13 Year Old Makes Tetris History – and the Media Immediately Ridicules Him for It

Late last year, Blue Scuti made Tetris history. The media mocked him for the incredible achievement. The comments generated a heated response.

Late last year, classic NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) Tetris player, Blue Scuti, did what no other human player had done. Scuti got far enough into Tetris that the game crashed. Up to that point, no one had ever accomplished something that monumental. The video of the full run as well as a subsequent interview was posted onto YouTube:

What came out of this was that his mother was very supportive of this. She could be seen giving him a high five. A shirt was also made, capping off the incredible moment the game crashed as well. Further, Scuti dedicated the moment to his father who tragically passed away earlier on in December. On some level, I have an idea what he is going through because my own mother passed away on the very same month his father passed away. Long story short, something like that is extremely difficult to have to deal with.

This moment was something I was planning on writing about earlier, but only now got a chance to do a writeup on.

If a lot about this achievement is going over your head, there’s another video by aGameScout that breaks down the accomplishment:

For the Tetris community, these are incredibly exciting times because we are seeing a whole lot of exciting activity going on. Scuti’s run did inspire others to try and go for a game crash and Fractal became the second player to accomplish this earlier this month:

Yesterday, P1xelAndy would become the third player to accomplish this:

Other players are now attempting to go for this. Today, there was a stream of DogPlayingTetris trying to go for a game crash as well. In all likelihood, there will eventually be others that will get to achieving the game crash as well.

All of this is extremely exciting and you could easily see how much inspiration Scuti’s run gave others to attempt this massive milestone.

A News Anchor Responds

While all of the above is incredible to witness and should be celebrated, it seems that the mainstream media wasn’t in as much of a celebratory mood. One news anchor showed the accomplishment and ridiculed Scuti for making such an accomplishment:

In the event the clip ever gets taken down, here’s a transcript of what was said in the clip:

Now Tetris has long been touted as a video game that just can’t be beaten because it just goes on and on. (clip shows the moment the crash happened)

Well, 13 year old American, Willis Gibson has technically proven that wrong. He beat the original Nintendo version of the game by reaching such a high level that the coding froze. That left the program unable to generate any more falling blocks.

As a mother, I would just say, “step away from the screen. Go outside, get some fresh air. Beating Tetris is not a life goal (said while smiling and chuckling. She laughs and continues on). Speaking of fresh air, let’s get a look of the weather!

(note that Willis Gibson is the real name of Blue Scuti)

The comment was completely unecessary. If the anchor was looking for a way to segue to the weather, there are, by far, much better ways of accomplishing this. Something like, “The accomplishment suggests that there are much brighter days ahead for the Tetris community. Speaking of brighter days, let’s look at the weather.” You really could go on and on about better ways of handling this.

What has gotten a lot of people upset is the fact that while this was going on, the same news organization (some say it was the same anchor, but I have no means of confirming it) was praising a 16 year old dart player for his success in professional dart throwing competitions.

A very obvious question is, “Why is professional darts somehow this acceptable thing, but Tetris is not?” This is not to detract from what the dart pro is doing. I’m sure it’s a great accomplishment in its own right. Yet, at the same time, if someone is playing Tetris to an unprecedented level, that this sort of thing doesn’t count as something great? It doesn’t make any sense at all.

The only thing this does is feed into stereotypes that if it somehow involves a computer, then it’s not an accomplishment. If you build up a massive YouTube following, it’s not something to be proud of. If you are generating interest in the news through TikTok, that is something to be concerned about rather than something that should be approved of. The stereotypes are completely unwarranted.

Online Community Backlash

Unsurpisingly, the online community is not taking too kindly to this. The Rational National posted a video about this talking about how incredibly ridiculous it was that this kind of attitude is:

Along with his reaction comments, he also pointed out how big the gaming sector actually is in comparison to other entertainment industries. He also points out that what the anchor is doing is not really a tough job when you compare it to what Scuti did.

Ludwig also posted his comments on the incident:

As Ludwig points out, the differences between sports and video games is ultimately arbitrary. Humans created the rules surrounding the sports being played. Humans created the video games that people are playing. One generally has more physical activity than the other, but the differences when it comes to major accomplishments is non-existent. You did something great in basketball. Great, you did an amazing thing. You did something great in Tetris. Great, you did something amazing. There should not be a difference here in terms of reaction.

