Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
  • Jeff Vrabel: The dream of spectator Tetris

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  • There is only one bad thing about Tetris, and that is that you donít play it in front of thousands of people.
    This would be good news for me. Well, it would have been good news for me back in 1992, when I was good at Tetris. This is a dramatic underselling, really, which I am doing so I can write this sentence that builds tension for what I am about to say: I was really, really good at Tetris in 1992. Like, shockingly good. Like probably the best 10th grader on my block good. Like, I really had to start sneaking into school to avoid the adulation from the girls whoíd be all like ďOoh, are you the dude who goes home from school every day and plays Tetris in his brotherís room until itís time for dinner?Ē The life of a celebrity, it can be hard, man.
    Of course, lots of things were different in 1992. My brother had a lot more Color Me Badd CDs in his room than he does now. At least I think he did. We played on an old Nintendo Entertainment System, instead of the virtual-reality dream machines they have now. (Iím visiting a friend in Indiana this week, and heís spent most of it playing a game called Skyrim, in which he, armed with magic and a treasury of metallic medieval weaponry, kills an awful lot of skeletons and skeleton-dogs and zombies. Itís phenomenally realistic and pretty magnificently boring, but I have to admit Iíve never seen skeleton-dog-killing in such lifelike fashion before.) And I had a lot more time to play Tetris, because the only drains on my time were advanced algebra homework and girls, and by that I mean ďadvanced algebra homeworkĒ because there were no girls, because of how much I played Tetris. You donít need a degree to make that connection, ladies and gentlemen.
    But if it were 1992, and I was still good at Tetris (to be honest, I was better at Nintendoís more proprietary cousin, Dr. Mario), I would be delighted beyond compare by news from Henk Rogers, managing director of The Tetris Company, which I really, really, really wish had offered internships the year I graduated from college. Or now. Rogers, who helped migrate Tetris from its icebound Russian homeland to the GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD (thatís us), wants to make Tetris a full-blown, 100 percent, Heís Not Kidding About This spectator sport.
    I know, youíre thinking. Sit around in a crowd of thousands and watch two nerds play Tetris? I KNOW, RIGHT, and I think itís as awesome as idea as you do too. Imagine, the roar of the crowd as someone drops a well-placed L into just the right spot. The drama as a player rotates his little jagged S thing at just the right moment. The unbearable tension of the crowd as the players decide which music to go with: ďFeverĒ or ďChill?Ē
    Page 2 of 2 - Laugh it you want, but who among us hasnít sat around and watched friends play video game? If youíre gonna do it, you might as well be outside with other people, right? Doesnít that sound way better than sitting in a cushionful of Doritos crumbs in a wood-paneled basement? Didnít thousands turn out to watch World Cup games in stadiums and parks across the nation? Donít people watch other boring stuff, like bowling and golf and baseball? I think this idea has tremendous potential. Let me know when it happens, until then Iíll be here watching Skyrim.
    Jeff Vrabel can be reached at jeffvrabel.com, or on Twitter at @jeffvrabel.
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