There’s a battle brewing at Push Square Towers, and I’m not going to lose it. In lieu of having anything better to do on New Year’s Eve, I decided to buy Beat Saber – the extortionately priced rhythm sensation that sees you wielding lightsabers and chopping blocks to the sound of terrible electronic music. While the songs wouldn’t even get played at an over 40s disco in Preston, the gameplay is every bit as brilliant as you’ve no doubt heard. The problem, then? Senior Staff Writer Stephen Tailby and I are at war.

It all started innocently enough: I was having fun prancing about in my underwear, casually cutting through that League of Legends k-pop song. It’s one of two borderline acceptable tunes in the base package, and I like that lass with the blue hair, so that’s the track I stuck with. Except the competitive side of me was getting distracted by Tailby’s superior score. I pointed it out on Twitter:

Midnight hadn’t quite arrived yet, but it became clear that friction was about to define Push Square Towers’ 2019, as I noticed that our very own Quintumply had also booted up the game. And it didn’t take long for a notification on my phone to take me out of the headset, and into a rage:

Tailby had improved upon a score that I already couldn’t get close to: this was going to be war. As friend of the site, and veteran reviewer, Alex Stinton pointed out: “Stephen’s clearly had a lot of practice beating his saber.” But innuendo aside, I was seething rather than singing Auld Lang Syne – no one out k-pops the King of Push Square.

I worked harder, turning on the multipliers which up the game’s difficulty but provide bigger score rewards. I played on double-speed with insta-fail enabled and still couldn’t catch up. Big Ben struck midnight and I decided to rest my weary bones, ready to fight another day. Salt was poured into the wounds when Tailby announced that he was playing without any of the difficulty modifiers enabled – a clean, incredible, heart breaking run.

This was a war originally fought in good spirits, and so we shared tips on Twitter – including the official scoring system from the developer itself. Clean strokes, through the centre of the blocks, with accurate angles are the key to the best scores. I let my competitor in on the information – I didn’t want to win unfairly, after all.

And that next day, pouring with sweat, I got my S-rank, topping Tailby’s score by a few hundred points. Finally, I was the k-pop master, and I was going to bloody well gloat about my accomplishments:

It took ten minutes for my foe to reply:

Ten minutes. From ecstasy to outright outrage – it wasn’t even a perfect run, he’d missed one brick, but he’d improved on my personal best by a clear 7,000 points. It was enough to put him within the top 600 or so in the world.

I was distraught.

A week later and I’ve pulled all kinds of muscles, but I just can’t get close. I’ve almost beaten my personal best, but I need to go one further than that – I need at least 10,000 points more. I need to get within the top 500 in the world if I’m to topple Tailby. I’m a mess, I won’t lie to you.

But life is about challenges, and Beat Saber and that bloody League of Legends song stands in front of me like Everest – I will prevail. I’m sorry Tailby, but I don’t care how long it takes, I’m coming for you. This bloody song – this bloody awful song. I will master it. I will win. Watch your back, Quintumply – there’s only room for one popstar here at Push Square Towers. You hear me?

Update (10th January): There's been an important development. I'll let you see that for yourself:

Natural order has been restored to the world:

Live pictures from moments after the victory:

What have you got, Tailby?

What's your best score on Normal difficulty Pop/Stars in Beat Saber? Please don't say you have a better score in the comments section below.