Scoring : LUSENET : MAME Action Replay : One Thread

I don't understand the current scoring system. It appears to me that the current system really awards playing games with lots of clones, something I've tried to avoid. For example, I could get another Klax score, and another Dig Dug score (dzigzag to be precise) but I think it's pointless, and in the case of the 3 dig dugs.... digdugat, dugdignm and dzigzag, they are all exactly the same!

Neil Chapman played all 5 Crazy Kongs (which itself is a clone of Donkey Kong!) and a ton of pacman and mspacman variants. In my opinion the clones are inflating the scores, and the only way to compete is to play all the clones. Would it not be better to play the first original game, and call it the official version? Games with tons of clones have greater impact then games without clones. Is this fair?

My 2 cents, Mark

-- Mark Longridge (, June 18, 1999


It's the same as the old scoring system in that way. I just never got around to teaching the script what was a clone of what. Now that it knows, I'll arrange for clones to either be excluded or merged with original games. It would be easier to exclude all the clones, but probably better to take each person's highest score for each group of games and award points based on that.

I agree with what you say - it's just a matter of my finding time to implement a better scoring system.


-- Zwaxy (, June 18, 1999.

Couldn't have said it better myself! To adjust for this advantage it would make lots of sense to lump the clones together and divide any clone score by the number of clones for that particular game. Why should PacMan be worth 1100 pts. and just about any Neo-Geo a measly 100??? In effect any game with a clone would now be worth at most 200 leaderboard pts...

-- Pat (, June 21, 1999.

The idea of merging the clones with the original games is that a maximum of 100 points is then available to each player for each game. There are no longer 1100 points available for playing all the pacman clones. If I treat the clones and original games as separate then there would be 200 points per player available - 100 for the clones and 100 for the original game.

I'm not finally decided to stick with the current scoring mechanism - consider it still experimental, but I don't see how treating the clones as separate makes the scoring any fairer. The current system of lumping the clones in with the original game makes each game count as much as any other game, don't you think?

There will always be a few games which are adversely affected by whatever scoring system I use, but I don't think it's very practical to treat different games differently. I can't (spare the time to) make case-by-case exceptions for situations where the clone is easier than the original game. I guess in that case I would say 'play the clone then'. Is that not OK with you?

-- Zwaxy (, June 21, 1999.

You're right in that separating originals and clones doesn't really make the scoring any fairer. However, what I think will happen is what Chad said which is that in many games everyone will play the easiest clone (read as turbo or fast-fire) and no one will challenge the original. This is a serious fault if you want TGTS recordings posted. People will then need figure out which is the best version for each game and then none of the other versions would be played. Case by case exceptions to determine the preferred "scoring" version is not the answer either as the maintenance becomes a nightmare.

I suppose I'm a traditionalist, and believe that an original game is considered an original for a variety of reasons notably for the purpose of tracking records and historical significance. Perhaps it's a programmer's original work and wants players to remember it as such. That said, emphasis should be given to the original. You do that by ignoring all the clones (not realistic) or minimzing the importance (scoring and otherwise) of the clones. The extra 100 pts. distributed amongst the clones would let those that have invested time and effort into playing clones, be rewarded for their efforts. At the same time it would be quite clear that the original is the prefered version for leaderboard points.

-- Pat (, June 21, 1999.


First of all, I am probably pretty much maxed out on the leaderboard. There may be one or two more games in which I can get a top 3 score and probably a few hundred in which I can get somewhere between 1 and 10 percentage points. I don't have the time or the intention to do that. Yes, I know I have submitted several "free" 100 point recordings. I have changed my mind since then.

The reason I reply to your post is because you mentioned Crazy Kong. As of this writing, I own the #1 score on all 7 (not 5) versions of Crazy Kong. The main reason I wanted the #1 score on all versions was not to improve my leaderboard score, but simply because I love the game, I know I am good at it, and I can't stand it if somebody has a higher score on it than I have. Surely you understand the competitive spirit in that.

Of the 7 versions of Crazy Kong, there are at least 4 different ones. Each has its subtle differences, and every CK player probably has his own favourite version and his own version he is best at. (And I am not even mentioning Donkey Kong; personally, I like DK a LOT less than I like CK.) I fell in love with this game 17 years ago or so, but unfortunately I have never seen the exact same version as I played then since then.

