange them in rows, which will clear them and earn a player points.


A player advances to higher levels as they accumulate more points. Blocks fall faster as they progress, making it harder to finish levels. Also, players lose if the blocks stack high enough to reach the top of the screen.

You can achieve the game’s ending relatively easily. For example, you can reach Tetris ending B by arranging four rows simultaneously. However, that wasn’t enough for hardcore fans. 

They pushed the game to its limits by reaching higher levels. Eventually, they discovered levels with blocks too dark to see, earning them the nicknames “Charcoal” and “Dusk.”

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Players investigated the game further and realized it could crash at level 155. It will show a kill screen, indicating the game crashed and preventing players from progressing.

In December 2023, the fandom reached a monumental breakthrough in the battle between Blue Scuti and Justin “Fractal” Yu, the Classic Tetris world champion.


Willis “Blue Scuti” Gibson became the first to reach the goal despite missing the initial crash point. Fortunately, he was able to reach 157 and see a kill screen.

What were the past attempts to beat Tetris?

Retro gaming with Tetris

Most readers may not appreciate the feat of beating a 34-year-old game. However, the Tetris community has been doing so since Nintendo released it for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1989.

Ars Technica says most hardcore players assumed it was impossible to play beyond 290 cleared lines or rows. Reaching level 29 triggers the game’s highest speed. 

Consequently, holding down the left or right button on the NES D-pad controller won’t put a piece to the side of the wall. That is why most players assumed level 29 was the limit.

Fans breached that limit when they devised a new way to play the game. They created a special grip that allowed them to vibrate a finger over the D-pad at least 10 times a second.

They called the method hypertapping and enabled players to skip the “delayed autoshift” (DAS) that limits how fast pieces can move laterally when the D-pad is held down.

Hypertapping enabled Tetris pro player Thor Aackerlund to reach Level 30 in 2011. Later, Joseph Saelee honed the technique to dominate the 2018 and 2019 editions of the Classic Tetris World Championship.

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In 2020, Saelee hypertapped his way to hit level 35 while another player named EricICX achieved level 38. A year later, arcade player Hector “Fly” Rodriguez invented the “rolling” technique.

He designed it to break button-mashing records on the Track & Field arcade game. Then, Tetris players combined it with a grip that lets you tap the back of the NES controller with a “roll” of three to five successive fingers. 

This method nudges the D-pad into a finger on the other hand to register an extremely quick series of directional button presses. In 2021, Cheez reached level 40 using his “rolling” mastery.


Willis “Blue Scuti” Gibson recently became the first to beat Tetris. The 13-year-old wunderkind reached level 157 to push the game’s limits. 

However, the Tetris community is already looking towards new horizons. IGN says you could theoretically hit level 255, assuming the game doesn’t crash.

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