Falling Trust in Traditional Media

In countries including Canada, there has been an ongoing debate about the falling trust in the media in general. Whether it is obvious bias politically, simply getting basic facts wrong on a regular basis, or just pandering to special interests while pushing messaging instead of doing their jobs, there are numerous reasons why trust in the media is falling.

To a degree, there is a real generational divide when it comes to how people get their information. For traditional media, their audiences skews towards the boomer generation and away from younger audiences. Part of the reasoning is that the coverage is meant to pander to the older generations rather than embracing younger generations tastes and interests.

In that light, it’s not surprising that traditional media outlets are losing their audience to other platforms like YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Spotify, and other platforms. There is this general attitude that if the younger generation isn’t doing something approved by the wider boomer generation, then it’s something that should be scorned and ridiculed.

For instance, look at traditional media as they cover pretty much any kind of well known live sporting event. If someone breaks a scoring record in hockey, people in the media will heap praise onto that player for accomplishing something so incredible. If a baseball player does something incredible, generally, the media is very receptive to that accomplishment. Older generations have no problem with NFL players doing great accomplishments.

Yet, when people do incredible things online, invariably, the reception is not so great. When YouTuber’s get hundreds of thousands of followers for doing things on YouTube, at best, the reception is that it’s an interesting accomplishment, but maybe someday, that person can go on to make a real accomplishment. When someone on TikTok generates interest in the news for younger generations, the response is generally that misinformation is clearly ruining the internet. With the booming video game cultural landscape, the reaction tends to be something along the lines of video game addiction is terrible, how can we slow the spread? It’s insulting the cultural norms of younger generations through and through.

Plain and simple, younger generations these days grew up with the internet. The only real question is where you entered into the picture. Are you like me and grew up experiencing the wonder of this program called “Napster”? Were you growing up right when YouTube was taking off? Do you remember chatting on IRC channels back in the day? Was the Playstation 3 or XBox 360 your first console? People like us grew up on computer technology.

When the media, in general, attacks video games or social media or anything internet related in general, that is the generation they are attacking and ridiculing. How do you think that generation is going to respond to that scorn and ridicule? Easy: they tune out. They go away from sources that make them feel uncomfortable and go to sources that do make them feel comfortable.

So, is it really that big of a surprise that the audiences are shifting to online sources for information? No, not in the slightest. Why would younger generations tune into a TV broadcast that spends all day telling them that what they enjoy is somehow wrong or bad for their health or otherwise unacceptable? It makes no sense. They are going to go to sources where their interests are actually very acceptable for a change. If that means YouTube, Facebook, or TikTok, then it means online platforms like that. All of this is not rocket science.

One of the things I’ve heard over and over again through Canada’s link tax law debate (AKA the Online News Act debate), media companies went running to politicians to bemoan the fact that their audiences are shrinking. They are losing money. People are going to social media instead of tuning into them. They whine about how they can’t compete against platforms that are so big and have all the audiences. One of my responses to this was to start innovating for a change and find ways of seeking those audiences. Large media companies have the financial capacity to do this, yet they chose not to.

I’m sure these complaints of shrinking audiences aren’t exclusive to Canadian media companies. I’m sure companies from other parts of the world like the United States and the UK have made similar grumblings already. Yet, when I look at incidences like this, the reasons why people are tuning out is extremely obvious to me. When you spend your days insulting your audience, your audience eventually leaves. It doesn’t get any more obvious than this.

While some might focus on the asinine comments made by the anchor, the attitidues of how younger generations interests are invalid go far beyond these comments. This just happens to be yet another flashpoint in this cultural and generational divide. It’s the symptom of a much wider problem with the mainstream media and why more and more people tend to trust online sources more and more.

If these attitudes of the mainstream media simply continues, well, members of the older generation are dying off little by little as time goes on. Those numbers are just going to continue shrinking until the businesses in question become financially unviable. SkyNews beautifully highlighted why I believe this is a very self-inflicted problem. I’m not going to feel sorry for news organizations that do stuff like this one day going under. A course correction could’ve prevented things like that from happening long ago, but when you choose not to, well, all I can say is that the news businesses going under is a situation entirely of their own making.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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