Your concern is about the leaderboard, my concern is trying to show I am the one of the best at Crazy Kong, and I can't do that if I am just supposed to play one version, because then the 7 versions would have 7 different people holding a #1 score. Is that fair? Is it fair if I can beat a score on a different version, I am not allowed to do so, because I already played one version? Like I said, I am no longer interested in the leaderboard. As far as I am concerned, all the "free" 100 points I got can be removed from MARP.

I had a look at the list of Neil Chapman's recordings, and to me it seems that he feels about the same way I do. He doesn't have much more besides CK and all the PacMan variants, so it doesn't like he's really competing for the leaderboard. To me it seems that he is just trying to show he's the best at some of the games. Neither he nor I are any threat really to the people who are good at a lot of different games.

Once more, as far as I am concerned, all the "free" 100 points I got can be removed from MARP. I'll still have 9 or so first places left then, and shouldn't be much of a threat then to anyone who is trying to get a good position on the leaderboard. And while we're at it (and to make me even less of a threat), my Scramble and T&F/Hyper Olympic recordings should be removed too. I used autofire in those games.

I realise that this doesn't offer any solutions to the scoring system, but I don't think that taking one version and calling it the official version is fair either, because there may be (as I can tell you for sure there are in CK) subtle differences, and some people may be better at one particular version, while others are better at a different version.

Sorry to have made this post so long, but Crazy Kong is something that is very dear to me. :-)

Cheers, Ben Jos.

-- Ben Jos Walbeehm (, August 28, 1999.

Reminding you this is a pretty old thread :) And i think most (even though clones do sometimes give an unfair advantage) are accepting any mame decided clones as "another game in the arcade" to get a highscore with. So don't worry about having 7x100s, it's ok :)

cool scores btw, hope you can snap up the DK's as well.

-- Chad (, August 28, 1999.

Thanks, Chad. I knew the thread was pretty old. I just discovered this board yesterday. As for DK, I like it a lot less than I like CK, but, yes, I am going to try to up those scores, too. Actually, I already got the #1 on the Japanese version of DK. I'll try the US version next.

Cheers, Ben Jos.

-- Ben Jos Walbeehm (, August 28, 1999.

Not remembering a difference between CK and DK, and only seeing DK in the actually arcade (in fact i was in my arcade the day they first installed a DK machine and let it out to the public, shit that was a long time ago and gosh i was pretty impressed with the graphics :)

What are the differences that cause you to like CK over DK?

(also btw about the autofire scores, if you honestly state what method you used to autofire rlh or joystick autofire or no autofire in the description that's the honest thing to do, we will or are in the process of democratically decided to keep/separate/remove the autofire scores later.)

-- Chad (, August 28, 1999.

I checked out the "ckong" set after I saw these messages. I'm not getting far enough yet to suit me (L=4), but I can help answer the question...

Differences: (based on "ckong" versus "dkong")


Certain differences between the Crazy Kong ("ckong") and Donkey Kong US ("dkong") romsets are caused by Crazy Kong being based on the Japan version. The most obvious is the wave order, somewhat less obvious is the barrels behavior when Mario is on a ladder. There are also numerous graphic errors in "ckong" I'm not going to touch on when they don't affect gameplay.

Barrels: 1. Second hammer inaccessible. 2. Girder ends are cutoff. 3. Gaps in the girders. 4. Barrels will not go down a ladder Mario is on. 5. There are holes in the barrel cycle.

The ladder bit & easier barrel cycle are going to give him trouble on the US version. Despite the altered girders this is a piece of cake compared to the "dkong" barrels.


1. Conveyor belts are twice as fast. 2. Fewer fireballs appear.

Very much harder than the "dkong" conveyors.


1. Right fireball is missing. 2. Certain elevators are missing. 3. Springs???

The springs don't feel right, but I'm having trouble figuring out why. The right fireball doesn't matter anyway, and the missing elevators don't matter much. The challenge on elevators is the springs, so ???


