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Placing the items collectively | The Tech

Placing the items collectively | The Tech

2024-02-10 03:00:26

Campus Life
student spotlight

Meet Justin Yu ’25, Tetris world champion

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Justin Yu ’25 wins the 2023 Traditional Tetris World Championship.


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Justin Yu ’25 wins the 2023 Traditional Tetris World Championship


Title and Class: Justin Yu, Class of 2025 
Areas of Research: Main in Course 6-3, Minor in Music Know-how
Residing Group: Subsequent Home
House State: Dallas, TX
Actions: Video Sport Orchestra, Tetris

This interview has been edited for size and readability.

Justin Yu ’25 has lately grow to be simply the second particular person ever to beat Tetris and is the reigning champion of the Tetris World Championship. Justin sat down with The Tech to debate technique, math, Tetris variations, and the way forward for the world’s most well-known sport of colourful blocks.

Justin didn’t grow to be the most effective simply by luck; he put within the hours.


How lengthy have you ever been enjoying Tetris?

This model of Tetris [Classical Tetris], 5 years. Random variations of Tetris, I performed many for a few years earlier than, however by no means for greater than an hour at a time.

However that was earlier than I began enjoying severely. Now, it’s like, three or 4 hour classes.


How would you clarify your Tetris methods to the common particular person?

Opposite to what most would consider, the objective is definitely to not make the board look as good as doable. Primarily, the sport of Tetris is simply to outlive so long as you may whereas concurrently searching for tetrises, which happen whenever you get an extended, straight block that wipes out a number of rows in a single single drop. 


What’s the distinction between Classical Tetris and Fashionable Tetris?

So, Fashionable Tetris provides plenty of quality-of-life issues that can be utilized to make the sport [streamlined to user experience]. The stuff that Fashionable Tetris provides is like extra depth, however it additionally makes the objective of survival simpler. So, NES Tetris is a sport all about survival, so that you aren’t given as many instruments.

What instruments am I speaking about? For instance, in the event you don’t just like the piece you don’t have proper now, in Fashionable, you could have the chance to carry it. That’s not an choice right here [in Classical Tetris]. Nonetheless, in Fashionable Tetris, you’re typically given three or 4 items that you could have a look at sooner or later. And in Fashionable, they’ve this particular randomizer that’s meant to be actually honest, however this idea was not found out in 1989, so we don’t have that. Thus, items are just a little extra chaotic and the problem of surviving is rather a lot larger. Each time this comes up, I wish to stress that I don’t assume Fashionable is less complicated or worse as a result of it has, like, all these additional mechanics.


How are you going to clarify Classical Tetris methods? Just like the rolling approach, for instance?

Rolling is sort of out of necessity for the sport as a result of the sport doesn’t give nice motion choices out of the field. So, having the ability to look ahead to items is possibly a very powerful a part of the sport. And simply fundamental chance, the longer you’re capable of wait, the extra possible it’s that there’s a bit that you really want.

What this implies is that having the ability to transfer left and proper as quick as doable is extraordinarily necessary, and the sport provides you a extremely gradual auto-repeat mechanism that solely goes like 10 frames per second, which is first rate, however not nice. The way in which we get round that is this method that presses the button as many instances as doable. We break up the load over all 5 of our fingers, and we use the again of the controller as a result of it has a wider floor space than the precise button itself. So, if we do this, it creates this rolling movement the place you’re getting all 5 of your fingers on the controller, that’s the place it comes from. We are able to attain as much as 30 frames a second.


How do you apply the ideas of mathematical fixing to a sport like Tetris?

I did plenty of math competitions in highschool, so I feel having that mind has helped me right here. The primary ability I feel I’ve over my opponents is that I’m continuously analyzing each single placement, simply this concept of self-evaluation and all the time contemplating the most effective choices. On the entire, I feel that sort of helps in the case of drawback fixing.

For one thing extra technical, I sort of see enhancing in Tetris as principally performing reinforcement studying on your self, however that’s one other rabbit gap.


What recommendation would you give to somebody making an attempt to get into Tetris?

