A new way to play NES Tetris has recently been discovered, and it’s leading to new world records. The new strat involves rolling your fingers on the controller while applying pressure to the d-pad. Sounds a bit strange, but it’s already got the attention of players looking to improve their game.
A video posted by YouTuber aGamescout last week goes over “rolling,” a new way to play NES Tetris.
Before rolling, there were two ways pros played Tetris on NES to achieve records or win competitions. “DAS” is just the standard way to play Tetris, using the d-pad to move pieces left and right. But another way to play is called “hypertapping.” This involves hitting the d-pad with lots of quick presses, resulting in faster movement. While this method is effective, it took the community a long time to fully embrace it. It wasn’t until 2018, after a young player won a prestigious competition using hypertapping, that more players starting using it. Now, in 2021, its become the most popular movement technique among top pros. But hypertapping is hard to master and can quickly strain your muscles and fingers, or even cause minor hand injuries.
Enter Tetris player Cheez_Fish, who in late 2020 began experimenting with a new style of hitting the d-pad. Inspired by some other quick tapping techniques created by speedrunners and high-score players, Cheez_Fish began trying to figure out a way to roll their fingers across the d-pad in a smooth, continuous motion. This could, in theory, be faster and easier on the hands.
Eventually, in November 2020, Cheez_Fish figured out that they could roll their fingers on the back of the controller while pressing the d-pad buttons in the desired direction using a slight amount of pressure. Done properly, this allowed Cheez_Fish to move pieces in NES Tetris faster than anyone had done using hypertapping. And now, in 2021, they have set records and won tournaments using this technique.
Other players have noticed and have begun trying to learn how to roll. One player, TegaMech, created a version of rolling that used his foot to hold the controller steady.
For now rolling isn’t widely used, but as more players look to increase their skills and move up the rankings, this new method could be a big way to get better at Tetris on NES without having to potentially injure yourself in the process.
(Updated 3/3/22 with new details)