Gamers see how their skills stack up in Winnipeg Tetris tournament

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Gamers see how their skills stack up in Winnipeg Tetris tournament

A group of tetris-master hopefuls are putting their block-stacking skills on display as part of a two-day tournament this weekend.

And the event, happening at the Good Will Social Club, is now an inter-provincial competition.

Participant Sean Brady hitchhiked from Thunder Bay, Ontario to try out, and was live-streaming his performance under the name DarthDreadz on Twitch — an online platform where people can watch video-gamers play.

"It's just really cool to meet like-minded people who are good at Tetris," Brady said.

"When I'm at home and I'm playing Tetris I'm able to zone in, it's kind of like meditation for me. It's almost like knitting for some people, but I play Tetris."

As for his chances for taking the Tetris trophy (and bragging rights) back home to Thunder Bay, Brady is feeling pretty confident.

"I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch, but I think I've got a half-decent chance of at least making it to the finals," he said. In one of his attempts Brady made it to level 21, scoring 463,839 points.

Belloty Kabamba-Braun, another event participant, says she and her husband came out to compete because of their interest in retro games.

Kabamba-Braun said she was gathering inspiration from 1990 Nintendo World Champion Thor Aackerlund.

"I'm absolutely obsessed with him," she said.

If Kabamba-Braun wins the competition, she's already got her sights on what's next.

"I can brag to my husband. Forever."

'Crazy fun' competition inspired by world championships

Cory Ash organized the competition and gathered the necessary old-school CRT TVs and classic Nintendo Entertainment Systems from Kijiji.

Ash says he was inspired by the foundation of the Classic Tetris World Championships in 2010.

He said at that time he was living outside the city, and had a lot of time to spare.

"As I started to play a lot, I started to get in touch with the community and so we did this," Ash said.

"It's nice to get the mind, body interface going, to practise your dexterity, your spatial reasoning… It's crazy fun, it's really gratifying to see things go well, and challenging when it doesn't," Ash said.

Last year the competition had 30 people come out, and Ash expects more this year. 

"I hope that people come to realize that it's a really great spectator sport, it's super awesome to watch a player playing well. I think most people can empathize with what they're seeing and be excited — or disheartened."

What's next

The Saturday portion of the competition is open to everyone who wants to try out, with qualifying from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

On Sunday, the top scores go into a 16-person elimination bracket.

The bracket tournament will have players going head-to-head for the best of three matches, and the final is the best of five with the last two players. The winner takes home a trophy.