Vaz / NoMercy : LUSENET : MARP Editors : One Thread

I've given it some thought over the last couple days, and I am now more sure than ever that the mysterious NoMercy is Vaz, and he's using some kind of slowdown cheat. The only thing is, I have no way to prove that just yet.

Let's look at some of the evidence:

A few months back, Vaz made some strange, creepy comments in #marp when BenJos was DQ'ing some of his recordings for slowdown. He started saying stuff about killing people (?) and then said that he would try to slow down as many games as he could and use autofire from some C-64 joystick of his... idle threats, or genuine?

Of course, a lot of people noticed this part, Vaz mentions that he wants to delete himself entirely from MARP right when NoMercy shows up on the scene. Vaz's excuse for wanting to delete his recordings is because he wants to spend more time playing C-64 games... this is one of the flimsiest excuses I've ever heard in my life.

More importantly, NoMercy is uploading on games that Vaz played. Vaz has a lot of recordings on MARP, but it sticks out that NoMercy is uploading on games that are generally ignored by most people... like Mega Blast, Meta Fox, The Last Day, Pollux, Thunder Fox... there are some games that only Vaz and I played, but now NoMercy comes along to destroy my score. (and, before anyone gets any ideas, I swear on the name of Shock Troopers that it's not me with a split personality... I've been so busy with Deca 2001 the last week anyway). What are the odds that a person would know this many obscure games that well, or at the very least could learn them at the incredible rate that he seems to?

One of the strangest things that's happened involves Final Star Force. NoMercy uploads a score of 760k or so, taking 1st. A few days (weeks?) later, Hisa-Chan uploads a 1.62 million point score that finishes the game. Less than 24 hours later, NoMercy has uploaded a recording that not only finishes the game, it achieves the very rare feat of beating Hisa-Chan. Could he REALLY have gotten THAT much better at the game in this short a time? Or did he simply slow the game down to give himself a better chance? Oh, and does Vaz have a recording up for Final Star Force? You betcha.

So, with all the recordings that both Vaz and NoMercy have up for games, are there any similarities in their recordings? Well, I've started comparing some but I think I need to look at some more. The most obvious is DoDonPachi - both Vaz and NoMercy pick the blue ship. Neither player can pull off the 170+ combo from the beginning of Stage 1, which I'd think most 40-million point scorers would manage. Then they both focus on the left side of the boss when one can move to either side to blow off the side parts of it... I just found it odd that both would do that even when the boss is crammed against the left side, but that probably doesn't prove anything. Similarly, both Vaz and NoMercy choose Irori in ESPRade. Either these are astonishing coincidences, or...

oh, while we're on the subject of DoDonPachi. Just try to playback his recording in DOS, it won't get past Stage 1. I tried playing it back in win37b11, and it got to Stage 3... still doesn't play back to the posted score, but since it plays back farther in Windows, makes me wonder if it was really recorded there instead of DOS... but then why would he list it as being recorded in the DOS version? To throw us off his trail, since Vaz has almost always used the Windows versions to record? Either way, it doesn't seem that NoMercy plays back all his recordings, as he didn't know about the NVRAM in Cave shooters... just like Vaz. And let's not forget that Vaz has the high score on Gunbird, which doesn't playback. Then NoMercy takes the high on Sengoku Ace, the other Psikyo shooter that doesn't playback. Do you think he/they would bother to test it out? Nah. They're both ignorant of this fact.

Ok, this is getting a bit long. To sum things up, we're pretty sure it's Vaz that's causing all this trouble, but we need to prove if he's using slowdown or excessive pausing. What we need to do is get "NoMercy" to record something eith MAME 35tg3. Unfortunately, most of his recordings seem to be in games that aren't supported in it, but I see a good candidate - GunSmoke. This is a VERY difficult shooter, so if he could get a million-point score with this version of MAME then I might have to eat my words about all of this. However, I'm sure that he would refuse for some reason... we need to a reason, a plausible excuse to convince him to record with it. If he does refuse... then we go public with all this evidence and possibly DQ his recordings until he proves himself. Is that too drastic a measure? I don't know, but I really got this feeling that cheating is going on here. We really need to take care of this and find the truth.

Any comments or other observations on this matter would be greatly appreciated.


-- Anonymous, February 14, 2001


Some of the things I mention I have already discussed with BBH on IRC, but I'll repeat them here for the others.

OK. Let me address two points:

You wrote: "What are the odds that a person would know this many obscure games that well, or at the very least could learn them at the incredible rate that he seems to?"

