Tetris 2 (NES) Forum  /  A serious question about a run
  Worsel5Worsel5

Hello, I am not a speedrunner of this game at all but having tried it myself a month or two back I figured I would peek into what a run would actually look like.

I was pretty shocked to see that the first place run for 80 Rounds was a full 42 minutes faster than second place. Then I started watching Cyber_Of_Memory's run and it's showing a lot of signs of being a TAS and not legitimate gameplay.

Everything from knowing what piece is going to show up three moves in advance to pulling off piece rotations combined with movements that would not be feasible. Not a single wasted movement is made nor a mistake or death, something is not adding up. I can't go into exactly how this is a TAS at this time but it warrants a lot more looking into.

It could be a segmented run edited together or a complete TAS from start to finish, if it was a movie playback there would be a header on the bottom or top of the screen showing upon the powering on of the ROM which the video does not show. Other submissions from other players show the game being "powered on" and navigating to the game selection of their choice. Add in the fact that the run was done on an emulator that is almost 14 year old instead of something more well known, current, and accepted for speedrunning like FCEUX, Nestopia, or Bizhawk raises another flag for me.

I may be paranoid, and like I said previously I am not a runner of this game nor will I be, but this run legit made me stop and raised concerns.

mikoshiba35mikoshiba35, nymxnymx and DCG_GrinderDCG_Grinder like this. 
  mikoshiba35mikoshiba35

I'm using the translation function.
I'm sorry if the text is hard to read.

Hello everyone.
I am a Tetris 2 runner using an actual NES machine.

The following is all my personal opinion.

I don't know of anyone else who can do this kind of button work as well as Cyber_Of_Memory.

As you can see, Tetris 2 has frames that do not accept input, which makes it easy to make mistakes if you operate the game with preconceived notions.
In addition, one mistake can cost you a lot of time, so it's better to erase carefully to keep your time stable.
How about the other runners?

I feel that if I want to achieve operations like his, I need to keep succeeding in frame perfects in a row.
(I didn't actually measure the frames.)

Also, I agree with Worsel5, the erasing method is uncomfortable.
It's as if he knows that the right piece will come along, and he doesn't take any risks.
There are a tremendous number of patterns for pieces in Tetris 2.
While it is possible to substitute for some of them, it is not practical to find the ideal color arrangement, and his move looks like he is playing against astronomical odds.
Of course, he could have kept retrying until he got extremely lucky. At least it's a move I wouldn't try to make.

I would like to hear other people's thoughts on this point.

As for TAS and emulators, I'm not very knowledgeable about them, so I can't say anything for sure.

nymxnymx and DCG_GrinderDCG_Grinder like this. 
  DCG_GrinderDCG_Grinder

I just want to touch on a couple of things first. I will be taking a much closer look at the video so I do not want you to think I am disregarding your thoughts. But I've had a long day of streaming, it's very late, and there are a couple of things that stand out in my mind...

When I ran this myself, I was pretty much able to tell on the first level if the run was going to be worth doing. Granted, I only ran 10 rounds, but, there are 2 or 3 Round 1s that can be done very fast with 3 or less pieces. This isn't complete RNG for the board and each specific board has a predetermined series of blocks. You're not going to hit a perfect run. While it's technically possible, it's easier to just say it's impossible.

If this was a TAS, it was a very poorly done one. Especially considering the times at Round 10 and Round 30 are slower than the records Cyber_of_Memory already holds. Plus, there is human error in both placement and rotation throughout the run, among other things.

If this was spliced, it would have had to happen after Round 44. The score maxes out during the bonus count from Round 43.

There is nothing in the rules saying when the recording has to start. Most people, as a form of habit, include the game being powered on/reset. I do that for everything because the first couple games I ran required it. So I do it now whether the rules state it or not. This is the only game Cyber runs. This may be worth adding to the rules, but Cyber shows from the level select screen.

When I took over as mod, there was nothing that said you have to use this or that emulator if you're going to use one. The only problem would be if the emulator causes a problem that makes the game run faster than another emulator. This isn't the case.

Over the next couple of days, I will look deeper at the video. I will also ask for assistance from a 3rd party with knowledge of the game for their input.

nymxnymx, Worsel5Worsel5 and mikoshiba35mikoshiba35 like this. 
  nymxnymx

Greetings, I was thinking of holding onto this information...so I guess I'll make a surprise announcement. I am in the process of TASing this game. I have been doing so since July 2019. It didn't take long before I realized that this game needs to be BOTed. Currently, I'm about 67.5% through with the game.