1. Top hammer disappears (it's still there).

Feels like rivets to me, versions equal.


If DK Japan has the same springs, it won't be any problem for someone used to CK. DK US takes some adjusting on Barrels, and may have different springs.


-- Aquatarkus (, August 28, 1999.

Just to clarify: By "free" 100 points, I meant the 100 points I got on games like blockade, comotion, dominos, and several bowling games.

As for autofire, I used the autofire my joystick has (and not a good one at that; I think there are joysticks that have much faster autofire than mine (Interact PC Arcade)). RLH was something I considered a cheat, but when looking at some recordings, I thought autofire wasn't. If I really wanted to cheat, I probably easily could. I am a programmer, and I could probably make my own custom version of MAME that would allow me to use some virtually undetectable cheats. Or, probably with a lot of work, I could probably doctor up an inp file that would never let me die. Reminds me of when I was playing DOOM, and there were was a website that had some categories in which people could earn titles. Two titles included creating illegal recordings (either using some program or editing recordings by hand). As far as I know, nobody ever claimed any of those titles. But I am digressing...

As for the differences between CK and DK, I grew up in Europe, and I have never seen any DK games there. Everywhere, they had CK games. Or, more precisely, some were *called* DK, but they shared the characteristics of MAME's CK versions. Which is another reason I don't like to take one version and call it the original version. In the case of DK, the original would probably become the US version of DK, simply because the majority of the players on MARP are from the US.

Anyway, I think the difference between the US version of DK and all other versions of DK and CK is clear: It's the strange (and IMHO illogical) order of the stages (25m, 50m, 75m, ...) in the US version. The Japanese version of DK has the "correct" order of the stages like all CK versions, but shares most of its other characteristics with the US version.

Differences between CK and DK:

- The bouncing girders screen (75m) is different. There is definitely a different rhythm to how they bounce; on CK versions, on L=04 and higher, they come in pairs, on DK versions, they always come singly.

- On the 25m on DK, one cannot "fall through the floor" to complete the level; on CK one can.

- On CK versions, on the 50m, only 1 or 2 fireballs appear at the start; on DK versions, I think it goes up to 5 fireballs.

- On CK versions, there is an "end" to the game; the time on L=22 (or L=12 on the CK version on Scramble hardware) is extremely limited; the bonus counter starts out at 100, then changes to 4000 (instead of the usual 8000 at L=04 and higher), and when it has counted down from 4000 to 3600, one dies. The 25m, 50m, and 75m stages can still be finished within this amount of time, but the 100m is impossible, even if there were no fireballs. When I found this out (after having spent a lot of money on the game to get to this skill) 17 years ago or so, I spent a lot more money trying to find secret exits (like the 25m "jumping through the floor") on the 100m, but I never found one. I did find one on the 50m, but in the 100s of times I have played the game (and so probably 1000s of times I have seen the 50m), I have seen exit show up only a handful of times. On very rare occasions, below the handbag (is that what it is) on the bottom level of the 50m, a hole appears; inside this hole, there is a "Mario", just like the ones that are shown in the top left corner indicating how many lives you have left. Whenever that happens (so almost never), you can just fall through that hole and you'll have finished the 50m. Anyway, since the 100m was impossible, I then started to get as many points as possible. On one or two occasions, I actually managed to reach L=21, 25m on my first life, then I gathered as many points as possible on that stage before the time ran out (so I died on purpose), then did the same with all but one of my remaining lives, and used that last life to finally die on the impossible L=22, 100m. My personal best this way was 654300 points. Anyway, as far as I know, DK does not have an impossible stage.

But I guess the main reason I like CK so much more is because that was the game I fell in love with. Everything else I have seen since then (including home computer versions) has too many subtle differences, so it felt like those versions weren't the "real" version. If the US version of DK had been the first version I encountered, then I probably would have felt that CK wasn't "real".

Hmm... I really should start to cut down on the lengths of my posts.

Cheers, Ben Jos.

-- Ben Jos Walbeehm (, August 28, 1999.

The L=22 bit shows up in DK too, but the game is hard enough to keep that from being a factor for ... well ... everybody. If I understand the history correctly Billy Mitchell is the only one known to have done it in 3+1 lives on DK US.