Well... I myself knew MAME long before I discovered MARP. Or, let's put it this way: Suppose, BBH, that you had been playing MAME as long as you have, but did not find out about MARP until now. What would happen then is probably very similar to what's happening with NoMercy: You'd play 2, 3, 4 games that you've known a long time (so NOT learnt at an incredible rate) per day and upload the results. And you'd probably start with games you like and/or games you could most easily beat the MARP #1 on. So for a few weeks or months, you would upload several recordings a day, and almost all of them would be number 1 scores.

All I'm trying to say is that I very much doubt that even if it is not Vaz or anybody else we know, that that person is just now learning all those games.

My second point is regarding the MAME version used. As some of you already know, there is a slight difference in the header of Windows recordings and DOS recordings. To wit, WinMAME puts the version number of the MAME version used in the header, whereas DOSMAME does not. The few NoMercy .inps I've looked at did not have the version number in the header, meaning that either (1) they were really recorded with a DOS version, or (2) they were, but the version number was subsequently edited out. Here's an idea: Yes, Vaz used to use Windows versions of MAME, but... he used MAMELang32, not the "official" MAME32. Maybe his DoDonPachi recording plays back all the way with MAMELang32 37b11?

I am not sure if it's to throw us off his trail. There are two very good reasons for using a DOS version assuming NoMercy is Vaz and assuming he has decided to cheat his way to the top: (1) Vaz has been active on the Hall Of MAME, and only the latest DOS version is allowed there. (2) Re-recording... . Unless you roll your own WinMAME, you can't re-record on it. Re-recording is possible with the DOS versions. Maybe "he" (whoever "he" is) is not even using slowdown, but re-recording. As I've mentioned before, slowing a game down and then holding the keys longer and pressing less fast to mask out the slowdown is very hard to do. NoMercy's statistics look perfectly legal to me. Now if somebody told me NoMercy was definitely cheating and I was told to find out which way(s) of cheating he used, then, based on what I've seen, I'd say he re-recorded. Hmm... wait... that wouldn't explain some of his recordings not playing back.

Just some thoughts.

And I know I made a remark on IRC that maybe YOU were NoMercy, BBH. Just to make sure: I was kidding.

Finally: IP addresses. If NoMercy would make a post on the MARP board, then we (read: Zwaxy or Gameboy) can see the IP address it was posted from. But we don't even have to wait for that. Most servers keep logs, so it's possible that every upload to MARP is logged already, and, if not, it should not be hard for Zwaxy to log IP address and filename for every MARP upload...

Cheers, Ben Jos.

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2001

Ok. You ask if I would get as many first places as quickly as NoMercy did when I came to MARP? That's hard to say, because I was with MARP from the beginning and didn't have many games to UL on that I thought was all that good at. Three years later it's a different story since MAME supports so many games, so it's possible. But still, look how quickly he retaliated and beat Hisa on Final Star Force. He doubled his score in less than 24 hours. People don't beat Hisa-Chan every day, and nobody has ever TAKEN BACK a score once Hisa beat them again on it.

As for re-recording, is it still possible in the newer versions? He could very well be doing this though. And I don't mean any disrespect, but analinp can't be the be-all and end-all when it comes to detecting cheating...

And yeah, I know you were just joking about me possibly being NoMercy, but I was saying that for the others too. :)

Now, I've noticed a couple other things today. I have realized one more thing that further proves it's Vaz - the timestamp. The other night I was online in #marp when phuquenut gave a score upload notice saying NoMercy had uploaded on the Time Attack mode of Dangun Feveron. It was a little after Midnight in Central time zone when this happened, I think. I downloaded the recording to check the time on it, and it says it was recorded at 5:55 am the next day. About six hours ahead. Italy is about six or seven hours ahead of Central time zone IIRC. Now how's that for a strange coincidence?

Also, look at his new Terminator 2 recording (a game that Vaz had uploaded in, who woulda guessed). Maybe it's just me but it looks like he's gotten pretty damn accurate with that mouse huh? It's like a smaller-scale version of Phil Lamat's infamous Crystal Castles crap from T2. This could be the recording we needed to nail him on slowdown. Please, take a look at NoMercy's inp and compare it to mine and Vaz's old score. He manages to get that cursor on those endoskeletons with uncanny precision compared to the previous scores. I'm sure his Operation Wolf inps would be a similar story if those played back.

The case against him is looking better and better, I think action needs to be taken ASAP.


-- Anonymous, February 15, 2001

I am pretty sure re-recording is still possible with the newer versions of MAME, although I haven't tried. I mean, I haven't tested if it is still possible with every new release.

