A 13-year-old has just become the first person to beat Tetris

Originally published at: A 13-year-old has just become the first person to beat Tetris - Boing Boing


I saw that the game froze. Is that what it means to beat the game?




I am rather surprised it hasn’t happened before. Though I also didn’t know you could “beat it”.

“My hands feel tingly, I can’t feel my hands,”

Ooo, dude. That’s, uh, that’s nerve damage. You need to take some breaks, man.


I guess? I mean, it’s not like there’s a boss level where you have to defeat Brick-a-saurus or something, so I guess it’s play until the game crashes. I’m trying to figure out the value that overflowed, though. I was expecting it to be lines, but it was (0x)F11 when it froze. I would have expected 0xFFF (+1) to be the tipping point.


I was assuming the same. Maybe there’s and obscure ones-complement value that caused an overflow or something odd. I dunno.


My progression of amazement:

  1. Any 13 year olds were playing NES games in 2023
  2. And enjoying it so much that they became the first person to reach the kill screen
  3. Using an actual original NES controller and crazy hardware-specific exploits to flip the pieces faster than is possible by pushing buttons

I guess in an age where nerd culture has completely fused with pop culture and become dominant, this is what actually still being a nerd looks like. I mean that as a compliment, though. Hats off to the kid.


It’s the Tetris “True Kill screen.” At a certain level, the code , if it picks the wrong color combination for the next level or the wrong shapes, ends up doing a byte overflow error. That error freezes the program and it’s called a “win” since the player conceivably could have kept going but the game gave up first.

Level 29 is considered the kill screen in competitive tetris, and at this point in time, qualifying competitions count the number of kill screens (level 29) hit as part of the qualifying score. The new technique is called rolling and allows for thousands of moves per minute.


Yeah, seeing the kill screen when the guy beat the game in The King of Kong was kinda anticlimactic as well. But good for these guys, embodying modern-day John Henrys by outlasting the machines. (And presumably at great cost to their physical health…)

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I saw this video that explains what happened.

In theory, it is possible to finish level 255 and wrap to level 0.

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TFV of the game-beating run.

Kill screen at 38:29.


I watched a different YT video of the same subject, and it’s theoretically possible (with some machine assistance) to get the game to hit level 255, at which point it loops back around to level 0. However, I don’t think it’s going to be possible for mere humans to do it.

I think the biggest barrier now is that there is one (unplayed) level where players have to clear close to 1000 lines with a dark green and black tile colour combination. Other than that it’s just endurance and luck.

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