Tetris is one of those games that feels like it's always been there, but that's likely because it's been ported to virtually every electronic device over the last thirty years and has sold close to half a billion copies over its total run. One would think that by this point, somebody would've come along that's managed to max out the score on the original release, but it still hasn't been done.
Vice recently caught up with Uli Horner – the current high score world champ for the original Game Boy Tetris – to discus his experiences with the game. Horner's record sits at 441 lines and 748,757 points, though he claims that he's done better off-camera.
I got 889,000 points at one point, which is the best I've ever been. That was before I knew anything about recording my attempts, to send away to Twin Galaxies. So the Twin Galaxies score, which I set in 2011, is the official record, but it's lower than the best I've got. Filming yourself as you set the score means that you can't cheat. You're not allowed to pause, to take a break—you have to set your score in a single run.
Uli is one of the few who still plays the original release, which he claims isn't too popular in the competitive scene. This is due largely to the truly random nature by which the blocks will spawn, something which Horner even admits is quite frustrating.
Game Boy Tetris is horrible in a way because you get genuinely random pieces. It's truly random—it's always a one in seven chance, so you can always end up with horrible combinations that just kill you. All the other versions of Tetris have something readable in there—allegedly, it's easier to consistently play well on other versions. So even I will mess up games on the Game Boy version, which is really frustrating, because you're beating the bell curve—you have to play a thousand times to get a few nice games. Some of the other versions, you can approach them with tactics that will always work.
For the full interview, check it out here; it's a fascinating look at the competitive side of Tetris.
What do you think? What's your best score on Tetris? Do you still play the original? Share your thoughts in the comments below.