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Watch a 13-year-old become the first person to ever beat Classic Tetris

Blue Scuti did what long seemed impossible

Nicole Clark (she/her) is a culture editor at Polygon, and a critic covering internet culture, video games, books, and TV, with work in the NY Times, Vice, and Catapult.

A 13-year-old streamer, Blue Scuti, became the first ever human to beat the classic game of Tetris on NES. Blue Scuti broke 3 world records in total — including that monumental accomplishment — during a semifinal match for the 2023 Classic Tetris World Championship (CTWC). On Tuesday, he posted the full video onto his YouTube channel.

It might be funny to think that a 34-year-old game had never been beat before — but that’s precisely the case. Since Tetris (or Classic Tetris) was released on the NES it was genuinely considered unbeatable. Players would play for as long as they could, until reaching the 29th level, at which point pieces would fall so fast it seemed impossible to keep up. Only an AI had ever beat it — until Blue Scuti came on the scene.

Blue Scuti’s winning strategy was a culmination of the technique that younger players have been developing in recent years. These newer strategies, like “hypertapping” and later “rolling,” emerged in 2016 and 2020 respectively, allowing players to operate the NES controller even faster than the buttons by tapping the underside of the controller. By 2022, most players that placed in in CTWC used some version of these strategies.

In the 38-minute video, you can see Scuti grow more tense as he approaches ever greater levels. Right after making a great save, he gets to the game’s frozen screen — signaling victory — and ecstatically says “oh my god” while yanking off his gloves. “My hands feel tingly, I can’t feel my hands,” he says, with his face in his hands.

In a post game interview with streamer ITZsharky, Blue Scuti describes the nerves after playing for 30 minutes, but that he was “still managing to hit the 5 taps.” He added, “You miss one 5 tap and the run can end.”

This one never did, making Tetris history.

The next level of puzzles.

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