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BERZERK: Vote, Random Play or Pattern Play

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    BERZERK: Vote, Random Play or Pattern Play

    I am Joel West. Many of you know me as an avid Berzerk player from the Golden Age of Video Games and from the movie Chasing Ghost:Beyond The Arcade. I am also joelwest.thegamer on Facebook. I need your help because your opinions are valuable to me.
    I am attempting to persuade TGI to create a new variation for Berzerk scores. Currently there are two variations (Fast Bullets & Slow Bullets) on two different platforms (Arcade & M.A.M.E.). I am seeking to create a sub-variation of each current variation for both platforms. If approved, this proposed change would not effect, nor be applicable to, any other platform (Atari, Colecovision, SECAM, etc.). These forums are watched and your opinion EITHER WAY will be most appreciated.

    Let's define the terms:
    Random Play: Playing from left to right across the screen for the right-handed player. Playing from right to left for a left-handed player. This is the way the game was originally played in the 1980's and still is the way 99.999% of all players still play it today. All rooms that a player encounters are RANDOM in that the player has no foreknowledge of what room is next, nor where the robots are placed in each room. In a 100,000 point game a player will encounter approximately 210 to 280 rooms, ALL DIFFERENT. This does not mean that occasionally an exit out the top or bottom is not allowed, it just means that a player does not exit in such a way as rooms repeat deliberately.

    Pattern Play: Exiting rooms in a clockwise, counter-clockwise, or some other manner over a series of rooms that repeats the rooms on a regular basis. The repeating allows the player foreknowledge of upcoming rooms and possible robot placement in those rooms. Only 3 people have ever submitted records to TGI using this method of play. In a typical 100,000 point game a player will encounter approximately 210 to 280 rooms. ONLY 4 rooms, after the pattern is set (in most patterns used) will be played with each room appearing 50 to 70 times per 100,000 points scored (depending on the number of robots appearing in each room).

    My point is simply this: There is room at TGI for both variations. Patterns are a glitch in the system. Pattern Play is akin to trapping the spider in Centipede, or the difference in scoring in Donkey Kong with the Hammer or NO-Hammer variations. However, it is not sportsmanship to define the scoring record of this great classic game by a glitch that few people know how to implement or even fewer have interest in using.

    Pattern Play required a lot of research to discover and patience to achieve such a high score. It should be recognized as a separate variation, in my opinion, but not as the standard of Berzerk in totality. All Berzerkers that I have spoken with (even 2 of the 3 who used patterns for records) agree that Random Play is the true measure of a player's ability. Pattern play deserves it's own variation as it requires skill and ability to score 300,000 plus (all current record scores are above this number).

    Another reason for creating two variations is competitiveness. Many are discouraged from playing Berzerk competitively due to the ultra-high scores that now exist. I suggest opening up the competition by allowing the two sub-variation categories to exist and allowing the players to choose which way they choose to play.

    Isn't TGI supposed to be fair and impartial? Isn't TGI supposed to promote fair and exciting game play? I say that if TGI has the wisdom to create this change for both Arcade and M.A.M.E. that this great classic game will experience a renewed interest.

    For those who may suggest that my interest in this proposal is self-serving, let me comment. Yes, I compete and will continue to compete for this record. I held TG's first Berzerk record and want it again. However, I know that there is no way humanly possible for anyone to ever score the equivalent of Pattern Play from playing Random Play. Since most people have never seen a pattern, it is only a just and fair move to allow the new variations. If the new variations were approved I would move up from 6th to 4th in Random Play Fast Bullets and from 4th to 3rd in Random Play Slow Bullets. Those places do not interest me. I have NEVER submitted a score unless it is 1st. I am currently aware of 14 patterns but have chosen not to use them for a record. I just want to inspire competition, fairness and to respectfully honor the effort it requires to achieve great scores on this wonderful classic game.

