Side Pocket was a pool franchise by Data East. The NES, SNES, and Genesis versions were all notable leaders in Video Pool Physics at the time of their release. Eventually the series was killed off in favor of the Cheesy 'Minnesota Fats' FMV pool games. The Gameboy entry is a little different with a simplified 'Newton's Cradle' style physics engine.
In this run I complete the 'Pocket' mode in just under 5 minutes. There are four rounds. Each round continues until you score over a certain threshold. City, State, and World require you to complete a trick shot as well. I meet the score on the first game in all four rounds.
In game scores:
- Club: 6100/3000
- City: 9900/4000
- State: 6100/5000
- World: 7600/7000
Why this game? Because it frustrated me as a child. It was the second game I ever owned (I think my grandma got it somewhere), so it was the only choice If i didn't want to play Pokemon anymore. I'm still not very good at pool, but that desire to finally see the end of a game I put hours into as a child still lingered. So here we are. I understand pool is not the ideal subject for a TAS, but again I hope the shortness of the game combined with the goofy shots I pull off make up for it.
Physics Engine: What do I mean by 'Newtons Cradle?' In contrast to other pool games, the balls behave like they are on rails, hit cleanly, and stop dead after a hit. This means it's a lot easier to get things moving straight than it should be, but limits the number of angles available.
Strategy: The cursor always starts aiming at the lowest ball on the table. Swinging the cursor around takes a long time and generates a lot of lag frames due to the number of sprites moving around. As such I search first with a couple different powers of shots, then try with a cursor swing of 1 then 2 frames in either direction. After that english takes 2-4 frames to put on, and affects ball movement a good deal more than swinging the cursor, so that's a good search area, after english +1,+2 frames of cursor swing, and double english + 1,2 frames of cursor swing, I generally gave up and lined up my next shot more conventionally. After I had a working shot I would cut down power lower if I could do so to save the frames of the meter charging up, and lag frames caused by stuff moving fast.
There is a Bonus shot after each round, I intentionally whiff it to save time.
Club: Annoyingly Bad Break. It gets a Pocket and sets me up to knock down everything quickly though.
City: Good Round. No cursor swinging.
State: A Fun Break. Not quite as clean as City though.
World: I love this Break, this shot made the run for me. After that I have to play a bit for score. I fully admit I had to look up the solution to the trick shot on this one.
Notes: With such a large search space for possibilities I am under no illusion that this is the limit of the game. There are lots of places to look for faster strategies, but due to the large amount of RNG involved there's not really any possibility of changing things without redoing everything after that.
If it does get encoded, Is it possible for it to use its Gameboy Color Pallet? I couldn't figure out how to get Bizhawk to do it. The game looks much better with Red/Orange Sprites on a Green Background.