...And now the details. This submission is too unbelievable. Here are my points to why this seems to be a "Savestate" run.

1. A 42 minute improvement? This reduction is not strictly a problem, since I believe a human could potentially get very good at this game...but I haven't seen anybody make that kind of progress that others can't follow suit. Considering this is a 2 hour run, that puts it closer to half cut...which I find impossible.
2. I didn't recognize any deaths. Not sure if I missed one, but deaths are a HIGH possibility as you progress through, and something that is expected. The previous record had plenty.
3. RNG, for the patterns displayed, is accomplished by the end of the last accepted input on the previous round. There is a 22 frame window after the explosion of the last "Flashing" block. After that, no input will change the pattern, except for the "Left" direction for a number of frame afterwards...but not after the success message for the upcoming bonus tally. As for the piece to solve the game...RNG can be altered in two ways...delay pressing "Start" on the round, or making a frame perfect pause when the first piece is about to be dropped. Having a different RNG value from the previous round can cause different cycling, but it can be enumerated through by the previously mentioned two methods. I bring this up, because a "Savestate" can be established shortly after completion of the round and hold that pattern. This is an advantage, giving foreknowledge to formulate a strategy.
4. Possible patterns. This game cannot produce endless patterns for every RNG combination; however, I can say that my search for fast solvable patterns yields around 800 to 1000 possibilities (for levels above 30), with some of the flashing blocks being "Grid Locked". As for the other non-usable situations, there has to be 10,000+ patterns...with a small percentage of color re-arrangement. So, this means a large number of bad patterns do exist and are highly likely to end your run prematurely. My guess is, that RNG is determined by a 16 bit value, which would mean a possibility of 65536 patterns...which would go along with my experiences so far.
5. Mistakes in the run. I have noticed a number of places where human mistakes were made. This doesn't mean that I believe the run is legitimate, but to point out that the game's difficulty is high enough that this kind of error should be seen a lot more than it was. As the moderated pointed out, if this was intended to be a TAS...it was poorly made because of these optimization errors...which I attribute to the culmination of best efforts for each round. So, this would make it more like a "Theory TAS"...meaning the possibility of a super lucky human run with minimal mistakes. When I was TASing Super Metroid, Theory TASes were very common and done to determine if the limitations of the game were being reached. Those times are very hard to get close to. Here, it certainly seems that it the case.

Anyway, I hope this supports my reasons why this run should be re-evaluated.

RazorflameRazorflame, DCG_GrinderDCG_Grinder and 2 others like this. 
  nymxnymx

One more thing, there is another point that I think is worthy to note. I'm seeing a lot of fast maneuverings for pieces being navigated through tight pathways. Runners should know how dangerous that is, as it can quickly backfire. There are numerous occasion where broken pieces are navigated in a risky fashion. I don't see other runners taking that chance.

From a TASing perspective, there are 12 frames before you loose control of a piece...when it is about to land permanently on other blocks. So you really don't have that much time, as a human, in order to make this kind of move.

RazorflameRazorflame, DCG_GrinderDCG_Grinder and 2 others like this. 
  DrD2k9DrD2k9

As a fellow TASer, nymx asked me for my opinion on the Tetris 2 run in question here. The following are some observations I've made on the run itself as well as other observations regarding Cyber_of_Memory. None of the following proves that this run isn't legitimate, but it does make me wonder.

1) I almost immediately noticed how precise the splits occur in the LiveSplit timer.
Going through the video frame by frame (where necessary), showed that every split occurs within 3 frames of "Round Clear" appearing on-screen; with multiple of these occurring exactly on the frame where "Round Clear" appears and some even on the frame immediately before it appears. Out of curiosity, I checked his other two 1st place runs in the other categories for this behavior, and the nearly perfect splitting occurs with them also. Unless the runner is using an autosplitter script, this is insanely good timing for a human to accomplish at that level of consistency over 3 different runs. Given that there is no standard autosplitter available in LiveSplit for the game, this adds a degree of suspicion for me. Further, an autosplitter would have to be one that watched in-game RAM as some of these splits occur the frame BEFORE the text appears. Thus a screen-watching autosplitter wouldn't work. (More thoughts on LiveSplit later)

2) Some of the piece drops, rotations, and dangerous maneuvers in this run appear very precise. I'm no expert on this particular game, but there sure seem to be a lot of such crazy precise maneuvers made in this run.
Were this a game that always presented the same layout for a given level, I can see where a player may get proficient in maneuvering blocks through the obstacles; but given that RNG affects stage layouts, such maneuvers cannot be pre-planned and have to be decided and performed in-the-moment.

