The Use of TetrisGym for Runs
9 months ago

i estimate that 80-90% of ALL top NES Tetris players use some form of the TetrisGym Romhack instead of the main cartridge. Most of the latest top runs and almost all future top runs will be preformed on it and it would be good to have some confirmation by moderators that this romhack is permitted for use in runs.

If you're not familiar with TetrisGym then here is the rundown:

TetrisGym is a Romhack that mainly combines a few quality of life improvements but importantly does NOT change A-Type or B-Type gameplay in any way. the main changes are an elimination of cut-scenes and Score-uncap to make the time between games as smooth as possible. This in combination with some seperate training gamemodes and a "SamePieceSets" mode for online Matches means that this romhack is used by all top players who are able to use it.

So is the use of TetrisGym on A-Type permitted since no gameplay is altered and in the base form there is not a single pixel changed that could tell TetrisGym and a regular Cart apart.


This is not a decision to be taken lightly. My instinct is that the answer should be no, for a number of reasons:

-As a general rule, romhacks are not allowed on virtually any leaderboard for any reason. In fact there have already been Tetris runs that were rejected in the past (not by me) for this very reason.

-The main reason people would want to use it for the categories that currently exist - quality of life, as referred to in the original post - constitutes an unfair advantage (however trivial) over players who only have access to a Tetris cartridge. Not everyone has a flash cart, and lag rules out emulator play for most people.

-The leaderboards that currently exist simply wouldn't gain much from allowing a romhack. What I mean is that if we were running a leaderboard such as "high score" then having an uncapped score counter would eliminate the need to manually calculate points, and it could be argued that something like that would be important. But for the leaderboards that currently exist, we're basically talking about removing an 8 second or so cutscene between attempts, which by contrast does not seem important.

-Finally, for the leaderboards that currently exist, it seems extremely unlikely that anyone would get a world record without specifically aiming for it, so it's extremely unlikely that someone playing a game on a romhack would 'accidentally' get a world record on one of these categories (since the optimal strategy involves purposely playing above the bottom, which people don't do in standard games). And if a player is going to aim for a speedrun time, I see no reason why it would be any issue for them to switch over to a Tetris cartridge to do so.

For these reasons, my vote personally would be no.

Razorflame and TegaMech like this

Thanks for answeringso fast :D

i want to adress a few things

"-As a general rule, romhacks are not allowed on virtually any leaderboard for any reason."

The reason for this needs to be considered. which is that romhacks allow a player to gain an unfair advantage or allow a player to cheat undetectably. This is NOT the case with TetrisGym. All gamemodes which are not the main A-type mode will have it be displayed that they are modified gamemodes. hence the general rule may not need be applied to tetrisgym here.

"there have already been Tetris runs that were rejected in the past (not by me) for this very reason."

I would be interested to see which runs were rejected due to this, and if they were rop 5 times

"people want to use it for quality of life, which constitutes an unfair advantage (however trivial) over players who only have access to a Tetris cartridge."

yes and no. in gameplay there is no unfair advantage. but here is the thing. There is a mode in TetrisGym for this exact reason that is called "Qual Mode" and it puts the cutscenes and other thigns back into the game. This makes the use of tetrisGym and a normal tetris Cart identical. if there is a problem with the cutscnes being skipped then players can just be made to put them back in.

If there is problem with TetrisGym having unfair advantages then THIS would be the solution. As the name implies. This mode is used for CTM, CTP, and ALL online tournaments that use Timed Qualifier system.

"it seems extremely unlikely that anyone would get a world record without specifically aiming for it"

they could aim for it. but NOT nessesarily aim for it to be put on this leaderboard. A Top Tetris player (as it currently stands) might not go for records that follow the rules here. instead using the rules for fair competative play layed out in CTM, CTL, or CTP. the Speedrun leaderboards here are not considered an authority at all.

and here i think is the main thing.

If anyone decides to revive speedrunning in the Tetris Scene (by speedrunning and getting friends to do it too) then this leaderboard would likely be left behind Similar to Twin Galaxies Which currently has under 20 maxouters out of the 500 that exist.

Because as soon as the speedrun leaderboard on here does not display, let's say 3 of the top 5 times or something. then someone will likely just make their own speedrun leaderboard and i don't think the leaderboard would come out ontop when it comes to accuracy

i'm strongly biased for allowing the use of it. Either with or without Qual mode, because i know what has happened with leaderboards and tournaments who refuse change

The acceptance or disallowing of TetrisGym on here is not a trivial matter like you said and it really needs to be clearly allowed or disallowed.

You can either allow it, which is what every single tetris tournament, community and leaderboard has done. (except 2020 and 2021 ctwc)

Or you can go straight against the tetris scene and it's players... which, if you want an appealing leaderboard for those same players... i don't think is the best move

Huffulufugus likes this

No problem. SRC is good with notifications and I check the boards almost every day.

"I would be interested to see which runs were rejected due to this, and if they were rop 5 times"

I remember specifically that Joseph did a world record run that was rejected, although it was before the invention of TetrisGym. The point is the same though; no matter who does a speedrun, it should adhere to the existing rules of its leaderboard.

I think I can address the rest together here: What you are describing kind of already happened years ago, long before I even found out about it. The Tetris Discord points to a wide variety of leaderboards that attempt to cover everything the community does. I was so impressed when I combed through them and saw myself on every applicable leaderboard, years after I had played those runs, without ever submitting anything.

The reason this happened is because the Tetris community is composed mostly of players who are really good at Tetris, and the speedrunning leaderboards didn't have leaderboards for non-speedrunning statistics such as "earliest maxouts" and "highest score". SRC isn't the hub for the Tetris community in general because, now that the game is literally infinite, there isn't actually much to speedrun. So just to be perfectly clear: five years from now, if there aren't many people submitting speedruns to the Tetris leaderboards, it won't be because a romhack was disallowed.

All that being said, I am not the only Moderator here; I'm not the only person with a say in the matter. Based on everything you've said about TetrisGym, and especially about Qual Mode, I don't think it's necessary to "ban" it from use on speedruns entirely, but if it is to be allowed for SRC runs, there should definitely be a separate distinction. This could be something as extreme as new leaderboards devoted to Gym use, or as minor as a new "Yes/No" tag on every run indicating if TetrisGym was used, with a rule saying Qual Mode must be used. Updates like this do happen on leaderboards, but not if there isn't demand for them. If the demand exists, and other Moderators think it's a good idea, I wouldn't be against it.

Razorflame and TegaMech like this
Wisconsin, USA

I'm with NESCardinality here. Runs done on here should adhere to the current rules on the leaderboards and I also agree that the use of any romhack that has quality of life improvements would also constitute as an unfair advantage for those that use the romhack on the leaderboards. If it were ever to be allowed on the leaderboards, it would have to be with their own categories or category extensions, which I am not in favor of using because it most likely would dilute the playerbase a bit and would make moderation harder.


i think having TetrisGym Category Extensions for every type but where the gameplay is the identical to normal runs just sounds like a dumb idea, better disallow it outright