A 13-year-old boy from Oklahoma finally defeated Tetris for the first time since the video game's release nearly 40 years ago. Willis Gibson became the first gamer to reach level 157 of the classic puzzle video game.
Gibson — who uses the screen name Blue Scuti — posted a video of his accomplishment on YouTube. “I’m going to pass out; I can’t feel my fingers,” said Gibson after crashing Tetris. “When I started playing this game I never expected to ever crash the game, or beat it.”
Soviet software engineer Alexey Pajitnov created Tetris in 1985. As reported by CNN, “To date, over 200 official variants of Tetris have been released on at least 70 systems, a world record according to Guinness World Records. The Electronic Arts-developed mobile version released in 2006 has been sold 100 million times, making it the third best-selling video game of all time, according to a Hewlett Packard report last year.”
Tetris is deceptively simple: a player manipulates falling blocks of different shapes to create solid rows at the bottom. The higher the level, the faster the blocks fall.
“I couldn’t stop myself from playing this prototype version, because it was very addictive to put the shapes together,” said Pajitnov to CNN in 2019.
Apple TV+ Released a Tetris Movie Starring Taron Egerton in 2023
Tetris has staying power. The compelling story behind the race to patent the video game during the Cold War inspired Apple TV+ to release a 2023 movie about it. The biographical thriller Tetris stars Taron Egerton as video game designer Henk Rogers and Nikita Yefremov as Pajitnov.
So what is it about Tetris that has captivated people for decades and motivated a teenager to finally beat it? “It hooked with us in almost like a primitive state,” said gamin expert Victor Lucas to CNN. “It transcends video games, quite frankly, like checkers or chess. It’s just one of these juggernaut play experiences that any human being can understand immediately and be consumed by eternally.”
Video game expert Scott Steinberg told CNN:
“It’s so well designed and so captivating for so many generations of gamers that people are literally discovering new feats to accomplish and scores to beat and challenges to overcome. It constantly presents a host of new challenges that even masters find difficult to tackle.
“There’s still something to be said for a game that’s simple, elegant, incredibly approachable and enjoyable by players of any age or background. Sometimes simpler is better, and the greatest games really do stand the test of time.”
Tetris-slayer Gibson finished in third place at the 2023 Classic Tetris World Championship.