Normally, when you do something amazing like winning a tournament or beating an impossible game, you celebrate and get congratulated for your accomplishment. That was definitely true for 13-year-old Tetris master Willis “Blue Scuti” Gibson, who became the first known human to “beat” the classic NES game over the holidays. However, one anchor at British news outlet Sky News thinks that’s a load of shit, as she said the boy wonder should “go outside” because “beating Tetris isn’t a life goal.”
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On January 4, VGC features editor Chris Scullion posted a short snippet of a Sky News segment on Twitter. The segment featured anchor Jayne Secker, who’s been with the British free-to-air news network since 2002, reporting on Blue Scuti’s monumental achievement in a mocking tone, chuckling as she dismissed the feat by saying the teen should “get some fresh air.”
“Now, Tetris has long been touted as a video game that just can’t be beaten because it just goes on and on,” Secker said. “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 that the coding froze, [which] 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.”
As you can guess, folks dragged the anchor for her comment about Blue Scuti. Some were baffled that Sky News would deem the story worthy of coverage only to laugh at the teenager in the end. Others said they would be proud if their child accomplished something similar. Most believed it was smug of Secker to say such things about games. Even Bhavina Bharkhada, the head of communications at the UK’s games industry trade body UKIE, was in disbelief, saying that if Blue Scuti was a child chess champion instead, he’d “be invited to Downing Street to play chess.”
Let’s put our pitchforks and torches away for a moment to contextualize this. It’s no secret that screen time among adolescents and kids has risen since the covid-19 pandemic, with some studies suggesting it jumped 17 percent between 2019 and 2021. Researchers are reportedly worried that this excessive screen time has stayed high over the last few years, which could lead to myriad mental and physical health problems if left unchecked.
However, those are broad, big-picture statistics and cultural concerns, and Gibson is one individual kid. Secker has no idea whether or not Blue Scuti is truly spending an unhealthy amount of time playing Tetris. Even Blue Scuti’s mom, Karin Cox, in an interview with The New York Times, said that she doesn’t mind her son playing video games—as long as his chores are done.
“I’m actually OK with it,” Cox, a high school math teacher, said. “He does other things outside of playing Tetris, so it really wasn’t that terribly difficult to say OK. It was harder to find an old CRT TV than it was to say, ‘Yeah, we can do this for a little bit.’”
Kotaku reached out to Sky News for comment.
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So, yeah, Sky News should reconsider making such sweeping judgments before mocking a feat that was previously only done by AI. Blue Scuti is a master Tetris player for reaching the iconic puzzler’s “true kill screen,” as the competitive community has called it. Go get your bag, Blue Scuti. You deserve it.