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This is a run of Math Blaster with the main goal being speed. Math Blaster has 3 sections: Trash, Caves, and Ship. In the menus you can choose between 3 and 5 lives. I add 1 life because I will be taking a lot of damage in trash.
A video of the run can be seen here:

Trash

In trash it is better to hit a wrong answer first as it only takes an additional 19 frames to fire the second shot, but hitting a correct answer first adds 40 frames because your bonus points increase and they have to be tallied in the bonus stages. For this reason, I hit an incorrect answer first all 30 times. This is the reason for the additional life. In the bonus stage, I avoid all bonus points except at the end, where shooting the last asteroids can end the stage sooner.

Caves

The main feature of caves is the up-clip glitch which was discovered recently. Normally, you are not able to progress upwards unless the number on your character is between the minimum and maximum listed on the cave level. However, with this frame perfect and pixel perfect glitch you can avoid getting detected by the laser that usually shoots you down.

Ship

In ship I manipulate the RNG to only give me problems where the correct answer is in the 2 leftmost tubes by waiting a specific amount of frames. The RNG is entirely based on the frame number and there is no other known way to manipulate it. The second tube is only slower by 1 frame, so both are acceptable as it would take at least 1 frame to RNG manipulate again until the correct answer was in the first tube. The only other glitch used here is known as the "Owch clip" where there is a 1 frame window to get "owched" by a piece of trash flying by and still make it into the tube.

ThunderAxe31: Judging.
ThunderAxe31: Hello and welcome to TASVideos!
This run is not acceptable for Moons tier because the entertainment value is very low. Thus, Vault tier requirements will be applied.
The run is nicely optimized and beats all known records. However, the game played does not meet the Vault requirements, since it's an educational game. Specifically: this game mostly consists in doing math fast, and in fact most of the efforts showcased in this run are actually just manipulating and predicting the answers in order to solve the problems fast.
For this reason, I'm rejecting this submission. Better luck next time!
ThunderAxe31: In view of the arguments provided by feos in the forum thread of this submission, I start over the judging process.

ThunderAxe31: The argument brought by feos consisted in a different interpretation of the Vault rule for educational games. While I considered that rule to forbid any run made with educational games, he did instead consider it as actually forbidding games that don't feature TAS-worthy material. Since his argument was supposedly supported by the goal of TASVideos of developing superhuman gameplay, I decided to consider the possibility that my initial judgement was wrong.
I had a conversation with other staff members, including Nach, Mothrayas, and feos. I explained the reason for my judgement and I presented my evidence pointing out that Math Blaster can't be completed casually without solving math. In the end, everyone acknowledged that my method added a clear cut to the rule, whose text was updated accordingly. We needed to draw a clear borderline for evaluating if a given title is primarily an educational game or not. My idea was to use the concept of "casual play" as a yardstick for estimating how much determinant is the requirement to perform educational activities in order to play through the game.
On the other hand, we also agreed that relying on TAS merits for a given run could never give a definitive extimation, since that substantially consists of speculating about the TAS potential available for a given game. We can't really know in advance if such potential is actually present, and that would result in relying on chances, which we can't do for Vault rules. In fact, TAS potential can be there, but until one tries hard enough, we won't know about it. This doesn't allow for any reliable rule.
It must also be noted that while it's true that the goal of TASVideos is to develop and showcase superhuman gameplay, this is mainly done for the purpose of entertainment, which clearly doesn't apply for the Vault tier. And on the other hand, this movie has been proven by the audience to lack any TAS merits that make it entertaining to watch.
The purpose of the Vault tier is keep track of videogame records, and thus shouldn't be applied for pieces of software that can't be considered as actual games. For this reason, some kinds of titles are excluded from Vault tier, like educational games. Even if the updated rule that defines an educational game is quite lax, it's still very clear and definite, and it must be so in order to avoid impossible-to-solve cases; raising an exception here would generate a bad precedent.
This is indeed an unfortunate case because the run itself features good TASing material, as explained by feos in this post, and I also was aware of this from the start; but even then the run was not entertaining enough to be accepted for Moons. The best I can do is to note that a "maximum score" run could potentially be entertaining enough to be accepted. Lastly, I want to thank qflame for having submitted this run, because it did give the opportunity to test and refine the rule.
Reassuming: the rule didn't change, my judgment didn't change. Rejecting again for bad game choice in conjunction with low entertainment.