From what I'd dismissed as utter crap floating around the net posing as L=4+ Elevator solutions, it looks like some of them might actually work on CK and suffer from the mislabeling you describe.


-- Aquatarkus (, August 28, 1999.

Thanks, Aqua. I guess you only played one version of CK and one (the US) version of DK, right? Because several things you mention only hold for certain versions of CK.

Certain versions of CK have: Pieces of the beams missing (including one below the second hammer on the 25m), on both the 25m and the 75m, but others have not, which make the ones I mentioned first slightly harder. The slightly harder versions will also have: Fast conveyor belts starting at L=02, but, in return, those versions allow you to put down the hammer (which I personally don't find very useful), and, finally, those slightly harder versions will not allow you to walk past Kong on the 100m; on the easier versions, you can walk behind Kong on that top layer.

As for the barrels level, the 2nd hammer is not inaccessible, regardless of which version of CK you play. In one of my recordings (I think it is the one for ckongjeu), I show that the hammer can still be taken...

I don't think the barrel cycle on DK makes it any harder, really, but, yes, the fact that I can't be safe on a ladder does cause me some problems (BTW, this only goes for the US version of DK; in the Japanese version of DK, you can still "hide" on a ladder), not really because it makes it a lot harder, but because I have to kick the habit of climbing halfway up a ladder and waiting there.

Another difference between DK and CK is the "jumping through the floor", which is not possible on DK, but that does not bother me too much; I didn't learn that trick until I had played CK lots of times already, and the only time I really used it from then on was to get through the barrels level on the time-limited L=22.

The conveyor levels: It depends on which version of CK you talk about. Some have the slow conveyor belts, others have the fast ones starting at L=02. Yes, there are more fireballs on DK, but that does not make it a *lot* harder, because you can still control everything you do. On the CK versions with the fast conveyor belts, you have to make a "blind" jump to get to the final ladder. I have never found a way to reliably tell if a "cake" (as I use to call them) will appear (although if one "cake" has just passed and another hasn't appeared within a certain amount of time, you can be fairly sure it's safe to take that jump). On the slow versions, and on DK, the fact that you can run the other way on a conveyor belt helps a lot, because you never have to take a blind jump to get to the final ladder, and, if you pay attention, you'll always have time to stop running and jump over a cake if one should appear.

Elevators: Yes, on all CK versions, the elevators come in sets of 3, while on DK they come continuously; this makes DK *slightly* easier, but I haven't quite figured out the rhythm of the springs on DK, which makes it harder for me. On CK, the hardest elevator level actually is L=03!!! Up to and including L=03, the springs come continuously and the time in between them gets shorter going from L=01 to L=02 to L=03. Starting at L=04, the springs come in pairs, and the gap between two pairs of pairs is larger than the gap between any pair of single springs on L=03.

Rivets: Apart from visual differences (the invisible hammer on CK after having taken the lower hammer, the fireballs having "tails" on DK), I don't feel any difference between CK and DK.

Now I have played the US version of DK a few times and have gotten used to the strange order of the stages, my main problem is the rhythm of the springs on the elevator level; I am not too concerned about the conveyor belt level, and I am starting to get used to not automatically hiding on a ladder on the barrel levels, which only makes it a little harder than CK (especially the CK versions in which the second hammer is so hard to get).

Ben Jos.

-- Ben Jos Walbeehm (, August 28, 1999.

Yes, that's why I listed the romsets used at the top - not guaranteed for other versions :) I've gotten 200k on the "dkong" romset, but I only sent it to Deca '99 & my copy of the .inp (along with pretty much all of my other pre July 99 inps) got deleted when I changed computers. I'll have to make a new one for MARP sometime I guess.

The missing beam under the second hammer in Barrels is why I think it's inaccessible - the fall would kill Mario. Any version where the beam is there that hammer should be in play. The differences in Barrels will be more important later on. DK US is very agressive, and likes to throw beanballs (baseball term for a ball thrown at a batter's head) at you if you go through too fast, stop moving for too long, or take the easy path. Not having the holes makes the last two of these more likely, so you'll provoke beanballs more often. The third case is most obvious right before the 2cd hammer ... if you dodge a difficult barrel set by climbing you'll get one thrown at you - usually while you're on the ladder, but if you jump the barrels then climb you'll be ok.

