Pierce Sarmiento, MCC music major, is the fastest Tetris player in Arizona.Having been around since 1984, Tetris is a game that has players manipulate and arrange blocks of different shapes into horizontal lines without gaps. When a line is created, it disappears.
The goal is to make as many lines disappear as possible.
In the world ranking of players who submit their scores, Sarmiento ranks 14th.
It takes the No. 1 player 22.90 seconds to clear 40 lines of blocks. Sarmiento’s time is 28.407 seconds.
“I started playing Tetris about two years ago,” Sarmiento said. “I love the mentally challenging nature and the competitive aspect of the game. That’s why now I’m addicted to it.”
Seeing him playing Tetris on a keyboard is jaw-dropping because his fingers move as quickly as the blocks fall on the screen.
“Since I’m used to the game, arranging blocks has become second nature.
“So, I don’t have to think about it too much,” Sarmiento said. “It gives me the freedom to focus on a long term goal, usually being how to beat the game as fast as possible.”
Tetris requires a lot of thinking and concentration to keep things under control.
“It’s just as strategic as chess,” Sarmiento said. “You make one mistake and it’s really hard to recover.”
Spending one to two hours every day playing Tetris, Sarmiento believes it helps improve his focus and attention span.
“I’d like to have an opportunity to show people what Tetris is about because there is more to it than they think,” Sarmiento said.
Becoming a top player is hard, and trying to keep that status is even harder.
Top players have to break down the game and try new things in order to understand the game better. Some of them, including Sarmiento, have developed their own strategy and tricks to help them come out on top.
“The more skillful you get at the game, the harder it is to beat your own record,” Sarmiento said. “When I break a record by just a few milliseconds, it inspires me to spend another week or month trying to set a new one.