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20 Seconds of Tetris Madness

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YouTube / TOJkero

Are you calm? Do you like Tetris? Okay, try to remain calm and watch this 36-second video of a human playing Tetris in realtime. This actually happened. Behold:

A little explanation is in order. This is what's called a Tetris "line race" (also known as a "sprint"), in this case an attempt to clear 40 lines in the minimum possible time. This is the kind of thing top-level Tetris players do when they're bored, and/or want to prove that they are truly the best in the world.

The player here is a Japanese woman player* who goes by "Keroco," and he or she achieved 40 lines in 19.68 seconds. That's the first time that someone has broken the 20-second barrier, and it's astonishing, to say the least. (A few years back, 40 seconds was considered a great time.) Tetris champion Ben Mullen wrote of the feat, "Let me humbly submit that this may be the greatest achievement in the history of gaming. ... This won't make national news. But to be honest, it should."

For more on the achievement, read this Reddit thread and focus on the bit by Kitaru (Alex Kerr), a Tetris Grand Master. If you're into tech, check out this Hard Drop page which includes a link to the replay file. If you'd like to see Keroco's journey to achieve this record, check out Keroco's YouTube page, which shows ten months of progressively faster games.

* = Update, 19 August 2013. Apparently there is some disagreement about whether Keroco is male or female, so I've updated this article slightly.

If this Tetris is a little too fast for you, slow down with Playing to Lose, a feature article I wrote about competitive Tetris earlier this year. It includes no video, and will not make you freak out. I promise.

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Courtesy Ben Barrett-Forrest
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Learn All About Fonts by Playing With These Poker Cards
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Courtesy Ben Barrett-Forrest

Want to learn about fonts? Try playing poker with the Font Deck, a pack of cards designed to help users learn the finer points of typography and font design.

The deck is the work of Canadian designer Ben Barrett-Forrest, who runs a graphic design studio based out of Ontario and the Yukon. In 2014, Barrett-Forrest designed the precursor to the Font Deck, a product called the Design Deck that aimed to teach users about the ins and outs of graphic design. Some of the Design Deck cards feature typography lessons, but the Font Deck—available for $17 a deck on Barrett-Forrest’s website or on Kickstarter—gives the topic a deeper dive.

A male hand holds fanned-out cards next to a Font Deck box and a stack of playing cards.
Courtesy Ben Barrett-Forrest

The deck includes topics like letter anatomy, old style typefaces, the difference between a font and a typeface, and profiles of specific typefaces, like Helvetica. The cards themselves are printed by the same company that makes popular playing cards like Bicycle and Bee, so they’re gambling ready, if you feel like betting your fortune on that slab serif card.

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Dungeons & Dragons Gets a Digital Makeover
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iStock

Since the 1970s, players have been constructing elaborate campaigns in Dungeons & Dragons using nothing but paper, pencils, rule books, and 20-sided dice. That simple formula has made D&D the quintessential role-playing game, but the game's publisher thinks it can be improved with a few 21st-century updates. As The Verge reports, Wizards of the Coast is launching a digital toolset meant to enhance the gaming experience.

The tool, called D&D Beyond, isn’t meant to be a replacement for face-to-face gameplay. Rather, it’s designed to save players time and energy that could be better spent developing characters or battling orcs. The resource includes a fifth-edition rule book users can search by keyword. At the start of a new campaign, they can build monsters and characters within the program. And players don’t need to worry about forgetting to bring their notes to a quest—D&D Beyond keeps track of information like items and spells in one convenient location.

"D&D Beyond speaks to the way gamers are able to blend digital tools with the fun of storytelling around the table with your friends,” Nathan Stewart, senior director of Dungeons & Dragons, said in a statement when the concept was first announced. "These tools represent a way forward for D&D.”

This isn’t the first attempt to bring D&D into the digital age; videogames inspired by the fictional world have been produced since the 1980s. Unlike those titles, though, D&D Beyond will still highlight the imagination-fueled role-playing aspect of the game when it launches August 15.

[h/t The Verge]

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