3) Another thing that makes me curious is that Cyber_of_Memory only joined speedrun.com about 2 months ago (approximately when his 10-round run took its 1st place position). According to the 'Info' tab on his profile page https://www.speedrun.com/user/Cyber_Of_Memory he only has 4 total runs submitted on speedrun.com; three of these are the 1st place finishes on this game's categories. I don't know what the 4th run is, but I have a speculation (again, more on this later).
I find it somewhat suspicious that a runner who shows up out of nowhere, suddenly takes first place in all categories of a specific game within a 2 month span of time, and he further appears to have either created his own autosplitter or is insanely consistent at splitting on an in-game event that has no visual or audio cue that would allow for a split that precisely when the text appears.

4) Other videos in his youtube channel show some pretty amazing and nearly TASlike gameplay though none (from what I can tell using google translate) are labeled as tool-assisted.
For example, this run is a run of a player vs the computer in Dr. Mario where the player plays at level 20 and the CPU plays at level 0 with both set on high speed; yet the player still manages to win with nearly perfect pill movement and placement throughout the run.

5) After looking into Cyber_of_Memory's youtube channel, I found this run which I'm wondering if it may be his 4th submission on speedrun.com, but the run has perhaps yet to be approved by the mod of that game https://www.speedrun.com/tetris_2_snes#Vs._CPU_rounds_1-15 and is thus not yet visible on his profile. This is a speculation on my part.
What I find interesting though that this run ALSO shows the behavior of near perfect time splitting even though it's a different game (and system) entirely. This again suggests that either Cyber_of_Memory is nearly a perfect manual splitter or is using an autosplitter. Given that this version of Tetris 2 is different, he would have had to create a completely new autosplitter for this version of the game because, again, there is no standard autosplitter available in LiveSplit for that version of the game.
Further, as with the run this forum topic is discussing, this SNES Tetris 2 run would also be the top spot by a rather wide margin; nearly 20 minutes shorter on a game category where the only other runs posted are approximately 1 hour and 1.5 hours.
If I'm correct in my assumption that this is indeed his fourth submission; then we have an individual who shows up out of nowhere and takes top leaderboard positions in multiple categories with 4 runs over two completely separate (though similar) games. On top of taking the top spots in all those categories, he does so with some quite impressive improvements when considering the ratio of time saved compared to overall length of run (both his own and those being beaten).

6) LiveSplit: From his youtube channel, it appears that Cyber_of_Memory has only begun using LiveSplit on his videos for these past 4 videos. As they are the most recent videos on the channel, it could just be that he's just now started using this method of timing. This did make me further curious about the potential use of an autosplitter that's not standardly available.

7) This one is a minor note, but it does play into my suspicion. Cyber_of_Memory doesn't have a twitch account (that I can find) where these runs were performed live. I realize that many runs on speedrun.com don't have a live recording to compare to, so this is hardly a deal breaker. But the combination of my other suspicions already noted and the fact that the player is not visible playing these runs, I would have liked to have found a live recording of the run to verify this youtube video against.

As mentioned at the top, none of this proves that the run is illegitimate. It sure does make me suspicious though.
The split timing is actually what is bothering me the most; especially with the method of splitting being near identical between how the 2 different versions of the game are split. I just don't see a human being that nearly perfect in manual splittng. So I'm left with 1 of 2 possible conclusions:

1) The run is legit.
And thusly, Cyber_of_Memory is an absolutely AMAZING game player showing near tool-assisted levels of gameplay over a variety of games (as seen on his youtube channel). He also is either nearly perfect at manually splitting or is using a non-public RAM-watching autosplitter.

2) The run is not-legit. And while not perfect, the run was still made using some form of tool-assistance. If so, I'd guess it was savestates and rerecording a movie. Then the livesplits were somehow added in over a playback of the recorded movie.

RazorflameRazorflame, mikoshiba35mikoshiba35 and 3 others like this. 
  DrD2k9DrD2k9

For what it's worth; I would NEVER want to see a legit run be taken down however improbable said run appears.

nymxnymx, mikoshiba35mikoshiba35 and 2 others like this. 
  DCG_GrinderDCG_Grinder

I've contacted a mod from SNES Tetris 2 to see if there is a reason this run hasn't been verified. Granted, the submission is only a week and a half old (assuming it was submitted on the day the video was posted), but there is a possibility it was rejected.

