I don’t think anyone has suggested that Neil’s score be disenfranchised. I for one knew for some time that Neil would likely become the next perfect Pac-Man player.
I for one disagree with the change in the TG Arcade setting from 3+1 (three men to start, plus one at 10,000) to 5+1 (five men to start, plus one at 10,000 – which I saw only once in the arcades), but I understand the logic behind it. What would have happened if Billy Mitchell got 3,333,180 (a “180” score) in 1999, only to have someone use the 5+1 option to get 3,333,360 (a “360” score) and then claim that not only is he the new World Champ, but the first to get a “true” perfect score? Would have been pretty cheap if you ask me
There is also a very important thing to note here: In 1999 there had yet to be a verified perfect score in Pac-Man (Arcade), so upping the men to 5+1 was apparently not an issue. Once Billy got the first perfect score, and in such a fashion that prevented other players beating his score by adding men, we knew requiring future players of Arcade Pac-Man to set the game to 5+1 for perfect game attempts would not step on anyone’s toes.
With MAME, however, it is a different story. When I got the first perfect score in 2002, the TGTS for MAME Pac-Man was set at 3+1. I was tempted to set it to 5+1 to prevent this very “can of worms” from being opened, but I also did not want TG to DQ my game for having too many men. And as has been stated several times, this issue was already discussed – with the decision to keep MAME Pac-Man at 3+1 affirmed. Besides, it’s kind of nice having a “degree of separation” between the platforms – where a “360” perfect is automatically associated with the Arcade platform, and a “180” perfect is associated with MAME.
In short, and I am not suggesting any “foul” intentions, but I am now faced with the same potential issue that Billy would have faced had the Arcade settings not been changed to 5+1. Imagine: If Neil’s score were to be accepted by TG as is, it could lead to confusion regarding a “perfect game” at best – a “watering down” of my perfect game at worst, as has been explained by previous posts already.
That being said, I would not want to see Neil’s recording disenfranchised just because he used 5+1 for MARP purposes – assuming he elects to submit it to TG. But, with respect, I also don’t want people to mistakenly assume he is the first (and only) player to have a perfect score on MAME Pac-Man because of the score difference.
Think of it this way (and correct me if I’m wrong) – Ms. Pac-Man is still using 3+1, and the kill screen does not allow for scoring any more points. Now imagine if someone used 5+1 – which allowed him to reach the kill screen and tie Chris’ world record. Are they the same? Of course not. Likewise (using someone else’s example), if someone played MAME Pac-Man with 5+1, died twice on the 9th key level, but still got everything with his 4 remaining men to get 3,333,180, would that be the same as my score? No, but again it could be assumed as the same to the casual reader.
A final note: After training extensively on the split screen, any Pac-Master with a perfect game (Neil included) can tell you that getting the split screen hidden dots two more times is trivial – and barely worth mentioning. I actually played Pac-Man with 5+1 and got 3,333,360 rather easily last summer – just never bothered to submit it (since I already got perfect the year before).
Again, I think Neil should be recognized for his accomplishment and be given kudos for showing the world his secrets - although I would have waited for a book deal or something first
That said, however, something needs to be done to ensure there is no confusion either on the MARP or TG side. At the very least, Neil’s score on MARP should state that his settings have been the TG Arcade
settings since 1999. As it reads now, it could be assumed that it means the TG MAME settings.
On a broader scale, we have the already mentioned ideas of crediting Neil with 3,333,180 or having separate categories for Pac-Man (3+1 and 5+1). The latter actually might not be a bad idea for all platforms – as many of the Arcade top scores (my 1983 score included) were done with 3+1. It would actually give players a chance to be the first to score the first perfect Arcade Pac-Man game with 3+1 (since all four Arcade perfects thus far were done with 5+1).
I would, however, offer another option to prevent the kind of “pandora’s box” concern mentioned before: Change ALL TG Pac-Man settings to 3+1 (factory default) and credit anyone with perfect games (“180” or “360”) with 3,333,180. Again, anyone who can get a perfect “180” can get a perfect “360” – and, of course, vice versa - I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch. And if someone steps forward with a “360” game, they too would be listed with a score of 3,333,180. Just trying to come up with a win-win situation here for all involved.
In closing, I want to say to Neil – Nice Job!! I think you’ll find that, once you’ve scored perfect in MAME, that scoring perfect in the Arcade version will not be too far behind. I’ll have to try out your 1-second patterns sometime….
TG MAME Pac-Man World Champion