I am very aware that analinp isn't everything. It is nice to put some hard figures on things, but other than that... . I myself have said several times that we needed a few editors that are familiar with and good at lots of games in order to spot irregularities that our programs don't and that the untrained eye (especially mine) would miss. I myself don't actually watch a lot of recordings partially for that reason and partially because I am lazy.

Some more observations:

Vaz's last recording on MARP (bluehawk) was made with m37b9 (so DOS, not Windows).

Very good catch on the timezone thing. Although, from downloading a dozen or so of NoMercy's recordings and comparing the time of the upload (according to MARP) to the timestamp on the .inp, I'd say NoMercy is in a GMT timezone country (UK, Ireland, Portugal, ...), not GMT+1 (which they have in Italy). As far as I can see, NoMercy records a game, then immediately zips it and submits it, except when playing several versions of the same game. For instance: He played both batrider and batridra before uploading both at the same time.

The timestamp on most of his .inps is 3 or 4 minutes later than the time of upload according to MARP. So either he waits almost an hour before uploading, or he immediately zips and uploads, but the clock on his computer is a few minutes fast. I think the latter is the case. I haven't looked at all of them, though. If I can find a recording of his on which the timestamp is close to an hour ahead of the MARP upload time, I'll accept he's in GMT+1.

I'll try to remember comparing those two recordings this weekend.

Also, it might be a good idea to start downloading all the Vaz recordings that are left on MARP before they all will have disappeared. Because if NoMercy and Vaz are indeed the same person, then why else was Vaz so insistent that his recordings all be deleted? Could it be that he thinks there are things in his recordings that might give him away? Or does he just want to cover all his tracks and not want people to compare NoMercy's recordings to Vaz's recordings? Or could he even have used some of his old recordings as a basis for re-recording?

Hmm... didn't you say you received an e-mail from NoMercy once? I just checked and if you send something through HotMail, it will still have the IP address of the sender in the header... (isn't it great to have someone with a HotMail account send you several e-mails a day? :- )). If I misremember and he didn't, maybe you could send him an e- mail congratulating him on some score or something and hope he replies. Just make sure first, of course, that you have a way to get to see all the header lines of e-mails. Well, it's probably easier if we talk about this on IRC tonight.

Cheers, Ben Jos.

-- Anonymous, February 15, 2001

Yeah, Vaz has used the DOS version of MAME from time to time it seems, probably because a MAME32 version wasn't yet available.

As for the timestamp... well, is ALL of Italy in GMT+1? :) Still, I say it's close enough. And we don't have any "suspects" in normal GMT time.

And yeah, that's something I forgot to mention, Vaz might have wanted his name deleted from MARP so all the "evidence" would be deleted. Why he didn't exert more effort in wiping out all his recordings manually is beyond me, his laziness may be what does him in now. I don't think he used his old recordings as a basis for re-recording, he just wanted them gone so nobody could compare.

Oh, I decided to go ahead and email "NoMercy" regarding GunSmoke, asking him if he could record a game on m35tg3. (it wasn't hostile or anything) I'm still waiting for a reply, but to help coax him into doing something I uploaded a new Thunder Fox score that beats his latest score. Since he always seems to want to cheat his way to a higher score ASAP, I figure if he uploads something now without replying to my mail, then he ignored it. In which case, it's time to take action publically.

Here are the full headers on the first mail I received from him.

Return-Path: Received: from ( []) by (v77.31) with ESMTP; Wed, 24 Jan 2001 09:13:56 -0500 Received: from ( []) by (v77.27) with ESMTP; Wed, 24 Jan 2001 09:13:23 -0500 Received: from mail pickup service by with Microsoft SMTPSVC; Wed, 24 Jan 2001 06:13:16 -0800 Received: from by with HTTP; Wed, 24 Jan 2001 14:13:16 GMT X-Originating-IP: [] From: "NoMercy NoMercy" To: Subject: Re: MAME Action Replay Page Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 14:13:16 -0000 Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed Message-ID: X-OriginalArrivalTime: 24 Jan 2001 14:13:16.0935 (UTC) FILETIME=[CBDE5170:01C0860F]

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2001

Sorry... not even close. Vaz comes from the 62.98 IP range or the 212.216 range. GB9

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2001

I rarely check my e-mail before leaving for work, but I am glad I made an exception this morning. It allowed me to quickly copy some "evidence" to a Jaz disk and bring it to work with me.

