tetris kill scren blue scuti

The Tetris Kill Screen

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Updated Jan 08, 2024 at 11:09AM EST by Adam.

Added Jan 05, 2024 at 12:20PM EST by Adam.

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The Tetris Kill Screen refers to the goal of professional and competitive Tetris players to literally "beat" Tetris, a game long considered unbeatable, by playing so long that the game crashes. After years of innovations by the community, 13-year-old Willis Gibson, who goes by the handle Blue Scuti, became the first human to ever reach the kill screen and effectively "beat" the 34-year-old game. The achievement led to widespread celebration in the community and global news coverage, and it inspired multiple popular videos explaining the significance of the achievement and the combined efforts of the Tetris community to make the "victory" possible.


For years, it was believed that level 29 of Tetris was the game's limit, as at that point in the game, blocks began descending so fast a human thumb could not mash quickly enough to get pieces to the ends of the stage. A strenuous strategy called "hyper-tapping,"[3] in which a player would flex their bicep until their arm began to shake which allowed for quicker mashing, was developed and began being implemented in the mid-2010s, but only allowed players to push Tetris a few levels past level 29.

In November 2020, Tetris player Cheez_Fish invented "rolling," a technique in which the player cascades four fingers one at a time on the back of the controller while inputting directions with their other hand, allowing for less strenuous, faster and more effective button mashing.[4] On April 17th, 2021, YouTuber aGameScout explained the discovery of "rolling" and how it works in a video that gained over 4.4 million views.


The invention of "rolling" allowed players to fly past previous records set by hyper-tappers, as players were reaching levels well past 100.[5] It made achieving the theoretical "kill screen" of Tetris possible, but further challenges awaited players as they approached the kill screen. On June 23rd, 2021, YouTuber Greg Cannon posted a video about how he'd built an AI that could theoretically play Tetris infinitely, gaining over 2.6 million views in two and a half years (shown below).

At level 138, the game begins glitching and distorts the colors of the falling blocks. Two levels past 138 feature blocks with significantly dark color palettes, which Cannon nicknamed "Dusk" and "Charcoal." These levels proved significantly difficult, as players discovered they couldn't make out the descending blocks. On November 17th, 2023, YouTuber and Tetris player PixelAndy became the first person to encounter these levels in a run of Tetris, where "Charcoal," level 148, ended his run (shown below).

However, PixelAndy's run was not far from the kill screen. In 2022, YouTuber Hydrant Dude discovered that the earliest possible time one could get a kill screen in Tetris was level 155. It was required that a player clear a single line to get the level to switch from 155 to 156, and that would crash the game (shown below). Hydrant Dude also discovered there are multiple other opportunities past level 155 to achieve a kill screen, though not all opportunities are guaranteed.

Blue Scuti Beats Tetris

On December 21st, 2023, 13-year-old Blue Scuti became the first person in history to achieve a kill screen in Tetris, clearing the game at level 157 after he missed the level 155 kill screen opportunity.[1] On January 2nd, 2024, he posted the winning attempt to YouTube,[2] where it gained over 1.9 million views in three days (shown below).

The achievement was widely celebrated around the world, as it earned a segment on The Today Show (shown below) and articles and interviews from major news publications, including The New York Times.[6]

Sky News anchor Jayne Secker received backlash during her segment on the achievement after saying Gibson should "go outside."[7]

Two others achieved kill screens in the weeks after Blue Scuti got there first: fractal161 (shown below, left) and PixelAndy (shown below, right).

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