A 16-year-old Tetris sensation from California burst into tears of joy after he defeated a seven-time champion to win the block-stacking game’s world title.
Joseph Saelee plays Tetris on a Nintendo console which dates back to 1985 – more than a decade before he was born.
A large crowd erupted in applause after the teenager defeated reigning champion Jonas Neubauer in the championship finals in Portland, Oregon.
Saelee – who is said to have ‘played this game like nobody else in history’ – revealed he practises two hours a day the old-fashioned gaming console, BBC News reported.
Joseph Saelee (left) plays the block-stacking game on a Nintendo console which dates back to 1985 – more than a decade before he was born. He defeated reigning champion Jonas Neubauer (right) in the championship finals in Portland, Oregon
He said: ‘My friends are like, what is this guy playing. Tetris is easy to learn but it can take years to master.’
‘I feel like I could still improve – it isn’t just a one-time thing.’
A gracious Neubauer said it was an ‘honour to pass the torch’ to the teenage Tetris sensation, according to Kotaku.
‘He just really had the ability, had the natural ability, and let it shine as bright as he could in his first tournament,’ Neubauer said, praising the teenager’s ‘pure heart’.
Neubauer had won seven of the previous eight tournaments.
One pundit had described the final match-up as ‘the 16 year old who has played this game like nobody else in history against the champion who is the greatest in history’.
The two finalists embraced and a large crowd erupted in applause after Saelee’s triumph in the Tetris world championships. Neubauer had won seven of the previous eight tournaments
Saelee won the best-of-five final in three games, deploying a difficult ‘hyper-tapping’ style which proved too much for the reigning champion.
The audience at the Retro Gaming Expo in Portland rose to their feet to applaud the new champion at the end of the final.
Tetris, which was invented in 1984, is almost two decades older than the current world champion.
The Nintendo Entertainment System – known as the NES – on which Saelee practises his Tetris was first released to the public in 1985.
The tournament, which began in 2010, was modelled on the Nintendo World Championships which was first held in the United States in 1990.
TIMELINE: THE HISTORY OF TETRIS
1984: Russian computer programmer Alexey Pajitnov creates the game of Tetris
1990: Tetris features at the inaugural Nintendo World Championships
2009: Harry Hong achieves the highest possible score of 999,999 points
2010: The first World Championship takes place, won by Jonas Neubauer in the first of his seven titles
2018: Neubauer is defeated by 16-year-old Joseph Saelee from California