Co-op legitimacy
5 years ago
Indiana, USA

I have some strong opinions about what should and shouldn't be considered a co-op run in games. From early on when I watched an old co-op wr run on sda I was very disenfranchised with the run I saw there. It involved getting a game over for the second player and therefore only having player one complete a stage and then having the second player jump back in by borrowing lives for boss fights.

Having said this there have been some other games where I've noticed this same tactic being implored lately. I want to set an example with the Contra leader board, but I would like input from the community on this matter before any moderating decisions are made. i would like to push for any submissions in Contra co-op to require no game over abuse. So a character dying is acceptable, but if you fully game over then you should have to reset. I would prefer to see submissions where both players are cooperatively completing every aspect of the game as the name sake implies.

Which leads to another issue. The Dk28 and Mr. K 9:54 second place time on the leader board uses these types of game over strategies. As much as I would like to showcase this run for the sake of the history, I think it also promotes this style of game play. So perhaps it's best to remove it from the board.

Please let me know what your thoughts on this matter are so we can work together at defining what is a legitimate run for this category. Thank you.

Toad22484, Twintail_Nami and 2 others like this
Portland, OR, USA

"Style" is a bit subjective and arbitrary for speedrunning

Since you are talking about setting examples for other games, I am putting my 2 cents worth in. Admittedly, this is coming from someone who isn't a main Contra runner - but just as a speedrunner in general, I shy away from any category rulings that stray too far into manufacturing a certain style of play vs. allowing what is possible in the game to be done. This especially in terms of death and game over abusing, which are both a standard part of speedrunning. That doesn't need to change in co-op runs.

That all being said, in SMB1, game over warping one player to the world the other player is on is indeed banned. But in that case the entire nature of the run is more affected than the SDA Contra run, which to me (subjectively) that run is actually quite interesting.

Thanks for opening the floor for this, will be interested to see the arguments. Would kind of hate to see historic runs retroactively removed because of modern rule changes in any game, though...

Edited by the author 5 years ago
PMYA, jeremyarroyo, and Remz like this
United States

Thanks for bringing this up, and for opening the floor to our comments!

You feelings reflect my own. To remove either player from the game is entirely against the spirit of what a co-op run is. This is, of course, just an opinion and opinions vary.

Then again, and I think this might be the semantic smoking gun that supersedes all opinion, when one player gets a game over, and is removed from play, the run is no longer cooperative.

I think it's fair to say that if at any point the run is not cooperative, then the run is invalid, even if the other player can return to the game later. Compare- if one is doing a no-oob run, the run is invalid once you go out of bounds and it makes no difference that you come back inbounds to finish the game.

Following this logic, there could be separate categories for a "2 Players" run and a "Cooperative" run, with the side effect being that it smacks of leaderboard and WR inflation. It wouldn't bother me to do this, but I'm not a mod and I know not everyone likes overly specialized categories.

Edited by the author 5 years ago
jeremyarroyo and Angrylanks like this
California, USA

Even though I think the run is awesome, co-op runs really should include both runners the entire time. Death abuse seems fine but game overing to avoid certain sections of the game seems pretty cheap. Both players should definitely be required to play throughout without a game over.

ZmicK_TricK, jeremyarroyo and 2 others like this

In my opinion, if 2 players work together do achieve a fast time, it’s a coop run. The only problem I see with the LB is that there is a Japan only category, but it’s the same game, only a bit faster between levels. The Any% that bans Japan runs should be “US only” and Japan only should be just Any%. This really makes no sense. Even worst, at the time of writing this, even the rules for Any% includes Japan as being ok (that makes sense since it’s called Any%) but Japan runs are being put on a separate board and they are not accepted in Any%. So if you don’t agree with me about the categories, being Any% and Any% (US Version) please adjust the rules accordingly. Facts are that the Contra Any% wr is currently 9:31 and the Contra Any% US wr is 9:34 no matter what are considered the “main” category.

Edited by the author 5 years ago

In other games where the runs were done historically on the US version, it took a bit of time, but eventually runners switched to Japan for any% when faster. It makes sense to keep a US only LB when the runs are significantly different but when the gameplay is identical like in Contra, or when the difference is really not significant at all, usually it’s best practice to just use the filters for regions.


Usually when an any% category feels uninteresting for some reasons in a given game, another category is made. Not necessarily changing the whole definition of what is any% in general.

In this case it would be Any% coop, no gameover.

Edited by the author 5 years ago
Indiana, USA

Let’s keep the discussion in this thread to the topic at hand please.

