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datagod
Member

Posts: 8
Kill screens during a tournament
on 6/1/2013 7:39:29 PM
How does everyone feel about going for insane scores / kill screens in a tournament?

On one hand I see it as a great opportunity to be witnessed and officially recorded. On the other hand it might be seen as poor sportsmanship to completely dominate a game for hours at a time, eclipsing your nearest opponent.

I personally would feel bad if I could hog a game for over an our during a tournament, especially if I had the high score already.

I would also feel pretty damned happy if I was that good.

I guess I have mixed emotions.


 
Robert
Member

Posts: 116
RE: Kill screens during a tournament
on 6/1/2013 11:07:30 PM
I'll respond with my opinions in parts since you specified two possibilities.

SCORES

The very nature of some tournaments includes scoring mechanics based on the top score. Therefore higher scores mean less percentages for the players below that scoring level. Other tournament formats are less flexible...highest score is x-tourney points above the next highest score, etc, regardless of disparity. There are pros and cons to these methods to be sure.

Let's forget the fact that there are a finite number of titles from "Back in the Day" (BITD) and that by now there are more than a few players in any given tournament who have mastered or at least excel at one or more titles in a given tourney. Let's step back in time to "Tournament Number One", whatever that may have been.

During the course of that historic tournament it is likely that among the group of participants some scored higher than others. It is conceivable that the disparities between the varying levels of strength in players on a given title could have some gaps that are wider than others, attributable to breakaway performances or perhaps one or more players simply figuring the game out mid-event and taking their performance up to a much higher realm.

At that first tournament, how do you think players would have reacted back then ? Keep in mind that up until that happens everyone is competitive. The fact that a breakaway score or two occurs does not remove the competitiveness factor...it just makes it that much harder to keep pace with the lead scorer on a particular title.

Fast forward 30 years...the likelihood that this may happen becomes even greater.

Unlike competitive sporting events that might have a "mercy rule" on the books, no such rule(s) exist for a gaming event, and this applies to FPS frag-tag events, speed kill competitions or point-based competitions. Some scorers will achieve higher and/or faster scores than others...it is almost inevitable.

What can become problematic, however, in a multi-title event where the end results are based on cumulative net rankings per title, is when a competitor blows away one title yet does not qualify on the rest within the event. The impact of this had been felt during a previous event and was, no pun intended, a game-changer. This is why only competitors who "qualify" playing each title in an event at least once will have their scores used as barometers for other players' percentages.

Now, all of the above addresses happenstance...players getting better and better as the event progresses, or some players simply being better at a given title than others. The last aspect of your question circles around the ethics of fair play and sportsmanship.

That is a tricky point to discuss because one person's perspective on sportsmanship and fair play may differ widely from another's. I'd have to say that you also have to consider that there is a prize involved, and that does impact outcomes.

For example, in the annual NYC Marathon a special bonus is awarded if the finishing time comes in under a certain pre-determined threshold, and an even bigger prize is awarded for a world record pace. With that prize awaiting a competitor who has the potential to finish way apart from his fellow competitors, it is conceivable and understood that there may be a competitor who sets themselves so far apart from the rest in the outcome that it almost seems unfair in the process, and yet the structure of the event rewards such a performance accordingly.

In a multi-faceted placement-based event such as the Olympic Decathlon, it is incumbent on every participant who excels in a specific leg of that event to perform at peak capacity, possibly throwing the javelin an amazing 20 meters or more further than their opponents, jumping 3 meters farther, etc. Every little bit helps towards the overall outcome.

It is very easy to watch from afar and pass judgment on individual performances whether you are watching on television/streaming/etc or live/in-person, but for the competitor the end goal is set in their mind up front and remains that goal all throughout until the very end. Do your best, try to win, as your opponents will be doing just that as well.

KILL SCREENING

This is generally why many event organizers disallow certain titles from event competition unless the settings in place lead to a shorter performance. Some titles, unfortunately, may never see the light of day in a competition because there are far too many competitors capable of playing the game out at length even on a single life.

When no one is aware that a "kill screen" exists you cannot fault a gamer for playing it our to that point. Some games have finite conclusions and the same argument can be made...even more so when by finishing the game a massive end-game bonus is awarded. Games like 1942, Ikari Warriors and I think Heavy Barrel or Guerilla War come to mind. You can't fault a player for that...it helps to establish a buffer in the event between their score and that of the competition.

It depend on the circumstances, however. If the method to marathon the game was exceedingly cheesy (anyone who watched the 1.5 million points on "Leprechaun" by level 2 INP from 2005 knows what I mean) then that is unsportsmanlike. But for everything else, it is a matter of perspective.

I'd say that if the event is limited duration and a kill screen was known to exist AND was likely to be reached then the title simply should have been excluded from the event unless settings existed that precluded that possibility from occurring. A title like "Pacman" would have to be excluded for sure...even on one life the end could be reached.

But for all the rest, especially on titles where up until that point no one has ever excelled at them before the event, fair is fair.

