Tetris Championship Documentary Could Be Next King of Kong

Tetris Championship Documentary Could Be Next King of Kong

Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters gives us a look into the obsessive personalities that vied for the Tetris world championship title in 2010.

There's no disputing the fact that King of Kong, which followed the best Donkey Kong players in the world as they went for the game's high score, is one of the greatest videogame documentaries ever made. Anyone that enjoyed it might also want to look into this film, Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters, which documented similarly skilled Tetris players leading up to the Classic Tetris World Championships of 2010.

The story doesn't begin there, however. The documentary reaches all the way back into 1990 at the Nintendo World Championships where Thor Aackerlund won the Tetris crown and, according to this trailer, has become somewhat of a now-unproven legend. Perhaps he'll be Ecstasy of Order's Billy Mitchell, but without that awesome hair.

One of the best parts of King of Kong was definitely getting to see inside the minds of the hardest of the hardcore Donkey Kong players. Their obsessive inner thoughts about the game were, for some reason, engrossing. Ecstasy of Order doesn't skimp on any of those, with the trailer showing players talking about how Tetris is the "perfect game" and that it's a "history and evolution." One player tells us that to train on Tetris, you have to be "always almost dead," while another says to be successful you have to think 4 or 5 moves ahead in a single second.

If you've been wondering what it takes to be truly good at Tetris on a worldwide scale, it looks like this is the movie for you. Ecstasy of Order is currently in post-production and seeking donations here. Hopefully it'll make it to a final release and we can see if Tetris has a kill screen coming up. If you don't get that, go watch King of Kong right now.

Source: GameSetWatch.

Permalink

Saw this early today, pretty pumped to see how it turns out. I can usually enjoy anything as long as i'm watching people who have tons of passion for what they do.

http://youtu.be/H_tmFUWu9bI

This guy kills it though >.> I can't fathom playing Tetris to that point.

I'm sorry, nobody is a bigger ass than Billy Williams. I want to see who the "Billy" is in this movie.

Mister Benoit:
Saw this early today, pretty pumped to see how it turns out. I can usually enjoy anything as long as i'm watching people who have tons of passion for what they do.

http://youtu.be/H_tmFUWu9bI

This guy kills it though >.> I can't fathom playing Tetris to that point.

I'm a bit of a Tetris pro myself, though nothing special I'm sure when you look at tournament level competition, but I'm encouraged to see in the documentary there is actually a Classic Tetris tournament. The way you see the Japanese play in the video you linked while it looks and still is damn impressive they've really just completely rigged the game so they can play like that. There are a number of 'additions' to the classic Tetris gameplay, such as showing you 3 upcoming pieces instead of 1, letting you store a block, while the blocks drop fast there is a 'floating' effect as the block in play hovers over the blocks. And then the biggest sin of them all, they took out the pure randomness of the blocks by forcing an equal distribution algorithm on it. Watch the blocks as they come up, you will never go more than 10 or so without seeing any specific type, and never get more than two in a row. Probably the hardest thing in any classic version of Tetris is trying to get the 4 line 'tetris' at a higher speed while the Tetris God's are actively working to screw you over.

The way the Japanese do it would be equivalent to playing poker with the dealer stacking the deck to make sure each person around the table gets an equal number of winning hands. That's seriously how the modern Japanese Tetris works. Take the Nintendo DS Tetris which is built in this fashion for example. While it took a few tries to transition to the highest level 20 speed, I got it figured out while stepping onto a ferry and played that same game for the entire 2 hour trip, until I got kind of bored and let myself slip up. Despite how amazing it looked/sounds it was really lightweight stuff. Playing under classic Tetris rules & restrictions at level 10 speed while trying to get as many tetris' as you can for the high score is far more difficult and mentally challenging.

It looks like this documentary will be quite good. I'll have to keep an eye on it and, possibly, throw money at it.

I was massively unimpressed with King of Kong, though. I was even less impressed when the filmmaker went around claiming he had footage of Williams acting "so ugly" that he "couldn't use the complete truth," because after all that's not what a documentary is about, right? ;D

lol... that was me that said you have to be "always almost dead"... In the larger context i was discussing the primary mode of training (gunning for tetris on level 19, but also aluding to some b mode things i sometimes like to do such as 19-2, 18-4, and 15-5) in all examples you are always almost dead... the trick is getting to where your not fully dead ;) Also, i personally guarantee this will surpass that dk movie!

