Making this post to point out inconsistencies/areas in Marihour rules that are not in the best interest of runners.
My understanding is that the current Marihour rules have two goals in mind: Preserve darbian's category that he invented, while also making the category as accessible as possible.
The problem is that, as it stands, the rules are in bad shape for both of these. The category was opened up to allow other platforms to play on, which is great! I think it is too much to ask to require people to own an FDS in order to participate on this leaderboard. Where things went wrong is that certain factors weren't taken into account, which actually now make playing by the original darbian rules the worst way to play this category.
Playing on original hardware has the slowest loading times (FDS, N64), slowest game swaps (actually having to swap them out, compared to flash cartridge or especially emulator), and the most lag (SM64). If we're going to allow various platforms to play on, we need to equalize them by removing loading times and game swaps. Even after doing that, emulator is still going to have an advantage for SM64 (VC probably not as much, since slower bootup?), but this is more negligible than the way things currently are. Emulator and VC are also colloquially worse to play on for SM64 (Look at all the 0 and 1 star WR's), so I don't really mind that.
In regards to accessibility, there are inconsistencies in which versions are allowed, as well as the current ruleset being pay-to-win, in a sense. Currently, The Japanese versions of games aren't allowed. It's possible darbian initially specified this because SMW JP saves a couple seconds from save textboxes, and SM64 has a widely perpetuated idea that JP version says 2.7 seconds, but that's not true. Ultimately I think darbian just specified this so it was clear exactly what he was using, and so people could compare directly to him by using the same versions.
I'm confused why when things were opened up to allow VC and emulator, JP versions were still banned? Currently, you're not allowed to use JP SM64 for your run (which is a number of frames slower than English), but you are allowed to use English VC/emulator, which is a number of seconds faster than N64. This is inconsistent and things should be opened up to allow these versions too.
The area where this category is pay-to-win currently, is in game swapping. Because game swap times are included, one of the best ways to improve your time in this category is to throw more hardware at the problem. Get audio and video switchers so you can switch the feeds faster. Buy multiple consoles even so you can accomplish switches faster. Play on flash cartridges so you can do faster game swaps and have faster loading times (this is even mentioned directly in the marihour guide). Our ruleset should focus on comparing what happens inside the game, not outside. We should improve our times by playing better, not rigging our setups better. There will always be some aspect of this in all speedruns (having savestates to practice with, having the games to play in the first place), but in this case it's easily avoidable by removing game swaps from timing. We don't really need to be speedrunning swaps and slamming our cartridges and controllers around anyhow.
Alright. All of that being said, I just want to make the ruleset consistent, accessible, and be about our skill and execution in the games, instead of other outside factors that we can easily minimize. The pentathlon ruleset already handles this well, removing loading times and game swaps. Why don't we do the same? The main argument is that the more we change it the less it is like darbian's original category. It would be one thing if we always maintained darbian's original rules, but we haven't- and even worse, playing with darbian's original rules has the biggest disadvantage in the current ruleset. I motion that we incorporate all of the following into the rules:
Allow JP versions (doesn't make sense why they're banned, but faster non-original versions are allowed)
Remove loading times (currently, you are punished for playing on original FDS hardware)
Remove game swaps, give a 25 second window to do so (FDS has quite a slow bootup, do we allow 25 seconds before the BIOS screen is shown? Otherwise it's still quite rushed)
If we go through with this, the final question would be should we start timing in SMB1 from movement? At that point your total time would just be the sum of your 6 individual runs, with the exact same timing methods as their respective leaderboards, which seems absolutely ideal to me. I would be willing to do all the legwork to retime the runs on the leaderboard.
We would still be playing the games in release order, and still be playing the category at all, which I think is the most important part of preserving darbian's category. Thanks for reading! - Kosmic
Kosmic: thanks for taking the time and sharing your thoughts. I have one that I believe can satisfy both sides.
Add a "Legacy" variable to this category. Runs with this variable meet darbian's original requirements of the Marihour Challenge: Original consoles, swap times included, all NA releases.
If the variable is set to "Modern", then it can be any set of updated rules that the community deems necessary for accessibility, etc.
The variable can be a switcher at the top of the leaderboard. Preserve the past, look to the future.
I was kicking around ideas with PixelPerfectRuns (Marihour WR Holder) the other day and he did mention the idea of two tabs. I think the problem with this is that it would just move the original 3 marihour runs to the legacy tab and then everyone else would be on the other one, and split competition in an already seldom run category. He proposed this since he didn't really want to see the category change (removing swap times), but for most people the category already has changed, I.E. his runs using flash carts.
Personally I really just want to see how everyone's times compare as the sum of their 6 games; I feel like it makes the most sense. We don't have to allow JP, that's not really a huge deal, I just thought it didn't make sense when English is faster and VC English is even faster. But yeah, open to more ideas and discussion.
Edit: I didn't quite express my thoughts on the 2 tabs fully. Some people would want a full legacy tab following darbians rules, and some people would want to keep the current rules as the legacy and have the second tab for removing game swap times. In the first scenario, the legacy tab would have 2 names on it and probably never get ran again, and then the second tab is still not equalized for competition. In the second scenario... there's like a couple brand new runs that go on it? I guess you could put some of the same runs on both tabs. But if we're going to make a legacy and modern tab I don't think it makes sense to have a halfway updated ruleset on the legacy one. But then the full legacy one would just have 2 runs on it. Idk haha
I strongly agree with the phrase "We should improve our times by playing better, not rigging our setups better.".
I love consistency, so I can understand how the rules being both partly faithful to darb's version of marihour and also abandoning other aspects of darbian's original ruleset can be upsetting for some people.
When we were first transitioning from one single time on the leaderboards (FC+NES Trilogy, Pentathlon and Decathlon), to finding without load times (each game segment added up), we didn't change anything with marihour as we wanted to keep it as close to darb's original category as possible. I'm not sure if the other moderators knew that some rules already weren't lined up with what darbian had in the beginning (they may have not, I know I didn't) or not.
With that being said, I (personally) wouldn't mind seeing the marihour rules being changed in a way where it's more fair (JP version allowed, etc.), and so that it can be focused more on game segments (without loads) rather than the full run time. And I'd be okay to see that happen with the other remaining categories as well (credits warps).
Other moderators have most likely been notified about this topic. I'd love to see what everyone else thinks about this!
I like the idea of timing without loads for Marihour. I think what could be a good idea is do what all the other categories do and have a time both with and without loads, and just use without loads as the base comparison. It might be worth at least bringing this information up with darb to see what he thinks; he doesn't sound like the kind of person to gatekeep a specific ruleset but idk.
I think a good compromise would be to add up the timing from the game times like every other category, but maybe still require each game start from power on for the rta time to be fair to older runs/consistent. I honestly do not feel too strongly on any of this but I think any measure to make competition more fair/reliant on gameplay instead of swaps and console rigs is probably the right call. People should not have to risk tilting their games/crashing because they don't have two nes consoles setup for optimal switching.