What would be unsportsmanlike, I must say, is if the same person during the event pulled off such a killer performance and then started yet another one during the event even after being in 1st place after kill screening the game once that event. THAT would be exceedingly unfair except in the most unique of circumstances, such as when multiple people could reach the end yet a special multi-million point is awarded at the end based on lives remaining where a better performance could change the rankings even among those capable of completing the game,

It's all a matter of circumstance and perspective.

ONE MORE ASPECT TO CONSIDER

Compounding all of the above is the fact that most tournaments only have one, and at most two, units of a given title for the competitors.

Suppose an event has 20 titles and 100 competitors and lasts for 5 days at 10 hours per day. And suppose each title has one (1) unit at the event to play.

Divided evenly, every player could potentially play a given game once for 30 minutes, effectively meaning that their sole performance on that title represented that portion of the event's score.

My point being, you are focusing on the lengthy "insane" score and/or kill screen performance, but what if for a given title every player had some decent skills ? Then even a small, 30-minute performance could be seen as problematic. And it is easy to say "Well, just limit the performance duration to 5 minutes" but depending on the game that creates more problems than it solves. Some games start slow point-wise, so in the first few minutes everyone's scoring is relatively the same. I'll cite "Missile Command" in the first five minutes to make my point there. And "Pacman" is even worse if you use running patterns and cap the game at 5 minutes...top players' scores will be virtually identical to one another.

All comes down to perspective, and the perspective of a competitor will differ from that of someone (like myself right now) watching the results from afar.

Robert


 
Rob Ross
Member

Posts: 196
RE: Kill screens during a tournament
on 6/2/2013 12:55:07 AM
Choosing games which have a time limit (such as Death Race, Pole Position) or a game that ends (non looping Track & Field) helps the turnover rate on the machines and allows the paying competitors to get in a larger amount of attempts.

Unfortunately, the game selection (even though all the games are tested) sometimes has a title which a player can hog for a considerable amount of time.

IMO the shorter the game, the better it is for a tournament.


 
Robert
Member

Posts: 116
RE: Kill screens during a tournament
on 6/2/2013 1:16:04 AM
Keep in mind that a tournament solely comprising of shorter games is not necessarily one that is possible.

For starters, using the current ACAM event underway, you can put Death Race, Depth Charge, Le Mans and the other short-duration titles into one event but the scope of skillset and enjoyment potential is decidedly limited.

Suppose, for sake of argument, that every event title was handled in the same way that the old "Starcade" show did things...30 seconds, 45 seconds, 60 seconds. I remember when one show featured "Dragon's Lair" where the opening sequence chewed up most of the time limit...not a good idea. But when all titles are limited to short duration, a great deal of creativity and gaming tenacity are eliminated from the event.

What makes for a good event are the players, first and foremost. The titles are simply the mechanisms with which they test their general and acquired skills.

In the early competitions not every title involved was popular...some, in fact, were brand new...and yet players readily embraced each in the spirit of competition.

I cite the event in which Donn Nauert logged a 319M score on Cheyenne as evidence that in the spirit of competition the competitors simply dealt with that scoring explosion and accepted it as a part of the overall outcome.

The long and short of it is that you can't fault a player for being good at a title or having a great performance. And it is the spirit of competition that drives other players to try harder. Not every competition outcome is a nail-biter that goes down to the wire. In some MLB baseball games a team has scored 10+ runs in the first inning. Doesn't mean the other team cried foul and quit playing.


 
datagod
Member

Posts: 8
RE: Kill screens during a tournament
on 6/4/2013 4:12:38 PM
Thank you for your detailed response Robert, you make several excellent points.

As it turns out, Kick Man was kill screened twice. I dont' think people minded so much, as most people despised the game.

I rather enjoyed it, but could only play a few boards before my hand starting seriously hurting.

I have no idea how anyone could do that for hours on end.



 
bestcellar
Member

Posts: 45
RE: Kill screens during a tournament
on 6/4/2013 4:37:49 PM
One possible solution is setting some titles typically prone to marathon to 5 lives only. Nibbler is an example of a game that's potentially brutal with default/marathon settings but potentially brilliant with 5 lives.


 
GeorgeIV
Member

Posts: 84
RE: Kill screens during a tournament
on 6/5/2013 6:27:51 PM
I am all for no holding back in tournaments. I've seen this total destruction of a game before, when Ben Falls did it on Satan's Hollow during Funspot XIII. It's just part of the tournament, and I fully support it.

In funspot XIII, it was the leeching on Tiger Road that was annoying. The tactic was discovered late in the tourney, and the refs decided to leave it in, forcing anyone who wanted to put up a competitive score to adopt the same cheesy tactics( which weren't easy to do, by the way). But that is at ref's discretion, and in a tournament that is what counts, and must be honored. But I have no problem with the destruction of a tournament title's score which effectively takes the game out of the standings for everyone else.

And the double killscreen Kickman during the tourney is one for the history books. So impressive, it's difficult to find the words.

