I remember back in my day ...

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Greetings everyone!

It's been quite some time since I've been around MARP. I thought it was time that I jumped in a said a few more words about my absence, as well as a few things that have really taken the wind from my sails with regards to MARP in general.

When I first found MARP, it was a small collection of high score recordings for MAME. I found it somewhat interesting, but didn't feel the need to participate originally beyond sending in an example INP showing how to get past a certain level of Jack the Giantkiller.

Shortly after this, the site became automated, and added in the original Leaderboard. I thought hmm... I like the idea of this Leaderboard, what a fun way to compete on all the classic games I used to play!

The Leaderboard actually pulled me into MARP - I was determined to work my way to the top of the Leaderboard within 1 month (I don't recall if I got into 1st place in that month or not, but I had a blast of a time trying).

MARP was fun to me.

Sure, there were always the few problems of players sending in scores played on non-default or TG settings. As well as some games where the TG settings are actually easier than factory defaults (Pengo comes to mind =))

Disagreements were handled player to player for the most part, with Zwaxy stepping in when things got out of control.

Over the past 6 months, MARP has grown more than two-fold. It seems that the message board is overrun with constant complaints about non-default settings; non-TG settings; auto-fire joysticks; slow frame-rate gameplay; pausing!?!, etc.

MARP no longer looks fun to me.

My advice to everyone:

Take a step back and remember that MARP isn't necessarily about official high scores, it's about a group of classic game players sending in their accomplishments for other players to view. If you want an official high score, send it to Mark Longridge at Twin Galaxies.

The MARP tournament has a judge for this purpose.

Will Angry ever return to MARP? I am not really sure at this point. I'm having a lot of fun playing new stuff these days. Maybe a few months from now, maybe a little longer. But if the MARP world continues to revolve around who's cheating how, I may never come back.


-- Angry (angry@thq.com), November 16, 1999


The solution to being overrun with cheating complaints can be summed up in two words Angry:

Nuke France

I'd detected the impossible crap a long time ago, but I didn't want to start a war over it until other people caught on ... which they now have. It doesn't matter how small the stakes are, people don't like getting ripped off. And when it's happening on a continuing basis, the complaints will roll in until someone fixes the problem or everyone leaves.


-- Aquatarkus (aquatarkus@digicron.com), November 16, 1999.

Over the past year I've really enjoyed the competitive environment here at MARP, both as a player AND as an observer. It's original attraction for me was the impressive repository of recordings. At first, I didn't really care what the exact settings were for any game, I just wanted to see how high scores for the old classics were obtained. Over time I realized that some of these recordings were not legit or up to par regarding settings or even ethical play. Whenever I would download a recording and see that cheating was evident, it would cheapen the whole experience for me. To this day some are downright upsetting, even more so in the two tournaments. I can't understand why everyone tolerates this blatent activity prevalent here at MARP. If no one talks about it then it will never ever get fixed. It goes beyond fun and games, what ever happened to people's morals?

-- ***PL*** (laffaye@ibm.net), November 17, 1999.

I understand where you are coming from Angry. However different people come to MARP for different reasons. For some people it is all about Official High Scores for others it's just to download great recordings and watch experts at play. Unfortunately both groups are getting the shaft. Competitors are seeing dubious game play techniques and being upset by it and people who want to watch good players play are realising that they are being duped by cheats and hacked recordings. It leaves a nasty taste in your mouth. No matter why you come to MARP you don't want to see what you percieve as cheating.

I believe all of us would benefit by setting in place a couple of key policies that will calm a lot of people down, policies that I believe are easy enough to implement.

When people start to bitch and complain about the cheating and non standard recordings (NSR's) etc they aren't doing it because they have nothing better to do, it's because the issues are fundamental to them and are cheapening their MARP experience. When you get down to it, many people are not complaining about NSR's, autofire, rerecording, pausing, joysticks etc per se, their complaint is in the context of two fundamental issues -

1. Those recordings aren't being distingushed against so called 'standard' recordings.

2. People using these techniques aren't explicitly stating that they've used these techniques (others have to discover they are being used)

Also remember Angry - you don't have to take part in all the discussion about cheating etc (I know it's hard to avoid). Instead you can concentrate on the fun facets of MARP - like uploading more of your great recordings - like Jack the Giant Killer, Gauntlet, Flicky, Bubbles, Berzerk, Arabian. I'd hate to see you go.

