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2022 VGS NES Weekly Contest - Tetris!


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Member · Posted
1 hour ago, Krunch said:

Dr Morbis and conceptually it doesnt seem difficult to get three Tetrises but it just is, and it hurts my head

I spent like an hour straight getting scores in the 30's (or less) until I finally had my one flukey break-out game, and that's the one I posted.  I'm done though, so if you want to take down my score, feel free to GIT 'R DUN!  😛

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Congratulations to @mbd39 on the win! I seriously expected you to break 500k since you were so close. I'm kind of surprised that we only had six scores this week. I can see that for a game like Best of the Best, but Tetris usually brings more people in. This reminds me of 2012 back when we had the same 5 or 6 players every week and two page contest threads. It was like we had our own little group playing against each other, but I also miss the seasons where we had 30-40 scores each week.

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50 minutes ago, Bearcat-Doug said:

Congratulations to @mbd39 on the win! I seriously expected you to break 500k since you were so close. I'm kind of surprised that we only had six scores this week. I can see that for a game like Best of the Best, but Tetris usually brings more people in. This reminds me of 2012 back when we had the same 5 or 6 players every week and two page contest threads. It was like we had our own little group playing against each other, but I also miss the seasons where we had 30-40 scores each week.

The level 18 starts made participation much harder this week too. I noticed a couple players didn't participate who normally do, and I think that's why.

I  _should_ have had well over 500k but my best game stupidly fell apart when I hit 19. My level 18 starts don't usually transition so I got nervous and wasn't playing safe enough. What a shame.

I've actually only broke 500k a couple times starting at 18. Done it much more times starting at level 9 or 15.

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, mbd39 said:

The level 18 starts made participation much harder this week too. I noticed a couple players didn't participate who normally do, and I think that's why.

I  _should_ have had well over 500k but my best game stupidly fell apart when I hit 19. My level 18 starts don't usually transition so I got nervous and wasn't playing safe enough. What a shame.

I've actually only broke 500k a couple times starting at 18. Done it much more times starting at level 9 or 15.

@NESfiend didn't post a score, but from looking at the overall leaderboard, it looks like the top 6 are the only weekly regulars with me and skinny dropping in occasionally. I'm in 7th place and I think I've only played in five contests before this week.

Edited by Bearcat-Doug
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Member · Posted
3 minutes ago, Bearcat-Doug said:

@NESfiend didn't post a score, but from looking at the overall leaderboard, it looks like the top 6 are the only weekly regulars with me and skinny dropping in occasionally. I'm in 7th place and I think I've only played in five contests before this week.

Don't forget wizard_666. I expected him and NESfiend to post a score.

 

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19 minutes ago, mbd39 said:

Don't forget wizard_666. I expected him and NESfiend to post a score.

 

I saw where he posted earlier in the thread and for some reason thought he got a score in. It seems like a lot of regulars from last year haven't been playing and there just aren't new players taking their place.

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Member · Posted
8 minutes ago, Bearcat-Doug said:

I saw where he posted earlier in the thread and for some reason thought he got a score in. It seems like a lot of regulars from last year haven't been playing and there aren't new players taking their place.

 

The contests could still pick up again in the future but it has been slow.

Next year we might want to consider two weeks per game instead of one to allow more time for participation and make it easier on Bea. It's two weeks for the NES contests on AtariAge. This would mean fewer games though.

We might also want to switch to a scoring system that works better for fewer players. Like there's the top 5 and then one participation point for sixth, etc.

 

 

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Just now, mbd39 said:

 

The contests could still pick up again in the future but it has been slow.

Next year we might want to consider two weeks per game instead of one to allow more time for participation and make it easier on Bea. It's two weeks for the NES contests on AtariAge. This would mean fewer games though.

We might also want to switch to a scoring system that works better for fewer players. Like there's the top 5 and then one participation point for sixth, etc.

 

 

Back when I started playing in 2012 there was a top 5 and everyone below that got 1 participation point, so that might be something to consider. 

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Events Team · Posted

I am considering how things will be next year.
This new scoring works much better when you have 12+ people playing every week and we're reaching half of that on average, even with me trying to make it so that grinding for a high score is a fast ordeal, since I know time tends to be premium these days.

Still, we will still be running in 2023.

