Kat Bailey

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The NES version of Tetris, believed to be impossible to complete by even the most dedicated fans, has finally been beaten. Thirteen-year-old phenom Willis “Blue Scuti” Gibson was the first to pull off the improbable feat, which saw him reach level 157 before hitting what is being called the “final killscreen” by fans.”

A new video charts the community’s progress to beating the famously challenging version of the game, which lacks later features like the ability to store pieces. Even experts were only able to make it to around level 38 before it became impossible to keep up. However, a technique introduced in 2021 called “rolling,” which was achieved by utilizing the bottom of the controller, revolutionized the Tetris community and led to a host of new world records.

Blue Scut in the moment that he became the first player to ever beat Tetris for NES.
Blue Scut in the moment that he became the first player to ever beat Tetris for NES.

The spate of records led the community to wonder just how far Tetris could go. Players pressing into new frontiers began to discover corrupted colors, some of which made the blocks almost too dark to see, which they nicknamed “Charcoal” and “Dusk.” An in-depth investigation led players to realize that the game could be crashed in level 155, resulting in a new kill screen — jargon for a corrupted screen in classic games that prevents players from progressing.

It culminated in December 2023 with a battle between Blue Scuti, a relative unknown, and Justin “Fractal” Yu, the current Classic Tetris world champion, racing to reach the new kill screen and “beat” Tetris. Blue Scuti was the first to reach the goal, though amazingly, he missed the initial crash point. This led to a frantic few minutes as he tried to get to a new point where he could achieve a killscreen, finally achieving his goal in level 157. You can watch the complete run here.

It was a huge moment for the Tetris community some 34 years in the making. But the journey is never done, and Tetris fans are already looking toward new horizons. Assuming they were able to avoid the steadily growing number of crash points, a player could theoretically hit level 255, which features a pure red color scheme. Beating that level would bring players all the way back to Level 0, meaning they will have truly reached Tetris’ final frontier and returned to the beginning.

One way or another, the Tetris community remains as vibrant as ever as players continue to uncover new challenges.

Kat Bailey is IGN’s News Director as well as co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Have a tip? Send her a DM at @the_katbot.

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‘Impossible’ Tetris NES Beaten for the First Time in 34 Years by 13-Year-Old Phenom