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New NES Tetris Technique: Faster Than Hypertapping (2021) [video]


The classic tetris scene has been crazy lately. Rolling (the name of the new strategy) allows players to easily play past the "kill"screen of level 29. Classic tetris matches are becoming endurance matches and we're seeing new records broken left and right of highest score and highest level in both PAL and NTSC versions. For Classic Tetris World Championships they're considering adding a second killscreen by editing the rom to limit the length of matches.


CTWC is yearly, and is neat, but most of the community and talent is developed at the monthy tournaments called Classic Tetris Monthly. The guy in charge, Vandweller, doesn't get nearly the credit he deserves for fostering the communtiy. If you're curious, here is the twitch. They also upload to YouTube under the same name.

CTM is where rolling was first demonstrated. Eric getting to glitched colours happened during CTM. They also had a level 49 line cap (now 39) prior to CTWC this year because they had a full 10 months of tournaments showing the necessity for it. CTWC did not heed their experience, unfortunately. Also the past three champions are frequent winners of CTM. Except Joseph, who used to be a big part of the scene, but he's off to try other things.

Anyways, I recommend CTM over CTWC as a starting point if you're reading this and are curious.


What's the difference between the PAL tetris and North America one?


NTSC being 60Hz and PAL being 50Hz, there is compensation implemented in code such as shorter autorepeat delay (16 to 12 frames) and rate (6 to 4 frames), as well as gravity drop speed past level 10 (-1 frame) to keep the gameplay sort of similar to casual players.

But then details matter at these insane player levels, NTSC is 1 row every 2 frames on levels 19 to 28 then 1 frame starting with 29, but PAL is 1 row every 1 frame ever since 19, so given that frames are not the same duration PAL is comparatively harder than NTSC starting with 19 but easier starting with 29 (... provided one can survive up to that).

So wall-clock PAL gravity ends up being 1.25x faster than NTSC (but with quicker DAS: 1.5x faster delay, 1.33x faster movement), then at 19+ is 1.67x faster, then at 29+ 0.8x "faster".


PAL vs. NTSC differences I suppose?

   NTSC has a frame rate of 30 frames per second (FPS) at an aspect ratio of 720x480, PAL uses a frame rate of 25 FPS and 720x576.


Just FYI, PAL and NTSC are field based, not frame based. PAL is 50 fields per second, and NTSC is 60; a field is either the odd or even lines of the display. So that's 525i/50 or 480i/60

The NES always sends the shorter type of fields, so for NTSC you actually get a little over 60fps with the same 240 lines every fields; it's not standard NTSC timings, it's 240p60; same deal with PAL. The SNES and Genesis could optionally output interlaced video, but only a handful of games did.


A 'second kill screen' would be adding one more level of brick speed before reaching terminal velocity?


No. The killscreen was 29. They couldn't go past it. With rolling they can potentially go much further. To limit the length of games they decided to stop at level 49. Then recently the official kill screen decreased to 39. Any points after level 39 does not count.

Fans and players generally prefer having a lower killscreen, while keeping a high level of gameplay.


For further context, try yourself playing NES Tetris at Level 18 speed - the slowest starting speed used in high-level competition.

It looks very easy when they do it. Almost relaxed and lazy. I'll leave it up to you to find out exactly how easy it is, or isn't. :)

And the speed escalates a great deal from there!


This is cool. Towards the end he shows how using all the fingers of his hand to play the piano creates a similar "rolling" motion. I consider the ease of this "inward stroke" motion when I'm creating passwords I will have to enter often and I do find it saves me some time (and I suspect reduces opportunities for shoulder surfing).


Love the piano example. It’s very cool to see well-established techniques from one discipline transferred to another.

It’s interesting to see that the controller itself is a major limitation rather than human ability or game challenge.


Uh-oh... you just made your password easier to guess. ;-)


Hyper tapping needs 12 taps a second? that's crazy. I just tried on .. at 8.8 clicks/s on my trackpad I feel my veins popping.


The technique appears to be thrumming on the back of the controller such that when you hover a stationary finger over a button, the button presses the finger.


The video mentions a certain amount of pressure, so I suspect it's about keeping the button right above the trigger point, and the jolts from the rolling makes the trigger happen, with the applied pressure allowing the button springiness to jump back above the trigger point between the rolling taps.

It does look like a drum roll:


I would argue that it's not just a drum roll. It's more clever. It's as if someone tried to do a drum roll by hitting the bottom of the drum instead of the top.

To me it feels like it's more complex than just using techniques used elsewhere and applying them to Tetris.


It is, indeed

At the same time it is much more than that. It's the culmination of over 40 years of development in button mashing technique. It's a way of pressing buttons fast that is applicable to any game or action which demand quick button presses.

But the most amazing this is that while it is overwhelmingly powerful in a way that completely removes any doubt about which fundamental technique to use: "das", "hypertapping", now "rolling"; there is now a cambian explosion of ways to hold the controler.

Each rolling player has their own way of using their body to implement their thoughts. I can't wait to know what the future holds, what will be the next answer to: what's the optimal way to input?


looks like a variation of a crab scratch used in turntablism - which requires a suitably lubricated (with teflon wd-40) fader rail.

Pretty damn awesome :)


You can also use graphite if you want bounce at the end of the flick.


In fact this has long been an electric bass playing technique


Wow. I had no idea Tetris was still a big competitive sport. Makes me want to dig out my old NES and give it the technique a try.


aGameScout is a pillar of the community.


Oh wow, a core memory unlocked. Way way back in the day, I remember seeing some of the older kids playing Hyper Olympics by sliding an empty drink bottle back and forth over the 'run' buttons which was apparently faster than just pressing them.