I’m going to tell you something really important, and I think you might want to sit down.
Are you sitting? Great. Try not to be too intimidated, because it’s really quite the spectacular revelation.
I really don’t want you to treat me any differently when I tell you, either. You’ll probably be tempted to bow down, worshipfully throw rose petals in my wake, etc etc etc.
I urge you not to do these things. Because followed by this announcement will be an equal and opposite announcement that will be just as impressive in its own way, perhaps more for the lesson learned than for the matter/anti-matter reaction that you will no doubt have upon learning both new things I have to tell you.
Are you ready?
I, Colin Wright, am really, really good at Tetris. Like, super-great at it in a way that people stop and watch me play and their jaws drop they’re so in awe of my god-like Tetris-playing abilities.
And now the counter-point. Have you recovered from that first one yet? Okay, I’ll wait.
Good? Alright, here goes:
I, Colin Wright, have gotten so good at Tetris that I am starting to get bad at Tetris, so much so that I don’t let people watch me anymore because it would be, to them, like watching an angel fall from the sky, hearing an orchestra play one golden note before collapsing in a cacophony of metal-on-metal and broken strings, or seeing a baby bunny get punched in the face.
Let me explain.
There comes a point with any skill where the masterfulness of one’s ability starts to overshadow the capacity of the skill to provide new challenges. In this example, regular Tetris could no longer satiate my desire for new challenges, so I began to make up my own games.
I tried handicapping myself, seeing how high I could pile the pieces in random designs, usually getting all the way up to the top, before doing my best to dig back down to the bottom, minor-sacrifice and single-line-point at a time.
Then there’s my ‘Tetris-Only’ version of the game, where I would see how long I could play by only getting 4-line scores (‘Tetrises’). This one lasted for some time, and there are moments when I accidentally set myself up for failure early, but generally once you know what not to do and how to set up the field of play, even this starts to be less of a challenge and more of a waste of time.
You’ve probably reached this point with some skill set as well. You enjoy hula hooping so much that you go on a 14-year hula hoop binge, crashing in your mid-20’s with nothing to fill the void. You can hula those damn hoops like nobody’s business, but it’s just not enough any more.
What do you do next? How do you replace that hula hoop shaped hole in your heart? In your very soul?
I personally have yet to find that timeless, aesthetically-Soviet, very-special, casually-played puzzle game that will make me feel the way that Tetris did, but maybe that’s okay.
Maybe in life, unlike in Tetris, every gap needn’t be filled.
Maybe it’s time to find a new game that will be judged according to new standards and new rules. Maybe it’s time to let the past be the past and clear the way for the future to establish its own, novel point system.
Are you clearing the way for your future, or are you letting the reasons not to pile up and up and up until…game over?
Update: December 11, 2016
“Maybe in life, unlike in Tetris, every gap needn’t be filled.”
I laughed out loud at this line.
I still beat my own high-score sometimes on my laptop-based version of Tetris, but the last time I played the arcade version? A version on which I have achieved high-scores on several machines around the world? I was defeated by a casual player. The joystick/buttons combo is just super-different from the keyboard, and the timing of piece-movement and graphical lag is more important than you might think.