RandV80:
I'm a bit of a Tetris pro myself, though nothing special I'm sure when you look at tournament level competition, but I'm encouraged to see in the documentary there is actually a Classic Tetris tournament.

"Classic" is a tricky word. Even back in the 80's, there were distinct "family trees" of game mechanics emerging. While the Tetris: The Grand Master series is certainly more modern, it does owe a lot to Sega's 1988 arcade release of Tetris. I'd say TGM is a lot more in line with the classics than Tetris DS and the like.

RandV80:
And then the biggest sin of them all, they took out the pure randomness of the blocks by forcing an equal distribution algorithm on it. Watch the blocks as they come up, you will never go more than 10 or so without seeing any specific type, and never get more than two in a row.

Mmm, not quite. While games such as Tetris DS do have a strictly enforced regular distribution of pieces, -- shuffle the 7 pieces, deal them out, repeat -- games in the Tetris Grand Master series merely re-roll a few times before giving a piece that has been seen recently. Droughts and repetition are much less common, but they can and do happen. This is similar to the system employed in NES Tetris, where the game will attempt a second roll in the case of direct repetition. (Well, it's a bit more complicated than that, -- there is a 1/8th chance per piece it'll skip the anti-repetition roll -- but NES has a tendency against dealing the same piece twice in a row.)

RandV80:
Probably the hardest thing in any classic version of Tetris is trying to get the 4 line 'tetris' at a higher speed while the Tetris God's are actively working to screw you over.

The system in NES Tetris is certainly a lot closer to "pure" randomization, but you pick the mechanics that suit the game you're trying to make. TGM puts its focus on appropriately handling the restrictions of max gravity and beyond. Given that its higher speeds put you in a position where one poor choice or hesitation could mean a loss of control, it would be a bit inappropriate if the game was also throwing you curveballs in terms of the piece sequence.

RandV80:
Take the Nintendo DS Tetris which is built in this fashion for example. While it took a few tries to transition to the highest level 20 speed, I got it figured out while stepping onto a ferry and played that same game for the entire 2 hour trip, until I got kind of bored and let myself slip up. Despite how amazing it looked/sounds it was really lightweight stuff. Playing under classic Tetris rules & restrictions at level 10 speed while trying to get as many tetris' as you can for the high score is far more difficult and mentally challenging.

In this sense, I think that TGM is truer to the design of "classic" games than games such as Tetris DS. Whereas most modern games hold your hand with rotation rules that allow you to climb over mistakes or lockdown rules that give you as much time as you need to think, TGM gives you only the tools you need to succeed and forces you to overcome the challenges its restrictions present. Unlike Tetris DS, it doesn't merely allow you to play the maximum gravity just as you had all the levels before it -- you've got to play the game on its terms and learn how to survive what it throws at you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RScX2EwdvzA may look very different compared to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfBuymgIh20 , but they share more in common than you'd think. It's difficult to appreciate these things from just watching a couple videos rather than playing the games for oneself, -- Because, of course, the pros make it look so easy! :) -- but I feel that both NES and TGM are faithful to that "easy to learn, hard to master" philosophy. They certainly approach challenge in their own separate ways, but I think what each game accomplishes is quite beautiful in its own right.

Hopefully the documentary is better than the trailer. I would of rather watched game play footage from championships through out the whole trailer then people bragging how long they have been playing, which doesn't say anything about their skill level at all.

Ben Mullen:
lol... that was me that said you have to be "always almost dead"... In the larger context i was discussing the primary mode of training (gunning for tetris on level 19, but also aluding to some b mode things i sometimes like to do such as 19-2, 18-4, and 15-5) in all examples you are always almost dead... the trick is getting to where your not fully dead ;) Also, i personally guarantee this will surpass that dk movie!

Oh, I took it to mean in your head, psychologically... that's much different ha ha.

I thought "beyond the game" was better, but then I really like warcraft.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here