FREE MATH BLASTER.
Memory: Changes in the movie rules resulted in revisiting the run. Obviously, the audience reception and the optimization has not changed. However, due to said changes, the main factor now is triviality. This run looks far from trivial, with lots of RNG manipulation and plenty of obvious optimization points. Therefore under the rules now, this movie is finally acceptable.
Freeing Math Blaster to Vault.
EZGames69 PUBLISH MATH BLASTER

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TASVideoAgent
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I'm not sure but game difficulty is "normal" and math difficulty is "1". This game doesn't have a hard mode and more than 1 for math difficulty? If it's true, you have to explain why you didn't take them and I don't think your reason for this 1 life added will be acceptable :/. That can be a good reason but it's an advice to promote acceptance of your TAS. An other thing, when you are in bonus stages : you do nothing. Is there any reason like luck manipulation ? If you can do things without any loss of frames, you can do it like flying around objects (if you don't have to touch them) with pixel perfects etc... to improve entertainment and favor yes votes :). It's only a vision of someone who don't know this game (If you could make a little presentation of the game in the submission message follows). Maybe I'm wrong and if I am, I'm sorry. On the speed part, I don't see any improvment I can do. I don't vote without your answer :).
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Thanks for the reply. The game has 2 modes, "normal" and "practice" so normal is in fact the hardest mode. As for the math difficulty, it ranges from 1 to 12. The only thing that it changes is the math problems themselves. The addition problems get harder, and at difficulties 6 and up it switches to other operations including subtraction, multiplication, and division. The rest of the game is unaffected. As this is TAS and I can do the math problems before they even show up, the only thing that would've changed in the run is it would've taken me an extra second to change the difficulty. As my primary goal was speed I chose difficulty 1. The "extra life" is not a cheat or anything, it's simply a menu option. You can start the game with 3 lives, 4 lives, or 5 lives. If I had chosen 3 lives, it wouldn't have been any harder to complete the game, I just would've had to stop shooting wrong answers at some point and the run would've been 2 or 3 seconds slower. If I had chosen 5 lives, the run would've been 4 or 5 frames longer due to hitting the button to increment an additional time. Therefore 4 lives is the best option. In the bonus stages, the only requirement is that I don't shoot asteroids until the end or else the run will be longer. I did mess around with the controls a little bit at the bonus stage of trash 3, but I appreciate the advice.
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The technical prowess is good, but it just isn't interesting enough to get out of Vault tier as-is, and since this is an Edutainment title, it's almost automatically excluded from the Vault. I would highly recommend that if you do want a movie of this game to be published on this site, try to go for entertainment first so it has a chance.
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I agree with ViGadeomes that the bonus stages are boring if you just stand there doing nothing. The SNES version may not be the best one for running this game. I have the DOS version myself, and it has less down time in which you just wait for things to happen. Meh vote.
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An attitude indicator in space? Doesn't make much sense to me...
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I know this 1 life added isn't a cheat but a TASuperplay, like this site want, is a run done in the hardest difficulty as possible (for your game : "normal", math difficulty "12" and 3 lifes), we won't care about any loss of frames due to this rule. Without it, each game is different so I don't know what will think the judge about it. For bonus stages, if you don't have to shoot asteroids and if you can just shoot, shoot at one pixel of a asteroid to let thinking the viewer you will touch it. When he will see you didn't touch it, maybe he will have some funs. My first example was for the trash part at 5:20 of your video.
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om, nom, nom... 'twas dry
Post subject: Re: #5759: qflame's SNES Math Blaster Episode 1: In Search of Spot in 07:53.15
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TASVideoAgent wrote:
The run is nicely optimized and beats all known records. However, the game played does not meet the Vault requirements, since it's an educational game.
What? This run was rejected because it contains educational elements? You mean that if it didn't have those arithmetic problems, it would have been accepted? I don't see anything in this run that disqualifies it from publication. It has an ending, and it's played from beginning to end. Heck, it even looks like an actual multi-genre game (a rather simplistic one for sure, but that has never been grounds for rejection). I would like to contest this judgment.
