Tetris – The rise and fall and fall and fall of Tetris champions
Jacob Sweet charts The Revolution in Classic Tetris, covering more than a decade of puzzling history. First, an old guard of now middle-aged nostalgiacs rediscover the NES version of Alexei Pajitnov’s classic game. Second, they establish an international scene around it, complete with a world championship. Finally, they are supplanted by a new generation of YouTubers whose own parents might not have been born in 1984, but whose youth and focus vastly improve upon what were once thought to be insurmountable scores.
This standard of play left behind veterans who had qualified in each of the previous ten years. Jonas, with his one max-out in qualification, entered the tournament ranked thirty-first among sixty-four. Joseph, having scored a world-record twelve max-outs, came in as the No. 1 seed. By the quarter-final, the entire old guard had vanished. The remaining players were all of the YouTube generation, with many explicitly crediting its algorithm for introducing them to classic Tetris. … In the end, it was Michael (Dog) Artiaga, a thirteen-year-old from Texas, who took the top prize over Andrew (PixelAndy) Artiaga, his fifteen-year-old brother, who was competing from the room next door.
I’d hazard that a lot of Boing Boing readers watched as old games (like all else that’s old) became rediscovered, became cool, became mainstream, then became someone else’s entirely. And I’ll hazard that a lot of us never quite figured out what we needed from it and what we can never now get.