Emulator Rules Poll
5 years ago
Missouri, USA

The Puzzle League speedrun community has grown tremendously since the original Pokemon Puzzle League Skype group started around six years ago.

With that growth, however, comes a greater responsibility to ensure that everyone participating in the leaderboards is on a fair playfield. To enforce this, the moderation team started to verify new run submissions last month. In the verification process, we also came to realize that our rules for emulator usage could use some updating, that we should develop our own rules instead of relying on those of another community.

In the coming months, we will revamp and/or clarify our emulator rules for every game in the Puzzle League series. Due to current community interest, we will start with this game and Game Boy Tetris Attack.

To that end, we have created a Google Form poll that ask about important factors to be considered in the formation of our rules. We invite all Pokemon Puzzle Challenge / Game Boy Tetris Attack speedrunners to complete this form in order to gauge what the community desires. Please read the entirety of the form and answer each question carefully. You will not be able to change your answers once you submit them.


Please use this thread to discuss the issue. This thread will remain open for as long as necessary to gather the opinions of this community.

Razorflame likes this
Wisconsin, USA

I've done a test of a real GBC versus BGB and BGB Is only ahead of the real GBC by about a half a millisecond, so BGB can easily continue to be used as it does not provide that much of a time save over the original hardware.

Also, any rules that are applied here should be applied to basically all of the other GB/GBC PL games

Edited by the author 5 years ago
Missouri, USA

Poll responses are now closed. Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond. Your input was valuable in helping us mods determine the new rules for emulation we go by. To see the new rules for emulation, please scroll to the end of this post.

For those interested, the full results to the poll questions that had options can be found here:


However, as much as we value the perspectives of everyone who has an interest in this community, the original intent of the poll was to gather the opinions of those who were actually on the leaderboard as they would be most affected by the results. With that said, I will now summarize the results of the 9 (not 10—one of the respondents has a run in Pokemon Puzzle League, but not Pokemon Puzzle Challenge) runners that answered the poll.

First, we’ll get some formalities out of the way. As shown above, literally everyone who responded wants emulator times to count for world record. This used to not be the case for the Generation 1 Pokemon community so I wanted to be sure of where we stood by asking this question. It will not be appearing on future polls for other games in the series. In addition, 7 of the 9 runners do not want a category separation of emulators from consoles, a la Super Mario 64. I concur that separating emulator runs from console runs would fragment the categories, for this game especially, a lot more than they already are. (We have 12 (!) categories in Challenge mode alone.) This seems clear enough that this question will also not appear on future polls.

Now for the items under greater contention. The list of emulator choices to allow was meant to be comprehensive of all forms of GBC emulation. Future polls will likely not include choices of questionable accuracy, such as smartphone emulators and emulators played in an Internet browser. One of the 9 runners abstained from voting on specific emulators, thus here are the results from the 8 who voted of what emulators to allow, in order from most to least:

BGB – 8 Gambatte – 6 Bizhawk with Gambatte core – 4 Bizhawk with GBHawk core – 2 Retroarch with Gambatte core – 2 PlayGuy – 1 Visual Boy Advance – 1 Visual Boy Advance-M – 1 Other – 1

It does not surprise me much. The three most voted-on emulators are among three of the most respected among Game Boy communities. I, personally, did not vote on this poll, but these are the three that I would have voted on. The mods were in agreement on these three.

That said, we will move forward with only accepting runs done on BGB, Gambatte, and Bizhawk with the Gambatte core selected. Specific rules on acceptable versions and enforcement of these rules will be listed at the end of this post.

There was one issue that truly divided the runners of this game, as you may have already been able to tell from the above charts. Removing old runs that do not conform to new rules is not a decision that a community has to come to lightly. I came to experience this firsthand with the game Yu-Gi-Oh! The Sacred Cards (GBA). There was a time on that game’s leaderboard when Virtual Boy Advance was allowed for runs. After a while, several of us observed that the WR, done on VBA at the time, was loading character portraits much faster than the console runs of the time. One of the now former mods for the game estimated that VBA would have a 30-60 second advantage over console because of this. In light of this information, all of the Sacred Cards runners were polled (I believe over Skype) on what to do with VBA runs. They came to the decision to ban the emulator and remove the existing runs done on the emulator, resulting in about a dozen times being removed.

Because of my personal experience on this topic and community interest in reviewing existing runs on this board, I knew that I had to include the question on the poll. Of the 9 runners who responded, 5 voted to keep the runs on the board with a note on the run of the emulator being no longer allowed as opposed to the 4 who voted to remove the runs. My personal vote would have been to remove the runs, putting the community at a complete deadlock. As the mod team got through reviewing these results, we noted that there was one person opposed to removing the runs who would have the most to lose from having the runs removed. From reviewing the existing runs, we discovered another person who voted against removing the runs that also stood to lose multiple times from this change. The mods that voted on the poll voted to remove the runs, thus the team was all in agreement in favor of removing the runs. We concluded that it was a bad look for a leaderboard to have rules in place while top times violate said rules.

