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10-11-2020 at 07:01 PM
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Billy Mitchell could only use MAME

I don't often ask for attention. I've been keeping up with this whole fiasco and haven't contributed much at all despite my vested interest. As someone who was exposed to emulation since the start of the new millennium, this was an area where I could at least do my part and share knowledge in a field I have a large amount of experience in. It's high time I try to do something.
I'll start off this post by saying I wanted to give Mitchell the benefit of the doubt but between the embarrassingly ridiculous lawsuit threat his friend made (which was the first mention of the tapes being edited) and what he presented after finally speaking up, such a second chance is no longer warranted. I loathe dishonesty and despise illogic. Paper-thin arguments and statements that contradict his own previous evidence have given me zero reason to believe him. As much as I hate to say this, I can provide better proof against the argument of using MAME to cheat than what he has presented, even though that still doesn't ultimately matter.

This is a followup to one of my forum posts about other arcade emulators. It all stems from the idea some people hop onto that other arcade emulators exist for Donkey Kong. It seems they didn't do much for their own research. It is officially stated that proving BM's footage actually being MAME was beyond TG's scope for reasons understandable, but there is a misconception in its wording that other emulators would need to be ruled out. People parrot this both for and against him. I have even heard that MAME is somehow an umbrella term for arcade emulators when someone interviewed Mr. Pińeiro. Although that greatly irked me, Carlos at least tried to clarify that it wasn't the case and MAME was, in fact, used. Just because Nintendo made the Switch doesn't mean the mainstream goes around calling that the Nintendo when that generally refers to its first console released overseas, the Nintendo Entertainment System.
After some further research on alternatives, I have found one possibility much to my own surprise: Final Burn Alpha. Those who played Fightcade 1 are definitely familiar with this emulator, though hardcore Capcom fans should be aware of the controversy surrounding it from being licensed for use in a pricey and awkward two-player arcade system. It seems I overlooked this emulator mistaking it for a different one under the assumption it supported less than it actually did. I failed to look deep enough despite knowing it took a lot from MAME; however, FBA ultimately still cannot be considered a possibility as far as the ongoing matter is concerned. Support for DK was added in 2012, while there is stated support for Donkey Kong Jr. under Galaxian hardware back in 2009. Being a year before the world record was achieved, it wasn't a bad idea to see what this was about since little information is available on this score.
Thankfully the releases are preserved, so I got right to it. Knowing that the 2012 version is out of the question my only option was to look into this oddly-categorized DK Jr. That was a red flag in itself. The option for the real game was there, but it said it wasn't working when I tried to run it.

After a bit of digging it turns out this version of FBA only supported a bootlegged version running on different hardware, even though it needed the parent ROM (official game) to get it running. It was not looking good at all. As you can see here...Wow... There is no reasonable way you could get away with using this, not that I recommend trying to pass off a bootleg playthrough as legitimate in any circumstance. Bootlegged versions are prone to all kinds of quirks, including bugs, improper sound, and even altered AI. Despite the graphics being similar (minus the colors obviously), it's not the same game at all! For example, I was made aware of a bug in a bootleg called Crazy Kong, where a pixel-perfect jump into the corner of the Barrel stage could either beat the level or kill you. I'm no expert in DK, but I'm sure one could figure something is off in bootlegs. These bootlegs certainly aren't 1:1 on a gameplay level when they're put on different hardware. At least you don't have to deal with potentially faulty hardware that could damage you and your cabinet when you use emulation.
Anyway, I couldn't check the transitions without resorting to external means because frame advance isn't in this version of FBA. More importantly, though, I cannot fix the incorrect screen orientation through the command line like MAME (Can't link the relevant section directly). At the very least I see no documentation for such. The misorientation is still present in the aforementioned 2012 version that first supported the original games.
Even then, FBA didn't support re-recording (using save states to redo bad inputs) unless you found a specific off-branch. I'm not sure if the 2009 version was available at the time seeing that branch renumbers its releases. It would have been no different than using MAME back then though. A search for MAME re-recording shows that MAME had no such feature natively.

The bottom line is simple: Using FBA for Donkey Kong was not possible at the time, so we can rule it out. There are no other options either. You can look around to see if anything else exists for yourself but there isn't. These two links are a good start for your own research:
(Note: ROMs are the only thing illegal. Developing and sharing emulators is by no means illegal despite being a medium for piracy.)

I'll do some work for you though to save some time. Looking around you may find another option called RetroArch. Let's go to Emuparadise (I'm not linking directly just to be safe). This "emulator" is also present in the second link. You don't see it in the first link because it is not exactly an emulator in itself.RetroArch's first release was in mid-2010, just before BM's last WRs at the time, but it is only the front-end (imagine using Windows Explorer instead of a command line like DOS) for a program called Libretro. It is a system that relies on "cores", which are generally other emulators converted for it to use. Both MAME and FBA offer several cores for RetroArch. Using them would essentially be using those emulators anyway. It really doesn't matter how you play it if it's still MAME. Even then, setting up RetroArch can be just as challenging as MAME to those inexperienced if not more. To be honest, though, it's rather pointless to use RetroArch, at least for a computer, if you don't plan on using it for more than one system or to play online with others. To sum this up, RetroArch couldn't have been used either.

As they say though, leave no stone unturned. I was rather surprised an emulator that actually supported DK other than MAME exists, but we can easily rule it out though given that support was added after the scores were submitted. Whatever differences that may exist between said subset of MAME and MAME itself are irrelevant as far as these scores go. In conclusion, there are no other emulators that could be used for Donkey Kong, especially back in 2005.
I don't think my findings are enough for TG themselves to "definitively conclude" MAME was used, but by exploring and eliminating what wasn't available we can easily discover that the only possible emulator was, in fact, MAME. Now, can we get any experts in visual effects software to seal this case shut for good? (sarcasm)

TL;DR: Despite everyone saying there are other emulators, none actually existed at the time. Fact of the matter is, the only option was MAME.

Edit March '21: I'd just like to remind people that contrary to popular belief, we have no conclusive way to actually prove what was used. "Proof" that the footage was spliced came from only one person. We have not had the means to verify this for months, and any possible chance permanently vanished at the start of the year. All known sources of the 1.04M tape that allegedly had sound are silent. Were we to rule out savestates from my findings, then the only other possible method would require more external means, to say the least. I won't disclose what I think it may be even though. Such is irrelevant in the larger scheme of it all. The fact the tapes show MAME artifacts and date as far back as 2006 is all that matters. Guinness's reversal, the 20-plus friends testifying he's legit, the suggestion (and not-proven idea) that every tape was edited, the Nintendo-certified PCB, mean nothing when the evidence is clear. Earnest attempts were made by people that supported him and fell short. Had he succeed in recreating MAME artifacts on PCB then I'd believe him. When those failed that was when the lies came around. He has been trying to push his own evidence while feigning ignorance to the evidence that hard-counters everything he has been trying to push. Whether it's to control the court or his supporters, the dishonesty is deplorable. For example, there is no logical ground in the claim that he was set up via video alteration while also claiming that said footage is still legit. If the tapes were altered to make him look fraudulent yet if what he was called out for can actually show up normally as he claims, then what Dwayne did was ultimately pointless. You should not trust people who deflect, deceive, and create uncertainty. We should be aiming for the truth, to investigate and discern. People who side with those that muddy the waters are simply complicit in obscuring the truth.

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