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Member · Posted
3 hours ago, Bearcat-Doug said:

@NESfiend didn't post a score, but from looking at the overall leaderboard, it looks like the top 6 are the only weekly regulars with me and skinny dropping in occasionally. I'm in 7th place and I think I've only played in five contests before this week.

As the consistent bottom player, I will mention that when I replaced my PC, I've just not had a solid setup for gaming on this machine.  My controller fritzes out in RetroArch and it's just usable.  As such, if I don't own the game, I don't play it.  Otherwise, I'd try to be a regular.

I'm not complaining. I know I'm great, but I have to be honest some of these rules are steep.  It took me a lot of work to get that 11,000 in Tetris.  I had fun with the challenge and I don't feel like you guys hassle me much but as a truly "average" gamer, I love seeing what you guys do, but the barrier to entry often feels quite high.

What I'd recommend is having reasonable rules for 4 of every 5 titles.  Then, you can have insane rules for the top-players every 5th game we play.  Regardless, make participation on those week of moderate difficult.  Doing that consistently might keep more people around and gain more interest.  Oh, and don't be afraid of "easy" games.  So long as theirs a score, not everything has to be hard.  I mean, for a quirky entry, I wouldn't mind seeing something like Wheel of Fortune.  Is that a great game?  No, but seeing people hustle to figure out how to squeeze the most out of the score, with the RNG could be fun.  Anyone could do that without pixel/frame perfect button mashing.

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10 hours ago, Bearcat-Doug said:

 I'm kind of surprised that we only had six scores this week.

Well, notwithstanding the fact that forum viewership is down across the board on the internet these days, with most normies using either facebook or reddit, the real issue is the hardcore rule set.  Starting at level 18 is balls hard, and in 2015 when you could expect like twenty scores to be posted, that rule set would be great, but when you're just trying to fill the empty seats, it needs to be far less challenging.  I'm not saying start on level zero, but maybe start on level 14 or 15 or hell, even level 10.

I think for next year the outlook has to be more of a contest for "everybody" and less a contest for hardcore gamers.  That means doing more popular games with easier rule sets and less obscure stuff.  Yeah, this makes it more boring for the regulars who show up every year, but at some point you have to change your methods to make sure the tradition lives on.  For example, I collect and love Famicom games, but I feel like putting up games people don't recognize and can't even pronounce does absolutely nothing to encourage them to participate.  Whereas, putting up Super Mario Bros again is a completely different story...

Edited by Dr. Morbis
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6 hours ago, mbd39 said:

 

The contests could still pick up again in the future but it has been slow.

Next year we might want to consider two weeks per game instead of one to allow more time for participation and make it easier on Bea.

I feel like a lot of people wait till the last minute to try and get good scores, so making it two weeks would do nothing to change that.  Yeah, I get it, we would have "double the time," but in practice you have the same number of hours on the Sunday that the score is due.  And as for Bea, she does all her updates at once, usually Sunday morning, so I don't see how doing it every other Sunday would make much of a difference, especially when we're talking about a work load of like an hour a week.  So to me, doing it bi-weekly just looks like a step toward the contest fading into obscurity...

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Member · Posted
11 minutes ago, Dr. Morbis said:

Well, notwithstanding the fact that forum viewership is down across the board on the internet these days, with most normies using either facebook or reddit, the real issue is the hardcore rule set.  Starting at level 18 is balls hard, and in 2015 when you could expect like twenty scores to be posted, that rule set would be great, but when you're just trying to fill the empty seats, it needs to be far less challenging.  I'm not saying start on level zero, but maybe start on level 14 or 15 or hell, even level 10.

I think for next year the outlook has to be more of a contest for "everybody" and less a contest for hardcore gamers.  That means doing more popular games with easier rule sets and less obscure stuff.  Yeah, this makes it more boring for the regulars who show up every year, but at some point you have to change your methods to make the tradition live on.  For example, I collect and love Famicom games, but I feel like putting up games people don't recognize and can't even pronounce does absolutely nothing to encourage them to participate.  Whereas, putting up Super Mario Bros again is a completely different story...

 

I know I'd much rather have more of the "boring" and popular titles than eg. Championship Karate.

 

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14 minutes ago, mbd39 said:

 

I know I'd much rather have more of the "boring" and popular titles than eg. Championship Karate.

