16-Year-Old Becomes New Tetris World Champion

It’s time to pass the torch.

Seven-time winner of the Classic Tetris World Championship in Portland, OR, Jonas Neubauer took second-place at the competition this past weekend.

As reported by Kotaku, Neubauer was bested by 16-year-old Joseph Saelee, who won in three-game streak during a best-of-five series.

“The kid played with pure heart, the most clutch Tetris that we’ve seen from anyone,” Neubauer said. “He just really had the ability, had the natural ability, and let it shine as bright as he could in his first tournament. [It’s] truly an honor to pass the torch to the new generation of Tetris players.”

Exit Theatre Mode

Until now, Neubauer was almost unbeatable, with the exception of a loss in 2014.

Saelee won by using a technique known as hyper-tapping, which requires a player to press the D-pad quickly and continuously at the correct times to move the Tetris pieces in the proper directions without losing speed. It’s a more demanding method of play, but efficient if it can be pulled off.

Exit Theatre Mode

“I don’t know how to feel, I’m still recovering,” Saelee said. “It’s absolutely a dream. I came into this tournament just to qualify, just to meet all these great people, and to win, that’s just amazing, I don’t know what to say.”

Tetris originally came out in 1989 on the NES, but the Classic Tetris World Championship competition didn’t begin until 2010. Top players from around the world compete annually at the Portland Retro Game Expo using original game controllers on CRT’s in head-to-head matchups.

Exit Theatre Mode

Last January, Neubauer accidentally set a new Tetris world record during an attempt at breaking a completely different record. For more on Tetris, check out IGN’s hub and read about how research is being done on Tetris helping prevent PTSD.

Jessie Wade is a news writer for IGN and used to play Tetris all the time. Follow her on Twitter @jessieannwade.

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