In a video uploaded to YouTube on Jan. 1, Willis Gibson plays the video game Tetris until the game freezes. In that moment, the 13-year-old from Oklahoma is thought to have been the first human player to advance so far into the original Nintendo version of the game.
The remarkable moment happens around 38 minutes and 29 seconds into the video, after which the teen is overcome by the shock of his own achievement. We’ve timestamped the moment for you in the video below.
Tetris is a puzzle video game created by Soviet software engineer Alexey Pajitnov in 1985. A portmanteau of “tetra” (meaning “four”) and “tennis,” Tetris is played by maneuvering falling block pieces into solid horizontal lines, at which point the lines disappear and make room for more lines. Players lose when the build up of blocks breaches the upper limit of the playing screen. The game becomes more difficult at upper levels as the blocks fall at faster and faster speeds.
In the past, enthusiasts have developed artificial intelligence to play the game at levels thought too advanced for living, breathing players. Gibson’s performance, during which he reached Level 157, was practically superhuman. “It’s never been done by a human before,” Vince Clemente, the president of the Classic Tetris World Championship, told the New York Times. “It’s basically something that everyone thought was impossible until a couple of years ago.”
In October, Gibson placed third at the Classic Tetris World Championship, after joining the competition as a relative unknown. He has only been playing Tetris for around two years, and has made about $3,000 in Tetris tournaments so far, according to the Times. Gibson posted the recording of his feat to his YouTube channel, where he regularly shares mesmerizing footage of him playing puzzle game under the name Blue Scuti.