13-year-old breaks Tetris limits

13-year-old player Blue Scuti reaches level 157 ‘

13-year-old Willis Gibson, known as Blue Scuti, has become the first person to reach the technical limits of the classic puzzle game Tetris.

The breakthrough occurred during a live stream on Dec. 21, where Gibson encountered Tetris’s elusive “kill screen,” causing the game to crash on level 157 of the Nintendo Entertainment System version.

Traditionally, Tetris was believed to have its highest achievable level at Level 29 since its design by Soviet engineer Alexey Pajitnov in 1984.

At this point, the game’s iconic blocks fall at a speed that prevents players from moving them to the sides, leading to a rapid stack-up and game-over.

However, a “kill screen” occurs when a player progresses so far in a game that it crashes due to a glitch in its code.

This is distinct from reaching Level 29, and professional gamer Thor Aackerlund initiated the quest for Tetris’ kill screen in 2010 by discovering a way to reach Level 30 using a technique called “hyper tapping.”

Over the years, players refined various techniques, with some reaching Level 148 by November 2023.

Notably, an AI called StackRabbit found that a modified version of the game crashed at Level 237 after completing more than 3,100 lines. Research later revealed that the kill screen could be triggered on the unmodified version at Level 155.

During Gibson’s attempt in December, he missed a crucial move that would have triggered the glitch but continued playing, ultimately reaching Levels 156 and then 157.

In a remarkable turn of events, he triggered the glitch after completing 1,511 lines during his play-through of Level 157.

“This was the first time where instead of the game beating the player, the player had beaten the game,” stated the YouTube channel aGameScout.

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