Truth be told, after someone does a blowout score it is easy to get on the game, no one touches it for a while, it needs to "cool down." But on the last day of the tournament, and even on Saturday as well, there are 'cliques' that form around certain games, making it difficult to get in and play a certain games. Unless you are on the top five conestants level on a game, you're going to need a few games to put up a competitive score, but there's no way to work on a title when 3 guys have decided that is the game they are focusing on, and hover around it all day. But again, that's just the nature of the tournament, and if you want to win you need to overcome this. There should be no hard feelings, it's just the way it goes.


 
moneill139
Member

Posts: 67
RE: Kill screens during a tournament
on 6/5/2013 6:35:01 PM
Seeing Jason Cram play Kickman for 4 hrs, sweating and jerking around nonstop was very impressive. Killscreen all day long. I think its great!!!


 
Robert
Member

Posts: 116
RE: Kill screens during a tournament
on 6/5/2013 8:30:01 PM
I have to admit that during the "CrapMAME 4" tourney held last year a major leeching technique was employed mid-tourney which lead to the top score going sky high while the player(s) employing it barely progressed beyond the 3rd or 4th stage,

I did this myself and the result was so utterly cheesy (for this title) that I never submitted that score to MARP even though it would have been a top 3rd place score at the time - http://www.aurcade.com/forums/default.aspx?a=top&id=1804&pg=2



 
CKFan
Admin

Posts: 65
RE: Kill screens during a tournament
on 6/11/2013 9:33:47 PM
bestcellar Wrote:
One possible solution is setting some titles typically prone to marathon to 5 lives only. Nibbler is an example of a game that's potentially brutal with default/marathon settings but potentially brilliant with 5 lives.

Unfortunately, a game like Nibbler wouldn't work very well, since there's no way to actually limit lives. You'd need a ref there for any good player to make sure they only used 5 lives. Then hope they don't get any points before the ref gets the score on the 6th life. Q*Bert is the same way, no way to limit lives.


 
Robert
Member

Posts: 116
RE: Kill screens during a tournament
on 6/12/2013 12:43:14 AM
Some games have been mastered to the point where even one life can be a mini-marathon !!

If memory serves, David and Donald can both play out their first life on "Tron" for hours on end. And I was told that many years back Krogman (when he still played) hit 4.5M on "Galaga" on his 1st ship. I forget where Brandon died in his Star Wars 2nd place no-shield performance years back but I think he reached 7M or 8M on his 1st shield, and that was on max difficulty as well !!

All depends on the game. Some are simply mastered to the point of being major problems in competitions lead by classic "Pacman", a title I cannot see ever, at this point, being in a competition.


 
GeorgeIV
Member

Posts: 84
RE: Kill screens during a tournament
on 6/27/2013 11:32:18 PM
I thought of a term for the thing people do at competitions, hovering around the same one game for hours: camping. Inspired by the camping on a spawn point that trolls and griefers do in halo or whatever. I don't know, I never play those kinds of games but I heard someone talking about it. Not that people who camp on a game at tournaments are trolls, it's just where the term comes from. But if people are going to call 'sandbagging' unsportsmanlike, then I'd like to point out that to some of us, camping is considered just as unsportsmanlike. Some players are habitual campers. Every time you or anyone else plays, when you're done there's that camper waiting behind you with his stool. You can feel them breathing down your neck while you're playing. It gets the worst when it's like three campers camping on one game, like how it was on the pacn pal all weekend during funspot this year. Also to a lesser extent on the pit and the old overhead car game that I can't remember the name of that looks like dodge 'em on the 2600. Head on or something.

I'd guess I'd like people to be more aware of their surroundings. But then what would be competitive about that?


 
Steve W
Member

Posts: 157
RE: Kill screens during a tournament
on 6/28/2013 8:47:20 AM


 
GeorgeIV
Member

Posts: 84
RE: Kill screens during a tournament
on 6/28/2013 12:18:41 PM
Totally lingerers. Hardcore. Camping around the pac n pal like it was Yosemite National Park.

Edited to add: Every once in a while pac n pal would be free of campers. I would go over thinking I'd finally have the game to myself for 2 minutes, but of course it was just having a grounding problem and be in need of a re-start. So I'd have to wait for Dave or one of the others to do it, and Dave would look at me disapprovingly for freezing up the game, but damn it, it wasn't my fault! :) And of course after a restart on the machine, I'd play one game and then have to get in line behind the three campers who magically appeared behind me as I was playing.

At least the pac n pal campers weren't token jinglers. Nothing more annoying than trying to learn a game and someone is standing behind you shaking a cup full of tokens. I want to believe that it is just a nervous habit some people do unconsciously, but I swear sometimes it seems like people were doing it deliberately, like it was their passive-aggressive way of letting you know they are waiting to go next.


 
lakeman421
Member

Posts: 157
RE: Kill screens during a tournament
on 6/28/2013 3:54:45 PM
Those damn campers were getting in the way of our Swear-Off during the event George. We need to reschedule the next one.


 
GeorgeIV
Member

Posts: 84
RE: Kill screens during a tournament
on 6/28/2013 9:18:33 PM
Damn right, Robbie! Mother effing token jingling pos sonuva b bastard campers! :)

The swear off is going to be the epic-est thing to happen in the video game world, ever.



 
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