TechTetris has a finish line: Teen gamer's world record reveals secret level of iconic game

Tetris has a finish line: Teen gamer's world record reveals secret level of iconic game

Tetris - Preview Image
Tetris - Preview Image
Images source: © Adobe Stock
2:48 PM EST, January 3, 2024

Tracing back to the genesis, 1984 was the year Alexey Pajitnov and his colleagues created Tetris, a game that quickly gained worldwide popularity. Consequently, variations of the game began to appear on every conceivable platform. Initially, Tetris was exclusive to owners of IBM, Apple, and Commodore 64 computers. Today, this iconic game has migrated even to our wristwatches.

The essence of Tetris, slated to celebrate its 40th birthday in 2024, hinges on arranging different blocks on a petite board (also known as a tetrion or matrix). The game concludes in defeat when the tetrion runs out of room for the next block. However, there's an alternative ending that engages the infamous kill-screen.

For many years, reaching the level where the kill-screen initiates (at least level 155) seemed an unattainable feat for humans. This was, however, achievable for artificial intelligence, which in 2021 demonstrated completion of Tetris at level 237. Recently, history was made by a player named Blue Scuti. He successfully concluded the game at level 157.

"When I began playing this game, I didn't anticipate that I would ever retire or conquer it," confessed the record-holding Tetris champion. The player triggered the infamous kill-screen at level 157, bringing the game to a close. But, what exactly is this ominous "death screen"?

Many players believe that reaching level 29 amounts to completion of Tetris. At this stage, the blocks fall at the maximum speed, which remains constant at all subsequent levels. The aforementioned kill-screen occurs when the game code becomes ineffective, prompting the game to switch from programmed instructions to directly reading random-access memory (RAM), as IFL Science explains.

Until now, many players believed that the crucial moment for Tetris performance was at level 155. However, as the 13-year-old prodigy demonstrated, it is possible to venture two levels further.

Tetris record holder. He reached level 157

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