The Tetris World Championship 2018 wrapped up in two extremely intense moments when Joseph Saelee, a 16-year-old from California, not only managed to beat a legend in the classic NES game, but also took the crown from seven-year reigning champion Jonas Neubauer.
Saelee, who only wanted to qualify for the tournament to meet his idol “Tetris” players, almost did not make it to the grand finals. According to Kotaku, he was faced with Japanese grandmaster Koryan in the semi-finals.
The match between Saelee and Koryan was certainly an intense game, but Saelee managed to beat his opponent and secure a spot in the grand finals where he faced long-running champion Neubauer in a fight for the crown.
Those who attended the classic Tetris World Champion 2018, held at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo inside Oregon Convention Center on Oct. 21, was granted with a memorable match up between a wonder kid and a long-time running champion.
Saelee demonstrated some amazing clutch plays in the first match of the grand finals and was able to beat the champion with a lead score of over 66,000 when Neubauer slipped in his brick placements.
Game two was much more intense than the first. Saelee was behind over 106,000 points when he started hitting continuous burns and multiple lines as well as a few tetris along the way. It was only a matter of time before the wonder kid took over the race, but Neubauer was eventually able to catch up to his score.
In this gruelling second round, Saelee was forced to tap out early and watch the reigning champion catch up to his score and exceed it. Unfortunately, Neubauer was not very lucky with the RNG and lost it when the a long bar didn’t show up.
The final round proved more difficult than the second round for Saelee, as he had to make up over 104,000 points after Neubauer tapped out at level 26.
The teenager managed to pull off an amazing comeback – one that helped him beat the long-standing reigning champion and take home the trophy.
Interestingly, the official Tetris Championship Twitter page pointed out that Saelee is now the champion of a game that is 13 years older than him. Now that is something to really think about.
Fun fact: NES Tetris is 13 years older than our current world champion. Almost double in age. 🤷🏻♂️ #CTWX
— Tetris Championship (@TheCTWC) October 22, 2018
While his clutch plays and tuck ins were truly impressive, the fact that Saelee used the technique called “hypertapping” throughout the tournament while playing on a standard, unmodified NES controller took the cake.
This technique is reportedly not easy to maintain, especially during high intensity matches, but somehow the wonder kid pulled it off!
Watch the whole tournament below:
Congratulations to Joseph Saelee for the win!
Images via YouTube / Classic Tetris