Here's my new theory:

First of all, the thing that bugged me most about the "NoMercy is Vaz" theory is that I never really considered Vaz a really skilled player. He was more of an alphabet uploader, he had one of the lowest averages on MARP, and the way I saw it was that most of his number one scores were just waiting to be thrashed by more skilled players. And now he beats Hisa-Chan twice on the same game? Of course, yes, if he is cheating, then that could explain how his skill level suddenly improved so much.

On IRC, at some point, I told BBH that NoMercy might be Bubble, but then rejected it myself when comparing InpHisto patterns. Bubble is a much faster presser than NoMercy.

Now when I said that GMT was used in UK, Ireland, and Portugal, I put Portugal there on purpose, because I still had not entirely dismissed the "NoMercy is Bubble" theory. Bubble of course is from Portugal. So, yes, we do have a suspect in the GMT timezone.

Some observations:

Bubble has not been on #marp/MARP for quite a while (long enough to make the nvram mistakes?), but he still paid attention every now and then. To my knowledge, he has made at least one post to the board ANONYMOUSLY, and it is pretty interesting what he posted too. I don't remember the exact wording, but it was basically an attack on Hisa- Chan, basically accusing him of slowdown.

Also, I sent Bubble a copy of analinp a long time ago, out of gratitude for MarpFE, because it made developing it a lot easier for him, and because I was too lazy to be a beta tester all the time whenever he was adding/fixing things.

Bubble is a good programmer, and he also has a lot of knowledge on MAME and its inner workings. I have no doubt that he could hack m35tg3, if he hasn't already.

Could it be that Bubble got fed up with some things on MARP and decided to take revenge? Could it be that when Vaz left, he saw his opportunity to anonymously come back? Could it be that he is playing "Vaz's games" on purpose (to cover his trail)? Is he trying to frame Vaz?

The most important piece of evidence is the IP address in the e-mail BBH got:

DNS request timed out.
    timeout was 2 seconds.
*** Can't find server name for address Timed out

Name: Address:

Ignore the "Can't find server name...", that just means that one of our DNS servers is not where it is expected to be. The IP address resolves to "". And "pt" is the country code for Portugal of course...

From my #marp logs:

[23:13:00] *** Joins: Bubble (bubble@
[20:05:26] *** Joins: Bubble (bubble@
[23:05:29] *** Joins: Bubble_ (bubble@
[18:47:31] *** Joins: Bubble_ (bubble@

The first two numbers match: 194.65.*.*. OK, let's have a closer look:

inetnum: -
netname:     PT-TELEPAC-960515
descr:       Provider Local Registry
descr:       Telepac - Comunicacoes Interactivas, SA
country:     PT

OK, so the entire 194.65.*.* range is owned by I admit that Bubble always seemed to have a 194.65.202.* address, but that was a long time ago. A few weeks ago, a LOT of IP addresses on the internet changed. I know, because my own IP address changed drastically. And Vaz's address changed too; 212.141.*.* before the change, 62.98.*.* after. Bubble's IP address may have changed too, although less drastically. Either way, it still is someone in the domain. The most likely candidate, then, is Bubble. I find that much more likely than somebody else in the same domain. For completeness sake:

[19:25:50] *** Quits: Cachirro ( (-> 
Powered By Chirro v1.11 <-)

Cachirro didn't say much while I was there and I saw him only once.

Bottom line: I think that NoMercy is Bubble.

Cheers, Ben Jos.

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2001

Did I miss something? If it isn't Vaz, why are we so convinced that it has to be another former MARPer?

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2001

I'm sorta wondering the same thing actually QT - although I'm sorta enjoying all the conversation that's going on with this one...

But nah - I don't think it's a former MARPer either - and besides... if he's playing legal... which to me seems to be so far... who the devil cares who NoMercy really is? GB9

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2001

OK. Maybe not Bubble...

[23:36:38]  Bubble ( was last 
seen parting #marp 10 hours, 31 minutes ago stating "{}".


Lookup V1.10 -- Copyright (C) December 1998 -- Benjamin J. Walbeehm

Winsock version to be used: 1.1 Highest version supported : 2.2 Winsock description : Microsoft wsock32.dll, ver2.2, 32bit of Jun 7 2000, at 21:34:15. System status : On Win95. Maximum number of sockets : 32767 Maximum UDP datagram size : 65467 bytes

Name : IP address:

Looks like it's somebody else from Portugal...

I give up.

QT: As long as we can't prove any foul play, it doesn't matter, but I think BBH and some others have some serious doubts regarding some of NoMercy's recordings.

Cheers, Ben Jos.

-- Anonymous, February 17, 2001

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