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Controversy Erupts After 13-Year-Old Becomes First to Ever ‘Beat’ Tetris: ‘Not a Life Goal’

Controversy Erupts After 13-Year-Old Becomes First to Ever ‘Beat’ Tetris: ‘Not a Life Goal’

The world of video games was shaken to its core in December when a task previously thought impossible was accomplished — and by a 13-year-old, no less.

As reported on by multiple outlets, ranging from Reuters to The New York Times, 13-year-old Willis Gibson from Stillwater, Oklahoma, became the first person in the world to be widely credited with beating “Tetris,” the thinking man’s video game about dropping strangely shaped blocks to fit perfectly with each other.

Unlike many modern video games that have a clearly defined “win” state, Tetris, which was created in 1985 by Soviet software engineer Alexey Pajitnov, has never offered much in the way of “winning.”

The point of the game, for many, is to simply survive for as long as you can with the dropping blocks coming in at increasingly faster intervals and speeds. Most fans of Tetris aren’t interested in “winning” so much as they are in chasing the next high score. The game ends when the rising tide of blocks exceeds the top of the play area.

So how does one “win” at Tetris, then? By pushing the game past the boundaries that Pajitnov ever dreamed of.

Gibson secured this feat by, effectively, playing Tetris on the Nintendo Entertainment System (the NES version released in 1989), until the game ran out of memory/coding space. He “won” Tetris by making the game crash after it reached the limits of its processing power.

You can watch the wild accomplishment below:

When Gibson finally forces his game to crash, the young boy visibly and clearly loses his mind at what he’d just accomplished. Between high-pitched squeals and rapid breaths, the gravity of Gibson’s accomplishment clearly dawned on the young video-game prodigy.

Before Gibson’s viral accomplishment, it was previously believed that this Tetris “win” state was only possible via artificial intelligence playing the game faster than a human conceivably could.

“It’s easy to start off yet it’s really hard to master it,” Willis told The Times. Hilariously, the Gray Lady mentioned that Willis had just unloaded the dishwasher before beginning this interview.

Willis’ mother, very proud and likely happy her son’s favorite video game doesn’t include microtransactions, told The Times that he spends about 20 hours a week plying his craft in Tetris.

But while most have been congratulatory towards Gibson, one Sky News anchor thought that the young man could be spending those 20 hours a week on better things.

As covered by the BBC, Sky News anchor Jayne Secker was none too impressed with Gibson’s accomplishments following a segment on the Tetris feat.

“As a mother, I would just say step away from the screen,” Secker said in the viral clip. “Go outside, get some fresh air. Beating Tetris is not a life goal.”

Social media users were quick to call out Secker for her rhetoric.

“The smugness just makes my blood boil,” one X user posted.

A glance at the original clip’s re-posts reveals a number of incensed X users blasting Secker, with many of the responses noting that this is a 13-year-old, and not a 33-year-old — so “life goals” may be a tad premature.

Conversely, Washington Post games critic and editor Gene Park felt the fuss was much ado about nothing, because legacy media has always looked down on video games:

“I find it hard to get myself worked up over that condescending sky news news presenter talking down games,” Park posted. “That boomer mentality is deeply rooted in mainstream media for another generation.

“[T]hat kind of close minded thinking led the news industry to its pathetic state today.”

But for whatever Secker may think of the feat, those in the sphere are endlessly impressed with what Gibson accomplished.

“It’s never been done by a human before,” Vince Clemente, the president of the Classic Tetris World Championship, told The Times.

“This Tetris prodigy has just come up and just completely taken over the pro Tetris scene,” one Tetris content creator, David Macdonald, told the news outlet.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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