An important factor is to make sure you really benefit from the sport. I see loads of folks begin moving into Tetris and resolve they wish to be aggressive only for the sake of competitiveness, not out of enjoyment. As for a kind of coaching routine, I primarily advocate working towards the slower ranges. Identical to the rest, getting good at Tetris is only a matter of follow and dedication. One other tip that’s gone a great distance for me is watching Tetris streams — being concerned in Tetris as a lot as you may is the important thing to enhancing.

How do you steadiness your Tetris life with different commitments like Video Sport Orchestra?

I feel it’s only a matter of creating positive that I get all of the important stuff achieved first, so then I can play Tetris afterwards if I would like. I feel this most significantly comes up every time I’ve to journey for world championships as a result of this implies I’m lacking a number of days of faculty. I all the time guarantee that I’m finishing my homework for that interval effectively prematurely, in order that I don’t have to fret or stress about it.

Does this imply you solved Classical Tetris? Do you assume you’ll nonetheless be capable to prime your rating skillswise?

So, you may crash the sport by enjoying a single at 1489 strains. However as we noticed — that’s the one I did, at E89 besides it’s single — it’s additionally doable to not, like another line clear. It seems, by ensuring that you simply’re clearing a special quantity of strains than those which have an opportunity of inflicting a crash, you may simply keep away from it. So, you may play eternally or you may play on a particular mode we made that truly fixes the crash, and because of this we will simply fear about scoring.

Would you describe your self as aggressive? Did the latest information of somebody beating Tetris encourage you to do the identical?

Technically, I impressed [Willis Gibson]! 

Editor’s word: Gibson was the primary particular person to beat Tetris on the age of 13.

I feel competitors helps me make much less foolish choices simply because there’s an precise risk of anyone else attending to the objective earlier than me, however on the whole, I wish to go for classes that I make up and simply play at my very own tempo. On the subject of chasing the world report, for aggressive head-to-head competitions, it’s completely different.


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How do you anticipate the Tetris group to enhance skillswise? Do you assume we’re reaching the ability ceiling?

I feel folks have been pondering we’re gonna die off and have peaked for the previous few years; I don’t know, it is sort of tough.

One factor I might say is that attending to the sport crash and getting past the sport crash, I don’t assume I’ve really examined the ability ceiling that a lot. What I discover extra fascinating is enjoying shorter video games, however going for extra Tetrises, and taking extra dangers within the course of. That’s the sort of format that the head-to-head competitions are going to be utilizing, and that’s nonetheless extraordinarily removed from being optimized.

I feel we nonetheless have a little bit of life in that division.


Do you assume you combine your Tetris expertise into your on a regular basis life?

Tetris has had a serious affect on how I take into consideration randomness. For instance, it’s very onerous for people to estimate when issues will happen, and a giant a part of that’s recognizing that issues are literally unbiased. Like, if there’s an occasion with two outcomes of equal chance and the occasion has occurred as simply one of many outcomes the previous ten instances, the chance that the following occasion may have the alternative end result remains to be simply 50%, not any larger.


You talked about in earlier interviews that your future objective is to assist run Tetris web sites and tournaments as an alternative of taking part in them. What impressed this transformation of tempo?

Nothing actually particular. I’ve simply been to a bunch of dwell occasions over a few years of enjoying, and I really like assembly folks there, and I really like enjoying Tetris there. And that’s all due to the work of people who find themselves all the time working within the background, the stuff behind the scenes.

There’s this large management heart with all these wires connecting TVs and sport cartridges and simply maintaining all of that working, and ensuring folks present up on time to large efforts, and this one which I feel goes unappreciated. 

Really, a few weeks in the past, I had my likelihood to host my very own occasion right here.


Was that Tetris occasion publicized? Would you say there’s a energetic Tetris scene at MIT?

It wasn’t really publicized. We nonetheless ended up having like 50 to 60 folks present up by phrase of mouth and getting associates to attend.

I might not say that [there is a Tetris scene at MIT]. It was principally folks coming in from the surface, however possibly there could possibly be.

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