Lessons from the Tetris Ninjas

Look at this!

And here’s a trailer for Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters, a documentary about the Classic Tetris World Championship.

I love the enthusiasm of these guys. Luke & Michael want to hang out with people who are as excited by improvisation as they are by the descent of colourful boxy shapes. So … what can we aspiring improvisers learn from Tetris ninjas?

  1. Keep practising! To get this good requires many, many hours of patient work.
  2. Stop thinking! It’s clearly impossible to place all these shapes while thinking about where they go and how to put them there. Learn to trust your fingers.
  3. Get yourself in trouble! The only really exciting parts of these games of Tetris, for the player and the spectator, are the appalling gutters that emerge down the right-hand side of the screen, awaiting blessed redemption from a Christ-like thin piece. Without trouble, there is no excitement.
  4. Start at Level 18! Why bore everyone by easing into a performance with the simplest game possible?
  5. Embrace failure! It is impossible to win at Tetris. Dying is a Beckettian inevitability. The sooner you realise you can never truly succeed as an improviser, only fail with greater or lesser glory, the better.
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One Comment on “Lessons from the Tetris Ninjas”

  1. Awesome. Let us all fall on our mime swords together.


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