    Please leave your opinion or vote CHANGE (to get my proposal approved) or NO CHANGE (if you want to keeping the scoring the way it is).
    Any comment is appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Joel West
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    Re: BERZERK: Vote, Random Play or Pattern Play

    I'd be in favor of seperate tracking, so CHANGE is my vote.
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    Re: BERZERK: Vote, Random Play or Pattern Play

    Lets see how this turns out.
    Stephen K. Boyer
    Former Twin Galaxies Sr. Referee
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Mario Bros. 2-Player Team: 1,517,380 ( Arcade Medium World Record )
    Mario Bros. 2-Player Team: 788,970 ( Arcade Medium NO POW World Record )
    Mario Bros. Single Player MEDIUM 4,260,210 ( MAME World Record )
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    Re: BERZERK: Vote, Random Play or Pattern Play

    ***NOTE: The following is my own personal opinion, not the opinion of Twin Galaxies or its staff.***

    I would vote NO CHANGE for the following reason:

    There are already three variations for MAME (not sure if there are three or two for Arcade), and provided each uses a different ROMset (Fast Bullets / Slow Otto and Slow Otto / Fast Bullets are two different ROMsets for MAME), it could go back to the whole thing about too many variations dilute the term of World Record. Games like racing games and even music games, you could make the argument of one variation per song (and I'm glad we're doing any difficulty now, at least I think we are, but still one track per song per instrument). Pac-Man you have normal and turbo speed, as turbo speed makes the game somewhat different. Aside from the ROMsets in Berzerk though, it's still the same game, just played differently from my experience (pattern vs. random that is).

    Just because people can hit high scores using the same four rooms doesn't mean that someone can't beat that score using all different rooms. Do I feel that using 210 different rooms to get a high score is a better test of skill than seeing the same four over and over? Yes. Do I feel that it warrants separate tracks? No. If I took the hard way to achieve a world record that beat someone's score who took the easy way out, I'd feel a heck of a lot better about said score. Now granted I don't know much about Berzerk, so I don't know if you keep going one direction long enough if you'll eventually repeat rooms, but I still don't think it would warrant separate tracking.
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    Re: BERZERK: Vote, Random Play or Pattern Play

    I agree with Joel on this one. I vote for change. The move will only inspire more competition.
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    Re: BERZERK: Vote, Random Play or Pattern Play

    The main issue would be how do you separate the existing scores into separate tracks? How do you know and/or prove what method of play was used and was there some sort of mixed variation? What then? I played most of my WR game with the box obviously, but I killed off a man and took the next man a long ways on the toughest robots randomly as well to show the ability to play that way also.

    Not saying I disagree, just that I don't see any easy way to accomplish it.

    Also what about something like Pac-Man? Do you separate out those who ran a 9th key pattern for hours to the kill screen from those that played without one? How do you know?

    Not to mention, according to creator Alan McNeil, running a pattern isn't a glitch, it was his intent.

    Just saying it is not as cut and dry of moving scores around into buckets.
    Currently Playing: Front Page Sports baseball '98 (PC) (using 1996 rosters common draft)
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    Re: BERZERK: Vote, Random Play or Pattern Play

    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Otto
    The main issue would be how do you separate the existing scores into separate tracks? How do you know and/or prove what method of play was used and was there some sort of mixed variation? What then? I played most of my WR game with the box obviously, but I killed off a man and took the next man a long ways on the toughest robots randomly as well to show the ability to play that way also.
    You don't separate the existing scores...all new scores not using the box pattern would go in the new track. If you use the box pattern, it would go in the old track. I suppose you could submit a non-box pattern score to either track. At least that's the way I understand it.
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    Re: BERZERK: Vote, Random Play or Pattern Play

    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyKongFan
    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Otto
    The main issue would be how do you separate the existing scores into separate tracks? How do you know and/or prove what method of play was used and was there some sort of mixed variation? What then? I played most of my WR game with the box obviously, but I killed off a man and took the next man a long ways on the toughest robots randomly as well to show the ability to play that way also.
    You don't separate the existing scores...all new scores not using the box pattern would go in the new track. If you use the box pattern, it would go in the old track. I suppose you could submit a non-box pattern score to either track. At least that's the way I understand it.
    So the current track would have a mix of box and assumed non-box scores? And then a new track would be created called "really new non-box scores?"
    Currently Playing: Front Page Sports baseball '98 (PC) (using 1996 rosters common draft)
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    Re: BERZERK: Vote, Random Play or Pattern Play

    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Otto
    So the current track would have a mix of box and assumed non-box scores? And then a new track would be created called "really new non-box scores?"
    [/quote]

    Unless someone has video proof of an existing score not using a box pattern, I would think so. I don't know how else you'd do it.
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    Re: BERZERK: Vote, Random Play or Pattern Play

    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyKongFan

    Unless someone has video proof of an existing score not using a box pattern, I would think so. I don't know how else you'd do it.
    Exactly. Once the 2 methods of playing have been intermingled between video/non video/80's/present day, etc. It is impossible to separate out the existing scores.
    Currently Playing: Front Page Sports baseball '98 (PC) (using 1996 rosters common draft)
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