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Somebody finally beat Tetris for the first time ever (but no one has ever won these super hard games)

Long live the king of Tetris, a 13-year-old

Tetris
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They said it couldn’t be done — a teenager from Oklahoma has beaten Tetris more than three decades after the iconic game was invented. What’s more, he did it in under an hour, which is a fantastic feat for a game that’s challenged players for generations (don’t worry, there are other records to break, if interested).

To put it in perspective, Tetris was invented in 1985. After some acquisition battles, Nintendo released the game to the American audience in 1988. The victor, Willis Gibson, is 13. That means he was born 23 years after the game was released here. So why has it taken so long to triumph over this colorful and geometric puzzle game?

Anybody who’s played knows just how quickly things get tricky. One minute, you’re coasting through a slow level. The next thing you know, the pieces are falling like a downpour, and your base stack is swelling. If you don’t have a quick reaction time, you’re not going to make it very far. Cue the game over music.

Green essentially outsmarted the game in record time. He reached lever 157 in just over a half-hour, only to beat the game at the final kill screen. While pretty advanced for its age, Tetris could keep up with the teen’s speedy play and reached the end of its coding. In the end, he beat the game in 39 minutes. According to NPR, the only other players to get this far were, well, not humans (it was the work of AI).

Tetris is one of the most popular games ever, having sold more than 500 million copies across the globe. One can take a huge deep dive into why the game is so challenging. The relative simplicity of the levels — from a programming standpoint — allows for many, many of them. So much so that a lot of big-time players have waxed theoretical about being able to play the game forever; every few years, an ultimate gamer would come along, reaching some new distant level but never beating the game.

For those who don’t know, in Tetris, pieces fall from the sky. It’s the gamer’s role to place them at the base accordingly, finding slots where they may fit so as to eliminate rows and keep the pile from stacking up. When it climbs all the way to the top of the screen, it is game over. Each level presents a slightly faster drop, so much so that by the time you reach distant levels, the only real way to keep up is to use your fingers to vibrate the controller buttons (or see into the future).

We may never know Green’s high score as, again, he pretty much broke the system. It read 999,999 before the game crashed.

retro video game consoles

Hardest games in the world

Most games get beaten in a much quicker timeframe. However, there are a few lingering games that, allegedly, we’ve yet to conquer. It’s all pretty unofficial, as gamers tend to be pretty private, but the following games have apparently not been overcome (at least not yet).

Bubble Bubble Revolution

This arcade game came out in 2005 and has still yet to be beaten. Perhaps it’s a software bug; perhaps nobody has the chops to slay the game.

TMNT

Some versions of this game have been beaten, but the DOS and Amiga versions are still waiting on a champ. Even the NES version was incredibly hard, so much so that a cheat was often employed to reach the end.

Dr. Mario

Another game deemed unbeatable, Dr. Mario for Gameboy, came out in 1990. Looking back, it’s weirdly prophetic, a puzzle game about minimizing the spread of a virus.

Tales of Eternia

This PlayStation game came out in the U.S. in 2001 and is a fantasy play with role-playing. It seems people on Reddit are still trying to figure out how to conquer the game.

Tetris

To beat a game

Green will not become rich from this endeavor, but he’ll get some serious street cred in the gaming circuit. While he’s taken in some dough from past Tetris tournaments, the real prize in beating the game is respect from peers and perhaps a few related endorsements down the line. And at such a young age, he will almost certainly break some other gaming records down the line. But for now, can you top his 39-minute miracle?

Into games? Check out our feature on Grand Theft Auto and five new exciting video games. Also, we’ve found deals on Nintendo Switch as well as the five best arcade bars in America. That should keep you entertained.

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Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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