A 13-year-old competitive Tetris player has become the first known human to beat the game on the original NES by forcing it into a kill screen. In doing so, the player, Blue Scuti, broke world records for overall score, level achieved, and total numbers of lines in the 34-year-old game. Previously, only an AI had broken Tetris.
The feat took Blue Scuti about 38 minutes, as shown in a video he posted to his YouTube. As he nears the feat, Blue Scuti says “Oh I missed it,” after misplacing a block. He recovers, then says “Oh my God,” as it seems like he’ll be able to do it. “Please crash,” he says as the blocks careen down the screen impossibly fast. He gets another line and the game freezes: “Oh my God! Yes! I’m going to pass out,” he says. “I can’t feel my hands.”
Blue Scuti is a Tetris prodigy who employs the “rolling” controller technique, a new way of holding and using the NES controller that was popularized in 2021. Rolling surpassed “hyper tapping,” which requires players to tap the controller’s D-pad 12 times per second, as the fastest and best way of playing Tetris. Rolling is a method where players roll their fingers on the bottom of an NES controller and use that pressure to push the controller into their other hand, which presses the D-pad to move the blocks. With rolling, players can push the D-pad at least 20 times per second, which is fast enough to theoretically play the game until it breaks. The technique has completely revolutionized competitive Tetris over the last few years.
“With rolling players could theoretically play forever … or as long as the game can handle it,” the Classic Tetris YouTube channel explained on a video of Blue Scuti breaking the game.
In an interview with streamer ITZsharky1, BlueScuti said he had previously gotten close to game crash and began grinding after the feat.
“My biggest struggle was when the nerves started kicking in after 30 minutes of play,” BlueScuti said. BlueScuti dedicated the game to his dad, Adam Gibson, who died in December.