Home country: USA
Special skill: Tetris
Hey there, I'm Michael Khanh Artiaga (although my gamer tag is dogplayingtetris) and I'm the world's youngest Tetris world champion. I broke the record in 2020 when I was 13 and – crazily – played against my own 15-year-old brother in the final!
I'm dogplayingtetris, or just Dog for short. 🐶
Despite now being Tetris world champion, the first time I played I wasn’t too into it. I just played it here and there on an old Gameboy my dad owns.
My first introduction to Classic Tetris was the 2018 Joseph vs Jonas finals video. Joseph won despite only being 16 years old at the time. After that, I started playing more Tetris and became hooked. 😍
The 2020 CTWC (Classic Tetris World Championships) was surreal! I entered alongside my big brother Andy. His username is PixelAndy.
When we competed, we were both just hoping to play our best game. It was our first time competing in the world championships, so we definitely weren’t expecting to both get to the finals out of 300 people.
I know what you’re thinking – why Tetris? It’s a pretty retro game. 👾
But Tetris is such a different game than other games that are played competitively, I think. The amount of quick thinking and comprehension behind it stuck out to me.
I've always been a thinker, so that type of game was very interesting for me. I also had a decent amount of time to play Tetris, so that helped me get good FAST ⏩
Now, I play Tetris all the time. I usually play around 45 minutes before a competition to warm up.
The 2020 Classic Tetris World Championship Final
Because of covid, the competition took place online, so Andy and I were playing in separate rooms of our house.🏡 Both of us reached the "kill screen" but I scored a "max‑out" (999,999 points) so won the title.
Andy felt good about it, as us being 1st 🥇and 2nd 🥈was pretty awesome. After the final, he came and high-fived me. 🙏🏽
When I started playing Tetris, I never really expected to get anywhere close to the pros. It’s pretty unbelievable when I think about it. It felt great when there were people congratulating me all around the world when I won. It's changed my life a lot.
I won $3,000 from the 2020 Classic Tetris World Championship win. 🤑
I have saved most of it, but I did buy:
A drum set 🥁
A guitar 🎸
Some cryptocurrency 👨💻
Other random things! 👽🍕🤖🍔
I think the best way to get good at the game is to analyze other skilled players, see what they do, and what made them skilled in the first place.
If you're serious about the game, you need to stay confident and determined to improve. You also need to make sure to set some time aside to practice and train.
I remember thumbing through Guinness World Records books at school and watching it on YouTube. Looking back on it now I would have never expected to be featured in the pages of GWR. It’s a dream.
Michael "Dog" Artiaga
Other games I'm good at...
I'm pretty decent at Super Mario Bros speedrunning, and have been practicing that lately. It's a game that actually has an overlap with the Tetris community, as a lot of the people who play Tetris also speedrun Super Mario Bros. I'm nowhere near the pros in that game, but it's fun to pass the time.
My plans for the future
I won the 2021 Classic Tetris World Championship too, so I’m going to try and keep my winning streak.
I’ve also created the Classic Tetris Brawl. It’s a Tetris tournament that I made that explore different formats. It has things like three-player matches, Level 0 to 19 speedruns, and other unique events. There is a big Brawl Championship that happens quarterly (once every three months). It is something that I am pretty proud of and want to continue to grow.
I also have my eye on the Super Mario Bros. speedrun world record. I’m already practicing it and it would be great to have another record in something else.