Tetris is a highly addictive game with a storied history. What many people don’t know is that Tetris is an eSport.
What is it?
Surely all of you know what Tetris is, right? That may be true for a certain age group but there are potentially people who have never tried the game. Kids today eh? Its premise is extraordinarily simplistic. Various shaped blocks travel down the screen and you have to stack these blocks in a way that fills an entire row on the screen. Once you do this the line disappears giving you more space.
As the levels progress the speed ramps up until blocks are coming so fast you can hardly see them. The controls are simple. You can move the blocks left or right, rotate them or speed their descent. Create four rows in a go and get a big bonus (this is possible with a “straight block”.)
History of the game
The game has an interesting story. Legend has it that it was created by the KGB as some kind of thought experiment. There is also a mental ailment named after the game. This is because the game was pretty addictive back in its advent. Tetris syndrome is when you spend so much time playing a game, such as Tetris, that it starts permeating your thoughts and dreams. Any hardcore gamer will probably know that feeling!
A solid choice for an esport?
Solid might not be the right word! It is an intriguing choice. Tetris is by nature a single player game and so players battle to get the highest score. As a consequence, you probably wouldn’t think it’s the most exciting spectator sport in the world. However, I have watched some of the championship finals. They are more entertaining then you might imagine. They pit players against one another and it does create a certain amount of tension. The commentary for the events is fab.
DAS and Hyper tapping
The game even has its own lingo! DAS or Delayed auto shift is the phrase used to describe continuous sideways movement this allows you to rotate slightly quicker. And then there is hyper tapping a skill used by some competitive players in order to get a slightly quicker rotation of their pieces. Debate rages on about whether this presents an advantage and whether it is a skill pro players should learn. The term Tetris is the art of using a long piece in order to complete a run of four rows.
The tournament itself
The Classic Tetris World Championship has been in existence for some 8 years now. The first two years the final was held in LA but it has since been rehomed to Portland, Oregan. The competition is very much old school and contestants use actual NES systems to play the game.
Jonas Neubauer may not exactly be a household name but if you want somebody to arrange tiny little blocks for you. He is undoubtedly your man. The American has appeared in all 9 of the Tetris finals and finished on the right side of all but two of them. Americans feature heavily in the tournaments final positions, but that’s probably to be expected when you consider where they are hosted. The only other nation to come close to winning the tournament is the Japanese.
This article may not have convinced you to take up a career as a Tetris player (the CTWC is the best-paid tournament and the prize is only $1000) or even to watch the sport but at least you know it’s out there. See not all eSports are MOBAS or shooters. Variety does exist in this wonderful world of ours.