I too would like to see 'cheating discussions' go away and be replaced by discussions on game strategy and tips/tricks in games. How about some people writing up a few walkthroughs for games or even game reviews. Unfortunately, the cheating topics will abound until something is done about it - i.e. new policies put in place or the people start leaving MARP in digust.

-- Tim Morrow (tjmorrow@bigpond.com), November 17, 1999.

When I came to MARP, it was to look at great games, and to score some by myself. Of course, any kind of leaderboard gives sense to it. And this, regardless to the position I have (I'm floating around #40 for weeks...).
OK, MARP is not TG, but as TG, it has its own rules, and if you see some of us complaining, is not because we've been eventually beaten in a game (I found great respect each other, instead!), but it's because we follow those rules, and some other not.
This is what eventually makes MARP less fun !!!

I consider this a transition era for Marp, since lately cheating techniques have been improved too much. I truly hope we'll find out a way to prevent it, so that we all could complain less and play more, challenging on the same field, and see other great players like you Angry come back.


-- Cicca (cicca@writeme.com), November 18, 1999.

Good to hear from you once again, Angry. I cannot disagree with the viewpoints you have expressed.

The point about TG settings is as simple as you stated...if TG is important to you, then Mark Longridge is your man to contact. If leaderboard points are your concern and someone has beaten you with "non-TG settings", by all means quite whining about it, reset your settings to match theirs and wail away! Obviously this isn't encouraging ridiculous settings such as "infinite lives" or the such. But, I believe that most cases are involving nothing more than easy/hard , 3 lives/ 5 lives type of settings. No problem. Someone wants to better one of my scores with this situation? Fine, I'll readjust to your playing field then. Like I alluded to, this is not Twin Galaxies. If and when a particular game or technique gets out of hand, then it can be seriously addressed. Otherwise, stop your complaining and go get yourself a case of whoop-ass to use on the player who invaded your territory! ;)

Tournaments are a different story. The settings that are posted ahead of time are nearly 100% adhered to and that's great. We do have a pair of issues that seem to have the MARP community in a bit of an uproar, and for good reason.

1) Slow frame-rate recording...this issue is one that I take quite personally because evidence has been surfacing recently that players are recording games at frame-rates that greatly dilute any meaning or significance to the great "legitimate" scores. That is very sad indeed. The reason I say I take it personally is for the ever- increasing evidence that at least one player in particular, Phil Lamat, has done a great deal of work surpassing many of my scores on the regular MARP site using less than honorable techniques. Don't go thinking that I'm crying because I "lost" to Phil...no, that's not the case at all. I've lost to many, many great players here and I'm fine with it because they truly and simply just out-played me...end of story. And I salute them for their efforts. I'm not anywhere near the best player here, but it still can be quite irritating to be constantly undermined by a player who has shown several times (Track and Field, Eyes, Crystal Castles to just start the list of obvious infractions)that his recordings are not a result of playing the game well more than it is a show of how well a game can be manipulated by one's computing power (or lack thereof).

2)Secondly, and this may apply to the previously convicted also (I mean, sheesh, if you'll use slow frame-rates, what's to stop you there?)is that the recent finding that MAME can be manipulated to achieve what I refer to as "recording layering". This one is a bit more difficult to detect, but a few things have surfaced and are still being examined by those who are most familiar with the games in question.

The fact of the matter is, this is supposed to be for fun with a little bit of ego sprinkled in for that "edge" of excitement and inspiration to do better on the pasttime that we all obviously greatly enjoy. We could do without players that continuously participate at MARP using the aforementioned techniques. What purpose is it serving you to do this? I'd really love to hear an answer to that one. It wouldn't (and shouldn't) matter that much to worry about the things I'm ranting about except for the fact that I and many other MARPers put in a great deal of time and effort on our recordings only to witness our scores being undermined by the lack of sportsmanship displayed here recently.

To all the great players who do display a sense of fair play here at MARP...I applaud your efforts and encourage you to keep up those great efforts as it is quite fun to watch players of your caliber perform. Even if it's me you're beating up on...doesn't matter...I'm just happy to be among a crowd of great players enjoying their hobby.


-- JoustGod (pinballwiz1@msn.com), November 18, 1999.

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