Video Game Scores

  1. Video Game Scores

    11-25-2020, 09:20 PM
    I've been quietly following the video game scores dispute saga for the last few years and I find it amazing that things have escalated to the point of actual lawsuits over the validity of old video game scores. Frankly, video games are supposed to be fun, and most points of contention could have been easily avoided if people had simply given it a modicum of thought.

    In my opinion, the entire concept of keeping track of who's the "best" at playing any particular video game has been flawed from the very beginning, especially when using a simple score as the sole means of ranking a performance as compared to others from the beginning of time. Factor in the baggage associated with old scores, and you ultimately end up with a bunch of cranky middle-aged men arguing over decades-old video game scores. Sound familiar?

    Accuracy aside, when you say someone is the "best of all time" at playing any particular video game, there inevitably comes a point when scores get so high that they're completely out of reach for anyone but those who are compulsively obsessed with being the best of the best, where you eventually end up with a list of "top" players with the same high score. Obviously, someone will have done it "first", but does it really matter? It's a freaking video game, not the first man on the moon.

    That being said, I believe there's a better way that's far less contentious and much more inclusive of casual and/or first-time gamers, without all the baggage associated with crusty old video gamers and their scores, often with questionable origins. Think of it as a rotating list of "champions", but only for a limited period of time.

    Simply have two types of published scores, verified and unverified, with a given set of rules established to qualify a score as being verified. And don't bother with selected lists of video games, as getting it right would be akin to herding cats. Let people post scores for any video game they want, categorizing them accordingly, but to be "verified" it must follow the rules.

    Last but not least, the time period should be limited to one year, as opposed to forever. Think 2021 video game scores, 2022 video game scores, etc. Forget about "video game player of the century" and focus on "video game player of the year" for any given video game title. After a year has passed, the previous years scores should be archived and the slate wiped clean for the coming year. By the way, time limits have the added benefit of allowing rule changes to be incorporated for a new year, without affecting any previous years scores.

    As for the existing database, which can never be fully authenticated due to it's questionable origins, I would simply archive it for posterity and look to the future. Lose the baggage of the past and focus on having some fun for a change. On the other hand, if herding cats is your thing, good luck with that.

    Last edited by Raven; 11-26-2020 at 03:46 AM. Reason: Format and Spacing
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  2. 11-25-2020, 10:49 PM
    I'm not entirely certain that TG's objective is to determine "who is the best ever", which would inherently be a subjective assessment. Rather, it has been my observation that TG's aim is to document who has the achieved the highest specific metric that was performed within a set of conditions and parameters, and apparently, there are many who are interested in that collection of data, so why not capitalize on that market?

    Besides, someone meeting that criteria on one game or another isn't necessarily "the best ever", nor would any rational person think as much. I haven't ran into anyone here at TG (any active person who has submitted anything in the two years Ive been here, at least) who has claimed as much about themselves. It has been my experience that in any competitive arena, anyone claiming to having the most skill ever is identical to talking about one's own intellectual fortitude or anatomical dimensions: If you have to talk about how great yours is, it likely means it isn't so great, and Im pretty sure most people know that ... and likely why it isn't seen here. The only places Ive seen such narcissism is from people who are no longer members, and some others who were never members here, but are at other sites like Speedrun.
    Last edited by Garrett Holland; 11-25-2020 at 11:09 PM.
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  3. 11-25-2020, 10:59 PM
    .. I do like your idea of "verified vs unverified", but then we enter the weeds with what constitutes "verified". Some of the legacy scores on TG (Pre-TGSAP) were all supposedly "verified", even though such verification methods were questionable at best, and laughable at worst (i.e. Gee ... look at all these scores in this here magazine published in 1983 with a bunch of scores that aren't even possible! And looky here! The publisher even states that I can mail in a score written on toilet paper, and theyll include it in their magazine! There is NO WAY this can be abused at all. I have a great idea ... lets include ALL OF IT in our official database, and slap a 'Verified by Referee' label on it! Yay!"), as known to have happened a time or two. Some of us think excluding that garbage is tantamount to a travesty, while others of us consider the inclusion of the garbage as the travesty. TG is in a tough position of inevitably pìssing off half the members by either including or excluding.

    I just look at this like sauage-making ... its an ugly evolution to watch, but I'm sure it'll taste good in the end. I would simply advise those who get queasy observing the process should just look away until the process is finished.
    Last edited by Garrett Holland; 11-25-2020 at 11:07 PM.
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  4. 11-25-2020, 11:52 PM
    I like the analogy "can't unbake the cake", which perectly describes the TG video game scores database, and regardless of any efforts made to assure it's integrity, there will always be lingering doubts. Not to mention the problems caused by keeping or removing any existing scores. Why not simply flush it all and start from scratch using something new and different?

    There's obviously a (niche?) market for all-time high scores, but score trackers are a dime a dozen these days and I see little to truly distinguish one from another. As I recently heard one gamer say in a youtube discussion video about the ongoing TG disputes, they prefer to simply post their performances to Youtube or Twitch and call it a day. In fact, I've often got the impression that many people think of TG and their scores database as a joke, no doubt because of past controversies and current ongoing disputes.

    Hence, rather than trying to clean up the mess and mitigate damage along the way, I think a more viable approach might be to look at everything from an entirely new perspective, as outlined in my original post.

    Honestly, in the grand scheme of things, I don't think it matters who is the "top" gamer of all time, any more than it matters who did it first, which is always debatable, depending on one's perspective. Therefore, I believe limiting the scope to smaller chunks of time (IE: one year) would eliminate many issues.

