Imagine the story of David and Goliath, but instead of swords and slings, they were armed with NES controllers.
Jonas Neubauer, considered by many to be the GOAT when it comes to Tetris, has faced champions in Europe and Grand Masters in Japan but has always appeared cool and level-headed as he methodically took each of them down.
His reign finally came to an end, however, at this year’s Classic Tetris World Championship in Portland, Oregon where 37-year-old Neubauer was bested by 16-year-old Tetris up-and-comer, Joseph Saelee.
Saelee reached the finals and won three games against Neubauer for a decisive victory against the reigning champ.
“I got a little bit swept there,” Neubauer said in a post-match interview.
“No offense,” the interviewer responded, “but you got a lot swept.”
Unlike most top-tier players, Saelee utilizes “hyper-tapping,” a technique where the player has to tap the directional arrow extremely fast and at precise intervals to move each Tetris piece opposed to simply holding down the directional button. In order to be effective, the technique requires Saelee to make approximately 10 button presses per second. It’s a risky play style and extremely difficult to master but it clearly paid off in the end.
“I don’t know how to feel. I’m still recovering. It’s absolutely a dream,” said the teen, a huge smile on his face. “ 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.”