 

Yeah, this is only my second year doing the NES Weekly Contest, but it already feels like it's trending toward more hardcore rules and obscure games, just from last year to now.  Of course it's tough trying to make sure you avoid playing the same thirty games every year when there are 800 in the library, but erring on the side of familiarity would probably be the more prudent move at this point...

Edited by Dr. Morbis
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12 minutes ago, Dr. Morbis said:

Yeah, this is only my second year doing the NES Weekly Contest, but it already feels like it's trending toward more hardcore rules and obscure games, just from last year to now.  Of course it's tough trying to make sure you avoid playing the same thirty games every year when there are 800 in the library, but erring on the side of familiarity would probably be the more prudent move at this point...

I've been playing off and on since 2012 and some of the classics do get repetitive, but I agree that more common games with casual participation requirements might boost participation. The Famicom games are interesting, but not everybody has a way to play them. Same with the speedruns. I think that's more of a niche thing and again, there are people that either don't have the ability or technical skills to make video recordings of their attempts and upload them.

Edited by Bearcat-Doug
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22 minutes ago, mbd39 said:

 

I know I'd much rather have more of the "boring" and popular titles than eg. Championship Karate.

 

Another advantage of having popular titles is that most of us have probably played them for years so we can put up good scores without having to spend several hours during the week just trying to figure the game out.

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3 hours ago, BeaIank said:

I am considering how things will be next year.
This new scoring works much better when you have 12+ people playing every week and we're reaching half of that on average, even with me trying to make it so that grinding for a high score is a fast ordeal, since I know time tends to be premium these days.

Still, we will still be running in 2023.

I'm sure time is a factor. I know that I don't have the time or energy that I did 11 years ago to sit down and play a game for a couple hours every night during the week to make sure I get my best score in by Sunday. It's good to know that the contests are going to continue on next year. Hopefully I'll get to make a few appearances and get some scores in.

Edited by Bearcat-Doug
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As a past participant, I typically chose either participating in the contests (when I owned the game) or tackling my backlog. This year my full attention has been to play and beat games in my backlog for the backlog challenge and beat every game threads. 

However, I didn't even know what games y'all were playing most weeks. I know that's a dumb reason to not participate, but maybe if the announcement were bigger or in a more prominent part of the site, you could get more participants.

56 minutes ago, Bearcat-Doug said:

Another advantage of having popular titles is that most of us have probably played them for years so we can put up good scores without having to spend several hours during the week just trying to figure the game out.

I also agree with this. I'm probably going to be focused more on my backlog next year, too, but I'd be more inclined to participate if I can put in a quick run or two to get a score on the board.

When I was playing tennis competitively, I had the most fun playing opponents that were at or around my same level. I played some pro-level players and, while it was fun playing them, got wiped off the court without them really breaking a sweat. Extrapolating it to VGS, I don't want anyone with copious amounts of skill to stop participating because they're too good. They've earned their skill. But maybe having multiple leaderboards might be a good idea. Maybe one for top-tier players, one for respectable ones, and one for amateur ones would keep people motivated. Hopefully y'all could come up with flashier names.

The first week could be placement, and you could say "play these three games for an hour each and report the top scores you got here." The three games (or however many you feel necessary) could be a popular SHMUP, a platformer, and maybe a puzzle game. Then you could divide the participants based on the scores they report.

That's my two cents.

Edited by Philosoraptor
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1 hour ago, Bearcat-Doug said:

Same with the speedruns. I think that's more of a niche thing and again, there are people that either don't have the ability or technical skills to make video recordings of their attempts and upload them.

This is something that I think can be solved with good rule sets.  For example, we played Castlevania, one of the most famous and beloved NES games, and since it was a speed run, we didn't get any participation at all outside of PII and myself until the rules were changed to allow photos.  The thing is, with speed runs you're usually trying to avoid as much interaction with enemies as possible to save time, so any game that has broken scoring and would "require" speedrunning could just be made into a simple rule set that's almost the same thing: progress with lowest score as the tie-breaker.  For Castlevania, this would have worked where you take a picture at your furthest progress, and if you beat the game, wait for the ending to cycle and pause and snap a pic at the start of loop two - simple.

