I started playing about six months ago, though I guess I must have played Gameboy Tetris when I was a kid. I don't really play video games, other than the odd old skool one that I tend to get heavily into. Ten years ago it was the Retrospec version of Manic Miner (couldn't complete it), and then a few years after that Head Over Heels and Chuckie Egg. I also completed everything on Mario Kart Wii, but that's about the most modern game I've ever played. Anyway, I started on Level 5, got about 60k, then was on Level 9 starts for a long time, scoring 200k on a good day. Transitioning to Level 10 seemed kind of crazy and impossible. Then I learned how to start on 10+ and got like 30k on a Level 13 start and thought I was doing seriously well. I was also watching CTWC videos and couldn't believe those guys could play on 18, let alone 19 and beyond. I put a lot of that down to my playing on a laptop with the keyboard. I read early on that Jonas said that was too much lag, that it wasn't really possible to play on higher levels. But now I've seen players like Galoomba maxing out on keyboard I guess that's not true. Anyway, little by little I guess I got better. I probably stuck with 9 for too long, before moving on to Level 15 starts. But I used to freak out on 9 when the stack got to the bottom of the next box, whereas now it seems I can play right to the top, and 15 is going the same way. Hard to believe, sometimes, that the brain can change so suddenly, and what seemed to be moving at a hundred miles an hour now seems in slow motion. I guess at some point I scored over 300k on a 9 start, and then over 400k on a 15 start. A few months ago I got my personal best to 475k and made 500k my laptop goal - and that's been a complete pain in the arse, since I've been determined to do it on 15 and ignored the advice of all the pros: very early on, I heard things like "practice on the level too high to push down on"; "practice on the level you can't tetris on"; "practice practice practice on Level 19" - but I ignored all that. In any case, a few weeks ago I gave it a try and found to my amazement that within not very long I could tetris and stack on 19. Still only got three tetrises in a game, and a best of 42 lines - but after like 15 minutes of doing that I went and played on 18 and quickly bagged two 400k scores when previously I'd only hit 200k+ a handful of times, so I guess it worked. I still haven't hit 500k though - and it finally dawned on me that, without being able to play well on 19, that's actually really difficult from a 15 start - needs something like an 80% tetris rate all the way through. So the chances of getting it just on 15 to 18 are pretty slim. Particularly as I can barely make out the colours on 16 and 17 (God, I hate that! And it's always such a relief when 18 comes back around.) One problem I think I have is that I haven't really spent enough time learning how to burn properly. I focus on tetrises and if the long bar doesn't come I get too high and just start again. I mean, not that I can't burn somewhat, and now the basics of it, but there are plenty better moves, I'm sure, to get myself out of dodgy situations. I'm not really sure the best way to go about that. Though I do notice new moves and solutions creeping in little by little - which is always a cool thing to observe. And one hopes they start sticking and are then when I need them. In any case, if I was smart I think I'd probably give up on the 15 start and stick to 18 and 19 and not worry too much about getting a high score, rather learn how to play better. Though I do notice that all my hours on 15 have certainly made my stacking and pattern recognition pretty sweet, and hopefully that'll stick. I just wonder what it is that makes 19 so difficult when I see other players breezing through it. I can stack okay to a certain point - but one it goes wrong, it's pretty much over: me on 19 is not dissimilar to somebody like Joseph, Richard, or TylerP on 29. Perhaps that's just the way it goes. Anyways, I would love to hit 500k at some point. And love to be able to play on 19. I suppose if I keep at it it'll happen, given that 10, 13, and especially 18 seemed at one point impossible, and now they're very, very doable. Even 18 is starting to feel somewhat slow, after a good blast of 19 - just in the last week I've found myself wanting to press down, and started stacking higher and higher, so I guess there's progress. Funny to think of the ups and the downs, and the times I've felt I've reached a plateau, or even got worse - and then something just clicks, and my games gets just that little bit better. It would be nice to see it get better faster, when I see the progress that some of the newer players have made but, oh well, I'm like 43, a newbie, and perhaps never destined for more than about the 500k level. But I guess the point of all this was to maybe reiterate the things that the main guys are always saying from the novice's perspective, since I ignored them for such a long time, and was probably wrong in doing so: practice on 19, play on a too-high level, and don't get too fixated on a high score, since all a PB really is is that game where RNG was kind, a few mistakes were avoided, the line pieces came at the right moment, and enough darts have been thrown at the target to eventually hit the bullseye. Something like that. And, of course, having said that I'll probably go right now to a 15 start and say something like "I just wanna get 500k and then I'll stop playing". Well, not sure that's really helpful to anyone else - but if you've got any wise tips to help me hit the next level - buy an NES? get a controller? practice certain moves? instill some kind of disciplined program of play, rather than just score chasing? - then perhaps typing all this will be helpful to me. And thanks all for being out there, and playing, and for the way everyone's pushing each other to greater and greater heights, creating these communities, and providing so many hours of good clean geek-based fun.