Willis Gibson, 13, becomes the first person to complete Tetris, triggering the ‘true kill screen’ at level 157

Defying decades of gaming belief, 13-year-old Willis Gibson, known as Blue Scuti on YouTube, has become the first human to conquer the classic video game Tetris.

The game-ending achievement took place during a live stream where he reached level 157, triggering what is known as the “true kill screen.”

Gibson, a seasoned Tetris player who started at the age of 11, posted a video on his YouTube channel capturing the historic moment.

Astonishingly, it only took him 38 minutes to complete the game, leaving the Tetris community in awe.

As Gibson’s screen reached level 157, Tetris experienced some strange errors, and blocks ceased to descend, marking the end of the game. Falling back into his chair, Gibson exclaimed, “I’m going to pass out; I can’t feel my fingers.”

Level 29 of Tetris was supposed to be the “kill screen” because the speed of the dropping blocks rapidly increases. However, players can now continue to play past that level because of their growing skill. Additionally, new techniques including “hypertapping” and “rolling” have allowed players to position the blocks at incredible speeds.

Tetris, created by Soviet engineer Alexey Pajitnov in 1984, gained immense popularity after its release on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Nintendo’s Game Boy handheld console in 1989.

The game involves arranging falling blocks into perfect horizontal lines at increasing speeds. Over the years, dedicated gamers discovered various techniques, including hypertapping, to progress through higher levels, revealing glitchy patterns and colours in the process.

As for “the true kill screen” – when the game crashes due to coding inefficiencies – it was initially thought to be unattainable by humans. In 2021, an AI program named StackRabbit, created by programmer Greg Cannon, managed to surpass level 237, where the game ultimately froze.

Gibson’s achievement challenges the longstanding belief that only AI could reach the true kill screen.

The Tetris community had been researching the kill screen error and found it could be triggered earlier than level 237.

Gibson successfully accomplished this at level 157, setting new world records for Overall Score, Level, Lines, and 19 Score.

Reflecting on his unexpected achievement, Gibson shared on his YouTube channel, “When I started playing this game, I never expected to ever crash the game or beat it. This run was also the Overall Score, Level, Lines, and 19 Score world record.”

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