Boy Beats Classic Game – What’s Your Excuse?

In a glorious way to kick off the new year, 13-year old Willis Gibson from Oklahoma, also known as Blue Scuti online, beat the classic NES game Tetris. The moment where the game freezes indicating the end of the game and his beautiful reaction right afterwards is preserved on video.

If you’re the sort of person that would respond that this is not in any way significant, consider that while the feat in itself as it happened took 38 minutes, Willis had practiced around 20 hours a week to hone his skills at the game for it to lead to this moment. I can already predict the response in turn: “Why is he wasting his life playing video games for hours per day?” To that, I say: why is voluntary dedication to get better at any given thing a waste of one’s time? Games entail technical problems that have to be solved, often by physical demand as well as mental.

When a teenage boy through his own effort is able to do a feat previously only done by an AI for the very first time, this is something to be held in high regard. Yes, there will be those such as the hag from Sky News whose only response is to sneer “Go outside, get some fresh air, beating Tetris is not a life goal.” But those sort of people exist merely to assume the high ground for being unable to see the positive implications of such an achievement, and for being unable to have done it themselves.

This article is not actually about Willis and his accomplishment, but it should be clear that this news is an inspiration for it. Whatever it may entail, the day to day activities of men and boys are scrutinized and judged by members of society. When it is not called a danger, it would be called a waste of time or unproductive depending on the activity. A favorite disparagement is “He’s failing to launch.” The laudability factor rises merely when it is perceived to benefit society, or otherwise “others”. Men and boys are perceived to be valued only if they are being “useful”, and they are so if they serve the very people who want to control them.

It should be obvious that people who achieve just because they want to really end up helping people in one way or another. But instead of defending these men and boys on that condition alone, let us make the defense of these men and boys with the argument they deserve: the defense of doing something just because they desire to. Because they enjoy it.

The idea of enjoyment for its own sake rubs busybodies the wrong way. If a man is not acting in service to others and their notions of culture, he is dismissed as a “pleasure-seeker,” a harbinger of the downfall of Western Civilization. They forget that the very idea of not being pushed around by the likes of these busybodies is a very Western, or at the very least American, idea. The pursuits particular to the individual’s interests are a testament to the relative prosperity the Western world has had. The act of excelling in them out of his own dedication and volition is a testament to that individual. In fact, this is not even unique to the Western world; wherever a semblance of prosperity is in play, there is that free-minded achiever.

In defiance of a gynocentric world that protests “that’s a waste of time!” and attempts to shame men and boys, the proper mindset should be to interpret these whines as “it doesn’t serve my/our interests”. You are listening to aspiring parasites hoping to derive one-sided benefit from achievers that do for themselves. He who dares do something that he has passion for is anathema to those that exist to control others.

Let’s tackle this from a completely different perspective. On social media, have you ever seen something along the lines of a “before” picture of an out of shape person and then an “after” picture showing his exemplary progress in becoming fit, if not completely ripped? This is usually accompanied by: “What’s your excuse?”

Assuming that the intent is meant to be an inspirational one, this is perfectly fine. Sometimes, depending on the intent of who circulates such a meme, it can end up being somewhat smug; “You’ve got nothing better to do with your life, why don’t you dedicate hours to get jacked?” I know, this may not be the fairest interpretation, but there is a point to this. Clearly I have nothing but respect for those who are able to dedicate their time to train to be strong…so long as they are doing it because they want to and not to merely impress women.

But let’s say we extend this line to other avenues that don’t involve fitness as such. As if we needed a reminder, men and boys have more to do and much more to offer than merely physical tasks and being society’s (read: women’s) beasts of burden. All activities take time and be it physical or intellectual, it should be regarded with admiration to achieve a given breakthrough in that particular field.

Note that intellectual means anything involving decisive mind work – from games on the table like chess and poker, to video games from Tetris to more modern competitive ones like League of Legends, to artwork, to delicate craftsmanship, to any sort of writing, to engineering, even generating good comedy.

The mind is underrated, sadly by many who claim to extol men’s virtues. Funny how in our sphere of advocating for men, we speak disproportionately about men’s physical exploits and their “instinct” to put themselves at risk. Frankly, instinct is the argument from mindlessness. Let us dispense with the argument from mindlessness when advocating for men – we only shoot ourselves in the foot this way. Also, moral value responses (often mistaken for instinct) are mind matters, not heart matters.

There is something to be said about those who accomplish something for the first time, especially when it is suspected that the task is not possible. It doesn’t even need to have been done the first time; it just has to be an interesting challenge. As stated, it takes a lot of time and effort to be in a position to work at it, and finally do it. So when something like beating Tetris is done, it is apt to say, “He did it. What’s your excuse?”

A musician practices for hours a day to be as skilled as they are at performing and put on shows. What’s your excuse?

Artists spend anywhere from hours to months finishing a brilliant painting. What’s your excuse?

A climber made it to the summit of Mount Everest. What’s your excuse?

Someone spent years amassing a model train collection with the most realistic model railway setup. What’s your excuse?

Someone beat Super Mario 64 blindfolded in less than 12 hours. What’s your excuse?

Skateboarding, while not quite bodybuilding, is a tremendous thing to see in action by the most practiced skateboarders or even moderately practiced skateboarders. You know the drill.

And I could go on.

You, who spout from your armchair about how kids are wasting their time: why aren’t you doing as good, huh? What have you been doing with your life, eh?

These clearly aren’t even close to the estimate of many different and diverse challenges in the world. Whether it takes somebody far away from home or it is something that can only be done in the privacy of his own space, the act of throwing oneself into a process is the same. Note that for each thing to devote oneself to, it’s that less time to devote to other matters. That is a given. For example, if a man busy composing music or a work of fiction is devoting a great amount of his free time to it, he may not have time to devote becoming a muscleman. And, vice versa.

This is not a disparagement of either, but rather the case to legitimize vastly different pursuits. In other words, it’d be unfair or shortsighted to point at someone and judge them for not dedicating precious time for “approved manly interests” when they barely have time to squeeze in their own passions after what may be a busy work day. And don’t assume they don’t have family they may be placing priority on as well. Of course, everybody has to tend to the responsibilities they have and the ability to maintain themselves, or to learn to if they are a child.

I am clearly not saying that certain things should become a sort of obsession that takes over their day to day lives. In simpler terms, everyone is still accountable for their lives. Balance is key, of course. But I will say that this problem is rather overstated and hyped to death by pundits and grifters eager to point to a particular boogeyman such as video games to appeal to their busybody audience looking for a cheap thrill.

Funnily enough, nobody attacks people who do nothing much but read books all day. Imagine if “book addiction” swapped out video games in someone’s out-of-their-ass dialogue about how it’s a problem because it makes you “asocial”. And nowadays, gaming appears to be more conducive to a social experience than reading, does it not?

In closing, Willis Gibson can be very proud of his achievement and it is no minor one. So many people have things they do and have done to be proud of. We should do more to give support to the men and boys who do the things that make life worth living for themselves.

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