Oklahoma teen may be first person to beat original Tetris

(WJW/NEXSTAR) — You’re likely familiar with Tetris, the block-stacking game created in the 1980s. But you’ve likely never beaten the game, or didn’t even know the game could be beat.

It appears that a 13-year-old boy in Oklahoma has done just that.

The competitive gamer, identified as Willis Gibson — but maybe better known by his YouTube screen name, Blue Scuti — posted a video of his Dec. 21, 38-minute achievement on Tuesday.

In the video, Gibson is seen playing the original Tetris on the Nintendo Entertainment System. When he reaches level 156 of the game, you hear him say, “Oh my God,” and “Please crash.”

Soon after, he hit level 157 and the game seemingly crashed, meaning he beat the game. 

The 13-year-old was clearly in disbelief, saying, “I’m going to pass out. I can’t feel my fingers. I can’t feel my hands. Oh my God.”

According to 404 Media and multiple other reports, Blue Scuti is the first known human to beat the game on the original NES by forcing it into what’s called a “kill screen,” which has only ever been done before by artificial intelligence. Vince Clemente, the president of the Classic Tetris World Championship, told The New York Times that the game has never been beaten by a human before.

“When I started playing this game I never expected to ever crash the game, or beat it. This run was also the Overall Score, Level, Lines, and 19 Score world record,” the YouTube video caption said.

Maya Rogers, CEO of Tetris, shared the following statement with Nexstar via email: “As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Tetris this year, moments like these truly showcase the passion and dedication of Tetris enthusiasts. Congratulations to ‘blue scuti’ for achieving this extraordinary accomplishment, a feat that defies all preconceived limits of this legendary game. This monumental achievement not only breaks new ground in the realm of Tetris but also ignites our anticipation for its future. Here’s to the incredible journey ahead!”

Company representatives tell Nexstar that the NES version of Tetris will continue beyond the level Gibson reached, commencing at level 255 if the player can dodge certain events and avoid the kill screen.

It doesn’t appear as though anyone was with Blue Scuti in person at the time of his achievement, but when his mom got home from work, he made sure to get a high five. He dedicated the game to his dad, Adam Gibson, who died in December, 404 Media reported.

USA Today reports that Blue Scuti’s mother, Karin Cox, posted to Facebook celebrating her son’s achievement, writing that “he makes more money every month from this than I ever did as a teenager.”

According to 404 Media, Blue Scuti used the “rolling” controller technique, which was popularized in 2021. “The technique has completely revolutionized competitive Tetris over the last few years,” the outlet reported.

Gibson recently placed third in the Classic Tetris World Championship, according to NPR. Efforts are already underway to beat his game-defeating achievement, with others documenting their efforts online BBC reports.

Tetris was first created in 1984 by Alexey Pajitnov, a Russian computer programmer, according to the Tetris Company. It was later bought by the Nintendo Entertainment System.

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