The 5 fireballs are a problem on DK conveyors, but they're somewhat controllable. If you wait a bit at the start you can usually go up the right side without fireball trouble. The biggest aggravation I have is the cement pans (what you call cakes). which is why the fast conveyors on "ckong" give me a headache. I have enough trouble with those on normal speed

The springs, or bouncing girders, is the cruncher on DK. I don't have any trouble (on either CK or DK) until L=4 on Elevators, but on L=4 it gets very hard to tell when you can go up safely. The most common advice is wait two springs and go, which for DK US is worthless. For CK, it looks like "wait for two paired springs to go by and go" is what you're doing - the springs coming in pairs is actually more obvious with the speed throttle turned off (300%+ speed - F10 in MSDOS MAME) than it is at normal speed.

You can't walk into/behind Donkey Kong on Rivets, but that's pretty much it. Yeah, the DK fireballs have tails, but jumping the rivets fireballs is a mistake (or desperation move) anyway so it doesn't matter much.

Barrels gets harder (and you have to do 3 times per building at L=5 and beyond) but it should be ok with practice, and Elevators is a pain for everybody.A detailed explanation of what I do on elevators is in the donkey kong section of my webpage.


-- Aquatarkus (, August 29, 1999.

A few more observations:

Somewhere (including the tips that you can activate in MAME) it says to wait for the girlfriend to scream "Help!" on DK's elevator levels, then count 4 springs, then run. That definitely does not work all the time. Although I still haven't quite figured out the rhythm, I can say for sure that, lots of times, this will not work. I have verified this up to and including L=13 by watching a recording I made. This recording, BTW, beats the #1 score for DK on MARP, but I feel I can do better than I did there, so I am going to try to make a better recording tonight before uploading something to MARP.

"Flashes". I have never seen "flashes" on DK, but they most certainly do occur on CK. Flashes occur on the barrel level only and really are barrels that Kong drops/throws (so they don't roll their way down, they drop instead), but with a few important differences: Their orientation is different: They're circular, just like rolling barrels look as long as they're not on a ladder. Also, they always drop straight down (never in an angle), starting at the regular drop point, and, most importantly: If you see one, and you're standing in the wrong place, it's impossible to avoid, because it's coming down at an incredible speed. It really looks like a flash. It only takes a second (probably less) to drop from top to bottom. It didn't take long for me to see flashes when I started playing CK all those years back, but not until I actually got killed by one, did I realise that they're barrels. If I remember correctly, if you look at my ckongs (Crazy Kong on Scramble hardware) recording, you'll see them. I think I actually die *twice* by a flash.

Ben Jos.

-- Ben Jos Walbeehm (, August 31, 1999.

There. I have just zeroed out the "free" perfect scores I had submitted for: blockade, bowlrama-bj, bowlrama-br, capbowl, capbowl2, checkmat, clbowl, comotion, dominos. Zwaxy, if you happen to be reading this, and if you have the time, please delete the above mentioned recordings from me.

I have also put "Joystick with autofire used." in the description for the remaining recordings to which it applies (some Scramble and T&F versions), so that when there is a final ruling on autofire, these can be taken care of.

With 10 first places and 7 third places now, I shouldn't be too much of a threat anymore to people who, without playing all clones, compete for the leaderboard.

Sorry that I added another first place on a clone yesterday, but Donkey Kong (US Version) was the only one of the 9 versions of Crazy Kong and Donkey Kong on which I didn't have the #1 position yet...

Ben Jos.

-- Ben Jos Walbeehm (, September 01, 1999.

I would like some of those freebie points to be disabled also. Expecially the known broken games, even though they will be fixed at a later date. like APB.

I guess I missed the big clone debate, but IMO, most of the clones are just different enough to be similiar but not the same game. Some score differently, little quirks or what not.

I've played a few of the fighting games and not being familiar with the subtle differences between them, they all seem like clones to me, just different names and images. ;)

-- Dave Kaupp (, September 01, 1999.

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