Post subject: Re: #5759: qflame's SNES Math Blaster Episode 1: In Search of Spot in 07:53.15
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Warp wrote:
What? This run was rejected because it contains educational elements? You mean that if it didn't have those arithmetic problems, it would have been accepted?
Not exactly. There are no problems with games containing educational contents; the problem here is that the educational part is actually the main requirement for playing the game. While this game still requires some reflexes and manouver abilities in order to be beaten, these are not the main factor that allows to play through, in either casual runs or speedrunning.
Warp wrote:
I don't see anything in this run that disqualifies it from publication. It has an ending, and it's played from beginning to end. Heck, it even looks like an actual multi-genre game (a rather simplistic one for sure, but that has never been grounds for rejection).
I'm well aware that this TAS showcases more than just math abilities, but sadly it's the game itself to have been judged as not applicable, according to the Vault tier requirements.
Warp wrote:
I would like to contest this judgment.
I still think my judgement was correctly following TASVideos' rules, but I'm ok with hearing different opinions and explaining my reasons. I hope it will suffice.
my personal page - my YouTube channel - my GitHub - my Discord: ThunderAxe31#1512 <Masterjun> if you look at the "NES" in a weird angle, it actually clearly says "GBA"
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Héhé! Honestly, I think bonus levels is a good reason to reject this... No move, no entertainment! ThunderAxe31's judgement is neat! For me this game is vaultable but should be more studying and should to move in those bonus levels. I can understand that you aren't satisfy by this decision, because vault don't need more entertainment than moons or stars.
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zoboner wrote:
Héhé! Honestly, I think bonus levels is a good reason to reject this... No move, no entertainment! ThunderAxe31's judgement is neat! For me this game is vaultable but should be more studying and should to move in those bonus levels. I can understand that you aren't satisfy by this decision, because vault don't need more entertainment than moons or stars.
The only chance for this game, would be to make a run enough entertaining for the Moons standards. For example a "maximum score" run would be a good idea, since that would also mean to do much more stuff during bonus stages.
my personal page - my YouTube channel - my GitHub - my Discord: ThunderAxe31#1512 <Masterjun> if you look at the "NES" in a weird angle, it actually clearly says "GBA"
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ThunderAxe31 wrote:
The only chance for this game, would be to make a run enough entertaining for the Moons standards. For example a "maximum score" run would be a good idea, since that would also mean to do much more stuff during bonus stages.
I agree, this game genre should be doing for entertaining more than to beat the game fast and I'm sure it's totally possible with a good motivation. Héhé in France it have an expression "demander la lune" = "to ask too much", maybe that I search too much entertainment, when I watch some videos! Merry Christmas, at you and all of people on TASvideos.
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Post subject: Re: #5759: qflame's SNES Math Blaster Episode 1: In Search of Spot in 07:53.15
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ThunderAxe31 wrote:
There are no problems with games containing educational contents; the problem here is that the educational part is actually the main requirement for playing the game. While this game still requires some reflexes and manouver abilities in order to be beaten, these are not the main factor that allows to play through, in either casual runs or speedrunning.
The specific rule disqualifying "educational games" is this: "For the purposes of this tier, a game which is a board game, educational game or game show game is not defined as a serious game." I see it slightly problematic that the rules do not define with any more detail what constitutes an "educational game", or how much of the game must be deemed "educational" for it to be disqualified. Suppose, hypothetically, that for example at the end of each Super Mario Bros level there were a small educational quiz (eg. as a multiple choice question). Would this make it an "educational game", and thus not qualified for Vault? I think most people would agree that it wouldn't. So the question becomes: What exactly is the proportion of "educational" and "non-educational" gameplay that disqualifies a game from Vault? To me, judging from the encode, this game looks more like a regular game than a purely educational one. Sure, the arithmetic problems are the main "puzzles" to overcome, but the game mechanics are mostly those of a "regular" game, and there is even somewhat traditional level progression, and an ending. What would be the harm in accepting this?
Post subject: Re: #5759: qflame's SNES Math Blaster Episode 1: In Search of Spot in 07:53.15
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Warp wrote:
