Ecstasy of Order

tetris

Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters’ is a 2011 American documentary film that follows the lives of several gamers from around the country as they prepare to compete in the 2010 ‘Classic Tetris World Championship’ held in Los Angeles.

It recounts the development and rise of Tetris as one of the most-played video games of all-time, the role it has played in shaping the lives of the gamers it chronicles, the mystery surrounding the whereabouts of former Nintendo World Champion Thor Aackerlund, and the conception and execution of the first ever Classic Tetris World Championship by gaming enthusiast Robin Mihara.

The films opens with an Oregon-based Tetris enthusiast by the name of Robin Mihara, longing to track down the best Tetris players in the nation for the purpose of organizing a competition. In his search he discovered ‘Twin Galaxies,’ a website which has been tracking video game world records since the 1980s. He learns of record-holders and top scorers like Jonas Neubauer & Harry Hong (both of whom have maxed out with a high score of 999,999), Ben Mullen (world-record holder for most lines with 296), Dana Wilcox, and Jesse Kelkar. In addition, he seeks to reconnect with several of the top players from the heyday of NES and Tetris—competitors from 1990’s ‘Nintendo World Championships’—Trey Harrison and Thor Aackerlund, the latter of whom claims to have reached the seemingly unattainable Level 30.

Little has been heard of Thor Aackerlund since his rise to notoriety as the poster child for video gaming in the 1990s. Video game skills are described by Mihara in the film as, ‘the cornerstone of a very difficult life [for Thor].’ Regardless of his reluctance, Aackerlund is able to put the past behind him and agrees to participate. With the addition of competitors like Matt Buco and Bay area Tetris Grandmaster Alex Kerr, the stage is set to for the top eight competitors to go head-to-head in Los Angeles, vying for the title of Tetris Champion in the first ever Classic Tetris World Championship.

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