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Classic Tetris World Championship 2020 goes online with December main event [Update]

The Classic Tetris World Championship will go on, but in a slightly different manner due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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Update (7/22/20): Following a round of player feedback, the team at the Classic Tetris World Championship has adjusted some of its rules for the upcoming tournament. The following changes are being implemented:

  • No Game Genies
  • Qualifying will be 2 hours
  • Qualifying will use multiple maxout rule from past CTWCs
  • Double max-out game scores will be tabulated manually
  • Schedule changed to move all brackets to Saturdays or Sundays

Here is the new schedule graphic for this year's CTWC:

Original story: With the COVID-19 pandemic set to severely impact the world for the foreseeable future, more and more esports events are having to adjust for the long-term. Earlier this year, the Classic Tetris World Championship was thrown into a state of chaos, uncertain of whether there would be a physical tournament or a venue to play in. But with the continuing pandemic and growing travel restrictions, the team at the CTWC decided on Tuesday to take this year's big tournament online.

With the Portland Retro Gaming Expo canceled, this year's Classic Tetris World Championship will see the game's top 64 players compete over the course of a two-month period. The qualifying period will have players submit a $50 entry fee and attempt to stream their top scores for a 75-85 minute period, with the final attempt beginning within the 75 minute period. The top 64 scores will qualify for the big tournament, where everybody will be distributed into eight separate 8-seed double elimination tournament brackets.

Here are the requirements for anybody looking to compete in this year's Classic Tetris World Championship:

  • Twitch stream
  • Original unmodified NTSC NES and Tetris cart
  • Approved NES controller
  • Game Genie to post score above 999,999
  • Webcam
  • Lights on and illuminating player
  • Face, hands, and controller visible in shot
  • Microphone near player

A more thorough explanation of the rules and procedures will be made available before the end of July.

Registration will open up on September 1 and will remain open until October 16. The qualifying round will run from October 22-25. Once the Top 64 is sorted out, the bracket rounds will unfold over the ensuing weeks. Here's a graphic with the dates:

The Main Event will begin on Sunday, December 6. The final single elimination bracket will be reseeded based on player performance in the previous rounds. Once the Top 64 begins, all matches will be Best-of-Five with everybody starting at Level 18.

Tournament times and the final prize pool will be determined at a later date. The Classic Tetris World Championship website will offer more information in the weeks ahead.

(Disclaimer: Shacknews was a sponsor of the 2019 Classic Tetris World Championship and is in discussions to sponsor this year's event.)

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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