    Take the arcade game scores for Donkey Kong for example, I have no idea who the current "champion" is, nor do I care, but I would imagine that the scores have just about reached their maximum potential, leaving little room for additional competition. Thus, limiting the scope to a single year would have the net effect of making it even more competitive, while making the very act of competing more attractive and inclusive for everyone. Want to stay on "top", put up or shut up. Want to take a break, let someone else be the "champion" for a while. Ultimately, it could end up being more about good sportsmanship, rather than winning at any cost or being "top dog".
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  5. 11-26-2020, 12:14 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by Raven View Post
    Last but not least, the time period should be limited to one year, as opposed to forever. Think 2021 video game scores, 2022 video game scores, etc. Forget about "video game player of the century" and focus on "video game player of the year" for any given video game title. After a year has passed, the previous years scores should be archived and the slate wiped clean for the coming year
    That's no different to the current scoreboard. You can see (if you want) who put up the best score in any given year, the score dates are there.
    You do know that there are many members that are so good at a certain game/s that they can beat anyones new score each year for the next 10+ years any time they like.

    I'm pretty confident that the current system is the most competitive system. But thats just me thinking out loud.


    john

    .
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  6. 11-26-2020, 12:33 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by lexmark View Post
    That's no different to the current scoreboard. You can see (if you want) who put up the best score in any given year, the score dates are there.
    You do know that there are many members that are so good at a certain game/s that they can beat anyones new score each year for the next 10+ years any time they like.

    I'm pretty confident that the current system is the most competitive system. But thats just me thinking out loud.


    john

    .
    Being a former database admin for multiple very large clustered databases with over 50 million records each, I know it would be trivial to compare scores from multiple years to see who is the "best". The very nature of storing time-based records in a database makes this possible, plus people talk. However, that's missing the point.

    Also, I'm well aware that people exist who have likely mastered certain video games, making it possible for them to dominate the scores for any given year, should they choose to do so, but will they? Life happens, and no matter how good someone might be at playing video games, there will be times when other things are simply more important to them. Besides, there is alway "next year".

    In any case, the general idea is not to make it more competitive, as much as to make it more fun, thus increasing the likelyhood of expanding the sphere of interest from a group of diehard gamers to include more mainstream gamers. In other words, if you make the goal seem more attainable, more people might try to reach it.
  7. 11-26-2020, 01:00 AM
    So the bragging rights would be that you got the highest score in a given year? Even though someone/many could easily do better. Is that how you see it? Just wondering.

    john

    .
  8. 11-26-2020, 01:10 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by lexmark View Post
    So the bragging rights would be that you got the highest score in a given year? Even though someone/many could easily do better. Is that how you see it? Just wondering.

    john

    .
    For me, the focus would be less about "bragging rights" than about keeping people coming back for more, and perhaps having a bit more fun along the way. But if being the "best" is really important to someone, it would be much more difficult for them to rest on their laurels while the ankle-biters nip at their heels. As I said previously, they would be forced to "put up or shut up", year after year. And lets not forget that no matter how good someone might be, random chance is always a factor. Regardless, the general idea is to mix things up a bit. Shaken, not stirred.

    Forcing players to submit new high scores, year after year, has an added benefit which may not be obvious at first glance. When viewing video game scores, the first question which may come to mind is "Did they cheat?" and the second question which may come to mind is "How did they do it?". Assuming someone did cheat, but they used an undiscovered method that's very hard to detect, having multiple scores and performances to analyze would increase the likelyhood of their methods being discovered. On the contrary, using a single high score and associated performance to cheat may go undetected for years, as many of you know all too well.
    Last edited by Raven; 11-26-2020 at 03:07 AM.
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  9. 11-27-2020, 11:57 PM
    there have been games that have the yearly leaderboard thing as you proposed, and they're basically dead with no real knowledge of past records as the active player counts lowered.

    this is especially bad if said leaderboard has attached videos and replays, when these are wiped; they are far harder to find.

    personally, I just think this is a case of fixing something that isnt broken, and while I understand the positives to a rotating champion system, I dont think it fits well with score attack and how long lasting it is.

    I do agree that there should be a sort of clean slate wipe here, but coordinating such a thing is tough.
    stg never die. 47 stg 1cc's
  10. 11-28-2020, 12:24 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl2hu View Post
    I just think this is a case of fixing something that isnt broken, and while I understand the positives to a rotating champion system, I dont think it fits well with score attack and how long lasting it is.

    I do agree that there should be a sort of clean slate wipe here, but coordinating such a thing is tough.
    It's just an idea and I never imagined it would be well received by a group of people seeking to get "top" scores. As for cleaning the slate, I'm not certain much can be done about it, aside from purging some of the more notorious scores from the database.

    Statistical analysis can be used to identify any scores that are outliers for any given video game which merit further investigation. Simply plot the scores on a line chart with the historical average of all scores to use as a baseline. The plotted line of scores should resemble an exponential curve, with outliers being several standard deviations above the mean.

    I couldn't find an example specific to video game scores, but here's one pertaining to the current ongoing presidential election debacle. For context, players names would be plotted along the X axis (horizontal) and their scores would be plotted along the Y axis (vertical).

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    Lastly, it's important to realize that outliers don't necessarily mean the score is fake. It's possible the player may have had exceptional skills and/or dedication for playing the game. It's simply a means of aiding the process of locating suspicious high scores which merit further investigation.
    Last edited by Raven; 11-28-2020 at 12:38 PM.
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