Florida, USA

I'm with you, Zmick, and anthole on this issue. Both players should be doing the game together and not getting a game over for either player. It's one thing to take a death like in snow field, but it changes the category in my opinion when someone gets a game over and let one solo until they are needed and borrow a life. Like Zmick mentioned if you wanna keep records like DK and Mr. K's you could make separate categories like "2-player" and "Co-op", but then making a new category will just clutter up the LB and it will start becoming messy. The key here is what's in the rules of the run though. It doesn't specify if that the run that if either player gets game over the run needs to restart. As much as i don't like game over manips it is within the current rules of the run. I'm all for consensus on specifying and changing rules than making new categories. I'm not a mod of the game though so it's up to the mods to decide on rule changes.

To touch a bit on your comment Remz, there are significant differences between the US and Japanese versions of the game. The biggest is that you can skip level summaries in the Japanese version which approximates to around a 23 second difference in a finished run since you can't skip level summaries in the US version. The second difference which is not so significant is that the Japanese and US versions use RNG differently. In reality you're not gonna get the same experience playing both versions. So to mesh them together as one category would not work out.

ZmicK_TricK likes this

You can see the rule of the game Jackal. It said 'Both players MUST play all stages start to finish, no game over abuse allowed.' This rule has sth. to do with me. I got a 7:40 co-op run with Tiansuozhanyue used game over abused. Afterwards RottDawg added this rule and rejected our run. Then we got a new run in 8:00 together. But you can see the 2nd Co-op run by MASTER-88 and Emperor91 still on the rank also abused game over . The mods didn't remove it but I'm not opposed of it. The reasons are the following:

Even if they abused game over, these time is still reachable, so does it in Contra.

In that time, we haven't discussed this topic yet, at least it's not illegal. Now we want to ban this opportunistic, but it is pity these players are not active now. They won't come out again to do some runs. I admire them very much that they can do so well in that time, so I'll accept it too, this is their wisdom.

We can't be like online games, remote co-op in NES games. Of course, online Co-op can now be done in some of little square. But there are still few players do Co-op in each NES games.

So my idea is to add this rule to ban the game over abused, in the future we couldn't abuse game over inCo-op. But I don't suggest to delete DK28 and Mr.k‘s run. Of course, if there are other ways to put this run, such as new category, add the video link in the rule and so on, I will have no opinion. :)

Twintail_Nami, ZmicK_TricK and 2 others like this

An idea: add Any%(2 Player) category and 2 Player (no borrow) category. In the second category both players must play all stages and shouldn't borrow life. It's an unripe idea but I can't think of a better one.

ZmicK_TricK and Remz like this
Pennsylvania, USA

Two categories.

Co-op No Death Abuse

Co-op Any%

Philnemba, Remz and 2 others like this
Portland, OR, USA

A question I have is if the game over manip is actually faster? If it's slower, it would be a lot less of a separate category thing. But it looks like only just this one run would be affected so why not do the cleanest thing and remove that run, change the rules, and go from there?

Indiana, USA

I'm not sure if it is technically faster or not. TMR and I actually have a 9:51 now without it, but there would have to be a lot testing to see which is truly faster. The problem is that there are many global timer possibilities based on pace with energy zone and the hangar stages.If it were faster or slower I could wager that the difference would be quite minimal in fact. Taking a death from one player stops the screen from scrolling, and therefore loses time in that regard.

So not sure the best way to show which would be more efficient in the end. I just find a death less interesting than getting through the stage together, and it feels like a cheap way to complete the trickier stages in terms of co-op movement.

Edited by the author 5 years ago
Indiana, USA

Oh but there is more potential for lag as well with having both players, but you can make efforts to reduce that. Just another reason it could be tricky to sort out which is truly faster as a whole.

Indiana, USA

I have one last line of thought I’d like to get out. What would be the actual purpose of separating the boards? As it stands now there is a solitary run that uses game over abuse. Every other run on the board uses full co-op play through. If we made a separate board would there suddenly be a surge in submissions for it when there seemingly isn’t interest in running the game this way? I worry that it would just be a category sitting in the board with a solitary run on it.

Edited by the author 5 years ago
United States

How about just an added filter instead of a different board? Game Over Abuse YES/NO or something like it.

Indiana, USA

Well let me put it this way. If you were to do a co-op run which strats would you go for? A filter would still leave the board combined with mixed strats. I see lots of talk of separate board from people but which category would feel better to you guys if you ran the category. How many people are considering doing co-op runs?


I will do coop very soon with palo. For me, there is no other way than doing it without game over abuse. There is no reason for second player not to join, if he's still able to. Otherwise, it just cannot be called true coop run.

Edited by the author 5 years ago
pawelpredki and Angrylanks like this
Indiana, USA

Okay so as of now Myself, Zmick, Jeremy, Rott, Aiqiyou, and Anthole would all do runs without game over abuse. That is certainly the majority of whom has spoken on the matter. Barnowl seems to be in line with the thought of removing the solitary run, and I'm not sure if Remz thinks one is more legitimate than the other. Let me know if I'm wrong in anyway about this.

ZmicK_TricK likes this
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