Thank you to nymx and DrD2k9 for your input.

mikoshiba35mikoshiba35, nymxnymx and nickbush24nickbush24 like this. 
  mikoshiba35mikoshiba35

This may not be the place to talk about it, but I'd like to share what I know about applying for a Tetris 2 (SNES) run.

I have applied for four Tetris 2 (SNES) runs, but after about a month, the leaderboard has not been updated and is still pending.

It's just my guess, but I think there is some reason on the moderator's side that is holding up the verification process, not related to the aforementioned refusal of registration.

This is a trivial information, but I hope it will be helpful.

DCG_GrinderDCG_Grinder likes this. 
  nymxnymx

Ooops. The 22 frames I was talking about? I mean 44. I'm so used to having 22 inputs, separated by a blank frame, to work with. Sorry.

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  RazorflameRazorflame

If you guys are going to look at this user's 80 round run, then I think you should also look at his 10 round and 30 round runs as well.

DCG_GrinderDCG_Grinder and Worsel5Worsel5 like this. 
  nymxnymx

I agree with Razorflame. The 80 round is certainly a trigger to believe the 10 and 30 round runs may have been created in the same fashion.

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  DCG_GrinderDCG_Grinder

Before I begin, let me tell you a little about myself. I've been speedrunning for over 2 years and have held over 80 records crossing 7 different platforms. Tetris 2 was the first game I requested to be a mod for because I was running it myself and the mods were inactive. Since then, I've become the mod of 8 other games. I check every day to see if runs are submitted and if someone beats one of my records, I have no problem verifying them. I take this seriously. I also don't have a problem admitting if I'm wrong or if I made a mistake.

So let's break this down...

This run, let's be honest, looks too good to be true. Dangerous moves that would either ruin runs or add minutes are done with precision. Meanwhile, some simple moves have mistakes. Let's get into the concerns raised in this thread...

If this is a TAS, it is either the worst TAS I've ever seen or he put in way too much work to make it seem like it wasn't. The run is riddled with movement errors. And by "movement errors" I mean the "thud" sound the game makes when you try to move a piece where it can't go. There are also a number of placement errors that would have saved more time.

Next, the time difference between 1st and 2nd. This was a no loss run. If you look at 2nd place, and this is with no disrespect to exewin, exewin had several losses in that run. Is a no loss, 1-80 run rare? Absolutely. But getting one can cut what seems like a lifetime from a run.

LiveSplit - I've noticed that with splits, it's not just about visual cues, but audio cues as well. You start picking up on things and know when to hit your splitter. Now, if every split across every one of his runs was done on the exact same frame after "Round Over" appears, this would be a concern. But there are differences.

Gonna go over some smaller things now before I address the 2 biggest concerns...

Live streaming isn't required for most games.

When I became a mod for this game, I went along with the rules that were in place,

"Timer starts when you push start at the puzzle screen. Timer stops when Round Clear is shown."

It wasn't required to show the title screen or a reset from the previous game. This may change going forward however.

He's new to speedrun.com. I can't speak for why he didn't sign up before breaking the record.

Haven't heard back from the SNES Tetris 2 mod about his run over there so I'm guessing they're not active.

The biggest questions come from the possibility of using save states and the choice of emulator.

Yes, it's an old emulator. However, it's still used today because it works on older computers. Before I got the PC I have now, I ran an HP Pavilion for around 5 years that wouldn't run Mesen properly. My Dell crashed and it was what I could afford.

The only other reason I could think of for using an older emulator is that it wouldn't show a message when a save state is loaded. So I downloaded it. And it says "STATE LOADED #0" in the bottom left corner of the screen when you load a save state.

So while I thank you all for your concerns, through the checking I've done along with a third party, until someone brings forward concrete evidence, this run will stand as legit.

Oh, and I checked the 10 and 30 round runs as well. If it wasn't for placement errors, they could have been faster.

mikoshiba35mikoshiba35 likes this. 
  nymxnymx
(edited: )

Thank you for looking into this PoppaPickett. As a moderator, I respect how you approached your decision. Even though we still have suspicions, it is only right to require solid evidence.

DCG_GrinderDCG_Grinder likes this. 
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