We have reviewed every existing run on the board. Every run known to have used an emulator outside of the previously mentioned approved emulators has been removed. This has resulted in the removal of the following times:

--Challenge Easy-Intense Scroll Off Vyseoflegends9002 (“Vyse”) 53m23s 12/3/17 (banned emulator – PlayGuy)

Intense Scroll Off shadoweh91 28m55s 12/22/16 (banned emulator – VBA-M) Vyse 24m38s 12/3/17 (banned emulator – PlayGuy)

S-Hard Scroll Off shadoweh91 15m38s 7/6/16 (video no longer available, but later runs used banned emulator VBA-M) shadoweh91 18m31s 6/21/16 (video no longer available, but later runs used banned emulator VBA-M) shadoweh91 20m31s 5/2/16 (video no longer available, but later runs used banned emulator VBA-M) shadoweh91 24m48s 4/28/16 (video no longer available, but later runs used banned emulator VBA-M) Vyse 10m39s 12/12/16 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 10m43s 6/27/16 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 11m54s 6/24/16 (banned emulator – PlayGuy)

Hard Scroll Off shadoweh91 9m52s 10/28/16 (banned emulator – VBA-M) shadoweh91 10m01s 7/7/16 (video no longer available, but later runs used banned emulator VBA-M) shadoweh91 11m45s 7/3/16 (video no longer available, but later runs used banned emulator VBA-M) shadoweh91 12m50s 6/18/16 (video no longer available, but later runs used banned emulator VBA-M) shadoweh91 13m53s 5/2/16 (video no longer available, but later runs used banned emulator VBA-M) Vyse 7m08s 4/6/18 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 7m15s 12/18/17 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 7m32s 12/9/16 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 7m44s 5/17/16 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 7m50s 12/29/15 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 8m26s 7/9/15 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 8m29s 5/29/15 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 8m41s 2/7/15 (banned emulator – PlayGuy)

Normal Scroll Off shadoweh91 7m04s 10/28/16 (banned emulator – VBA-M) shadoweh91 7m13s 7/7/16 (video no longer available, but later runs used banned emulator VBA-M) shadoweh91 8m06s 7/6/16 (video no longer available, but later runs used banned emulator VBA-M) shadoweh91 8m38s 5/1/16 (video no longer available, but later runs used banned emulator VBA-M) Vyse 5m27s 2/24/18 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 5m34s 11/11/16 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 5m40s 6/27/16 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 5m51s 2/29/16 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 5m54s 1/21/16 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 5m56s 9/28/15 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 6m10s 2/7/15 (banned emulator – PlayGuy)

Easy Scroll Off TuxedoMob 6m11s 3/26/15 (banned emulator – VBA) TuxedoMob 6m55s 3/1/15 (video no longer available, but later run used banned emulator VBA) MeowMixForMeAndYou 5m51s 9/1/15 (video required, only posted screenshot of game time with splits) MeowMixForMeAndYou 6m53s 8/22/15 (video required, only posted screenshot of the end of the run with splits) MeowMixForMeAndYou 7m32s 8/16/15 (video required, only posted screenshot of the end of the run with splits) shadoweh91 3m37s 10/28/16 (banned emulator – VBA-M) shadoweh91 3m48s 7/6/16 (video no longer available, but later runs used banned emulator VBA-M) shadoweh91 4m14s 4/28/16 (video no longer available, but later runs used banned emulator VBA-M) TaymanND 3m12s 2/17/19 (banned emulator – Retroarch) Vyse 2m55s 3/9/19 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 2m56s 2/25/19 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 2m59s 7/12/17 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 3m00s 10/21/16 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 3m01s 8/24/16 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 3m02s 8/11/15 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 3m07s 4/20/15 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 3m10s 12/21/14 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 3m13s 11/29/14 (banned emulator – PlayGuy)

--Line Clear Scroll Off shadoweh91 25m48s 12/12/16 (banned emulator – VBA-M) Vyse 22m39s 12/13/16 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 23m31s 4/27/16 (banned emulator – PlayGuy)

--Marathon Easy, 99,999 Points, Scroll Off Vyse 6m08s 1/19/18 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 6m47s 1/18/18 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 7m24s 8/17/17 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 8m00s 7/12/17 (banned emulator – PlayGuy) Vyse 8m56s 7/5/17 (banned emulator – PlayGuy)

Normal, 99,999 Points, Scroll Off Vyse 10m07s 1/19/18 (banned emulator – PlayGuy)

Going forward, any run, newly verified or previously existing, found to have used an unapproved emulator will also be removed.

That does it for the poll results themselves. Since specific emulators are being approved, some with specific settings, we need a means of identifying the emulator within the submission. Multiple requirements used by other communities were discussed, including forcing the run to start from a soft or hard reset, linking an input file (used in recording TASes) with the submission, listing the emulator name and version on the run comments, recording the entire emulator window, and showing all system messages. Concerns were voiced over stream appearance and feasibility. In the end, we settled on these two options for future submissions:

-capture the entire emulator window in your video; or -note the name and version of the emulator used in your comments

These options give the mods the ability to check the gameplay against the claims to confirm that the run is following the rules while allowing runners to give verifiable assurance that their runs are legitimate.

To summarize the changes to the emulator usage rules, here were the OLD rules:

We use SpeedRunsLive's rules for emulator usage. This means that Visual Boy Advance (VBA) and VBA-M are currently banned. Please see this FAQ: http://www.speedrunslive.com/faq/#caniemulate

And here are the NEW rules, effective immediately:

Effective March 26, 2019: --New emulated runs must be done on one of the following approved emulators: -BGB ( http://bgb.bircd.org/ ) versions 1.5.7 and up -Gambatte ( https://sourceforge.net/projects/gambatte/files/gambatte/ ) r571 -Gambatte-speedrun ( https://github.com/Dabomstew/gambatte-speedrun/releases ) r649 and up -Bizhawk ( http://tasvideos.org/Bizhawk.html ) versions 2.3.1 and up with the Gambatte core selected --Emulated runs previously submitted must have been done on a version of either BGB, Gambatte, or Bizhawk. --If a verified run is discovered to have used an emulator that is not approved, the run will be removed. --To verify that an approved emulator is being used, runs must satisfy at least ONE of the following requirements: -The emulator window must be fully visible on your video. -The run’s comments must list the name and version of the emulator used. --To capture the window in OBS, use a Display Capture.

If you have any concerns over these new rules, please let one of the mods know.

Edited by the author 5 years ago