Tetoris: One Woman's Odyssey

by Scott Lydon

Roughly 400 hours ago, forum mod Pemberducky took on a brave challenge: to let Flash game Tetoris run for as long as it could. Now, for maybe the first time in mankind's history, you'll be able to see a Tetoris game from start to finish.

HOUR ZERO: Pemberducky is talked into beginning her journey into madness. How bad could it be? she thinks as the first piece drops. Little does she know, this empty slate is about to become her prison… for over two weeks straight.

More after the jump…

96 HOURS: Pemberducky posts her first real screenshot. Note the clustering? That's where she got bored and decided to play a little. Note how that stops? That's where she gave up in frustration after figuring out it takes roughly half an hour straight before even getting close to completing a line.

116 HOURS: Now the tetrominos are beginning to look like coral fields or stalagmites. Pemberducky is trapped at her desk, unable to close her computer and go home. And yet, she presses on… in the name of science.

141 HOURS: Chaos theory? Intelligent design? Or maybe, just maybe, a little bit of both? Pemberducky fights the tedium by sliding blocks to the left and right, and then weeps. She's not even at the halfway point. Is she breaking? Or is she about to get her second wind?

226 HOURS: Pemberducky hasn't been home in so long. Her cats have forgotten her face. Her fish are turning feral. She lives on a diet of popcorn and leftover birthday cake she finds in the office kitchen. And she knows that if she scores even one line, even accidentally, her struggle becomes even longer.

282 HOURS: The stark beauty of the digital world is apparent, but poor Pemberducky can't enjoy it. Her eyes are red and watering, her face is sad, her nail polish chipped, her shoes somehow lost. She mutters to herself and when she closes her eyes, she sees lines falling. Falling like tears in rain.

307 HOURS: Is there a tomorrow? Was yesterday real? These are the questions one must ask, alongside "Do I still have a job?" and "When was the last time I went to the bathroom?" But you can't deny, the sacrifice is paying off.

334 HOURS: The tetrominos reach up like hands. Hands, clawing at Pemberducky's arms and legs. They pull her down to the depths beneath, in the place where all Tetris begins. There, Pemberducky sees a vision of her parents, dancing together before a fireplace. "End the game, child," they whisper, but she turns her head and they vanish. They never existed. Only Tetoris. Only Tetoris.

336 HOURS: Pemberducky celebrates two straight weeks of Tetoris. A small ceremony is held. Tragically, Pemberducky is unable to attend.

401 HOURS: Not coral. Bars. The bars that create the prison in which Pemberducky has sealed herself. She cannot leave now. She will never leave. The outside holds nothing for her. Pemberducky huddles in her chair, knees below her chin, shivering and wide-eyed. A strange frog-like croak comes from between her lips.

404 HOURS: The last piece falls into place. Pemberducky feels a cool breeze across her face. Someone has opened the window. The game is over. The sun is rising. She is free.

Thanks to Pemberducky for the screen shots and for enduring the horror that is the world's largest Tetris game. And congrats for never once completing a single line. We hope you never have to do this again.