Another solution for speedrunning is to limit it to the post-season tourney where the top participants are playing to win and will find a way to make it happen.  I had never recorded a video of a game in my life before last year, but I found a way when it came up in the tourney...

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Member · Posted
19 minutes ago, Dr. Morbis said:

This is something that I think can be solved with good rule sets.  For example, we played Castlevania, one of the most famous and beloved NES games, and since it was a speed run, we didn't get any participation at all outside of PII and myself until the rules were changed to allow photos.  The thing is, with speed runs you're usually trying to avoid as much interaction with enemies as possible to save time, so any game that has broken scoring and would "require" speedrunning could just be made into a simple rule set that's almost the same thing: progress with lowest score as the tie-breaker.  For Castlevania, this would have worked where you take a picture at your furthest progress, and if you beat the game, wait for the ending to cycle and pause and snap a pic at the start of loop two - simple.

Another solution for speedrunning is to limit it to the post-season tourney where the top participants are playing to win and will find a way to make it happen.  I had never recorded a video of a game in my life before last year, but I found a way when it came up in the tourney...

Some games don't work well for low score because of having a long timer that you get points from. Castlevania is just such a game. Waiting out the timer would be really boring.

 

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Events Team · Posted
12 minutes ago, mbd39 said:

Some games don't work well for low score because of having a long timer that you get points from. Castlevania is just such a game. Waiting out the timer would be really boring.

 

This, so much this. That's why speed run was chosen for it. Castlevania was left out of the contest for too long due to broken scoring or boring mechanics for progress + low score. Speed running fixed that.

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49 minutes ago, mbd39 said:

Some games don't work well for low score because of having a long timer that you get points from. Castlevania is just such a game. Waiting out the timer would be really boring.

 

Oh yeah, I forgot about that damn timer.  There are also games with no score at all like Mega Man 2 that pretty much have to be speed run if they're included.  So I guess the best solution is to save speed runs for the tourney, or if they're in the regular season, have the highbrid "picture of your progress" if you can't record video, kinda like we ended up doing for Castlevania...

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I didn't bother this week because I honestly didn't see the point in trying.  I've never made it past level 13, I just functionally can't react quick enough, so level 18 was right out for me.  And I'm probably not the only one that felt that way. 

Anyway, a few thoughts for next year:

1) I think speedruns should be saved for the playoff rounds, if at all.  While I do like the idea, I feel it's more of a pain than it's worth, and the results can easily be done with progress + low score (and in extreme cases, adding a one-life rule to it).

2) With the dwindling participation, the hardcore rulesets should fall in the same category.  I couldn't be arsed to try level 18 of Tetris this week, but if it was a playoff round, you're damn right I'll try to at least post something respectable.  Though I'm more in favour of keeping the rules as simple as possible all around, especially with participation dwindling as it has been.

3) With regards to game selection, I don't like the idea of doing away with obscure games, as that's a highlight for me, but having more popular titles with a handful of oddballs would be better for participation than having to learn a new game every week.  I also like the inclusion of Famicom games, but they should be accessible titles that people would be able to figure out in minutes, like Circus Charlie or Dig Dug, for example.  I dig exploring the Famicom library, don't get me wrong, but I do think the darker depths of obscurity should be saved for the playoff rounds.

4) This may be a bit controversial, but maybe we should eliminate genres.  Sometimes it feels like some games are included over others because they need to check off a box.  While it helps to avoid repetition, it shouldn't be too tough to mix things up so it feels like something new each week without having to separate games.

5) This would probably tie in with #4, but it could work on it's own as well.  While I like the idea of the games being pre-selected, it could be interesting for them to be a surprise.  I'm not saying to wing it, but instead of sharing the schedule, make the games a surprise each week for the participants.  Or possibly list the games that would be played, but draw them randomly each week so the players don't know which game is coming up.  Not sure if this would be better or worse, but it'd definitely spice things up a bit.

6) I also agree with an earlier post that suggested giving the top 5 players points instead of the top 10, as most weeks don't get enough players to get to the single points.  We can revisit this yearly based on participation, but I think based on this year, next year should go to the top 5, or even just the top 3.

I may think of other things, but my brain is working faster than my fingers can type so I may need to revisit this later.  But I think this may be a good starting point for discussions.

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