Tetris President Henk Rogers reacts to teen who beat the game

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In December, a 13-year-old Oklahoma boy became the first person believed to ever “beat” the original Nintendo version of the classic video game Tetris. Willis Gibson is known to the gaming world as “blue scuti.”

At level 157, Gibson reached the notorious “kill screen” — the point in the game where it becomes unplayable because of limitations with the game’s original programming. It took him less than 39 minutes.

The game was invented in 1985 by Russian video game designer Alexey Pajitnov and released in the United States in 1989, shepherded by entrepreneur and now-Hawaiʻi resident Henk Rogers.

The Conversation talked to Rogers, president of the Tetris Company, about the gaming milestone.

“He basically got the program to run out of memory,” Rogers said. “It’s an amazing achievement. I mean, it’s like a tremendous amount of perseverance, determination for him to get to where he ended up.”

Rogers has been on a mission to use his money and influence to make a difference in solving climate change. He started the Hawaiʻi-based Blue Planet Foundation and the New York-based Blue Planet Alliance for international matters.

“If a bunch of kids can beat Tetris, we can beat climate change,” Rogers added.

This story aired on The Conversation on Jan. 10, 2024. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

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