It's always wonderful to watch an underdog come out of nowhere to dethrone a longtime champion, which is exactly what happened this weekend at a Tetris championship in Portland, Oregon. There, seven-time Classic Tetris World Champion Jonas Neubauer was defeated by 16-year-old Joseph Saelee.
The two played each other in a best-of-five series, though Saelee was able to completely sweep Neubauer in the first three rounds, earning himself a gold trophy and sending Neubauer home with silver. After the match, the emotionally overwhelmed Saelee was rushed by a supportive family member and handed his new trophy.
"This is absolutely a dream", the 16-year-old said through tears of joy," I came to this tournament just to [try to] qualify..."
Neubauer was obviously disappointed by his loss but complimented his opponent's skill, "The kid played with pure heart. [It's] the most clutch Tetris that we've seen from anyone... He had the natural ability and let it shine as bright as he could." Neubauer added that it was "truly an honor" to pass the torch to the next generation of Tetris players.
So, how does a teenager beat a champion during his first tournament? A complex method of high-risk high-reward play called "hyper tapping," which will likely look like little more than button mashing to the uninitiated. The method requires players to tap the d-pad at the correct intervals to speed up the rate at which pieces fall into place. It's not used by many players, though Saelee's victory may inspire some copycats at next year's tournament.
Classic video game tournaments are quite entertaining, and the communities around them tend to be some of the most welcoming. This victory isn't the first major accomplishment in the classic games sphere of late, as a player recently set a speedrun record in Super Mario Bros. that was previously thought to be unattainable by humans.
The question now is whether or not Saelee will be able to hold onto the crown at next year's tournament for the Gaming Hall of Fame inducted title. Neubauer has already said that he'll be back next year, and it would definitely be interesting to see a rematch between the two champions. Who knows, maybe Neubauer will even give the hyper tapping method a try?
Source: Classic Tetris