The specific rule disqualifying "educational games" is this: "For the purposes of this tier, a game which is a board game, educational game or game show game is not defined as a serious game." I see it slightly problematic that the rules do not define with any more detail what constitutes an "educational game", or how much of the game must be deemed "educational" for it to be disqualified.
In my opinion, the rules are already well described, however misunderstandings could still happen. It's also for this reason that an unbiased, external judgement is required.
Warp wrote:
Suppose, hypothetically, that for example at the end of each Super Mario Bros level there were a small educational quiz (eg. as a multiple choice question). Would this make it an "educational game", and thus not qualified for Vault? I think most people would agree that it wouldn't. So the question becomes: What exactly is the proportion of "educational" and "non-educational" gameplay that disqualifies a game from Vault? To me, judging from the encode, this game looks more like a regular game than a purely educational one. Sure, the arithmetic problems are the main "puzzles" to overcome, but the game mechanics are mostly those of a "regular" game, and there is even somewhat traditional level progression, and an ending.
I've done the necessary analysis and considerations in order to arrive to my conclusion: in this game, the ability to solve math problems comes first than the abilities to play videogames. This may look like a borderline case, which can lead to polarizing opinions, but if you try to play the game, you'll see yourself how much predominant is the requirement to do math calculations, even with the lowest difficulty set. The calculations require concentration, especially if you're not used to do math (it may differ a lot from person to person), while the skills required to shoot the moving objects or fly around are very basic (assuming you're a common casual player). In this game, the player is simply required to give the math answers in some very fancy ways; that's why I consider it more like a math lesson than an actual game. Of course, some people may like it, but it specifically depends from how much the person in question likes to do math, and not how much he likes action games.
Warp wrote:
What would be the harm in accepting this?
The Vault tier purpose is to keep videogame records and thus, in order to be applied for this tier, the title needs to be considerable as an actual videogame in all aspects.
my personal page - my YouTube channel - my GitHub - my Discord: ThunderAxe31#1512 <Masterjun> if you look at the "NES" in a weird angle, it actually clearly says "GBA"
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I think this rule should be changed to allow this run to be published. I can't think of a good reason why 'do basic math' should not be publishable. We already have 'click a predetermined spot on the screen' [2792] NES The Great Waldo Search by MESHUGGAH in 00:51.83 and this is a better game then that.
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I am minimally convinced by any argument that supports publishing this because it is not the actual worst game that could ever be published. That's damning with the faintest of praise, and only reaffirms to me why we need rules against publishing movies of that sort.
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Actually I think Math Blaster is a good and fun game (I remember playing it when I was little.) I was more referring to the rule itself, in that I don't think it makes sense. If I had created an otherwise identical game called 'Waldo Blaster' where instead of doing addition you just have to identify and shoot Waldo (and do equivalent things in the other stages) and I had published that in the 1980s instead of Math Blaster, that game would publishable here, since it's a game with clear gameplay and a goal. My point is I don't think the fact you have to do math instead should be what stops it from being published.
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Alyosha wrote:
I think this rule should be changed to allow this run to be published. I can't think of a good reason why 'do basic math' should not be publishable. We already have 'click a predetermined spot on the screen' [2792] NES The Great Waldo Search by MESHUGGAH in 00:51.83 and this is a better game then that.
Truly, this brings up the question on why edutainment games aren't considered 'actual' video games to begin with. Let me start by saying that I don't have a particular preference either way on what the site ultimately chooses regarding edutainment titles. But for the sake of debate...here are some thoughts. I'd like to believe that creators of edutainment titles were indeed attempting to create a fun video game that also provided educational value. It's true (and unfortunate) that many edutainment titles don't tend to be fun or entertaining, but that doesn't necessarily mean they were intended to be any less 'actual' video games by their creators. If anything they were trying to be more that 'just' video games. So why is our default perspective that edutainment titles are not 'actual' video games unless enough of us deem them worthy of moon/star tier? If the whole point of the vault tier is records regardless of entertainment value, why aren't edutainment titles worthy to be accepted? If the current submission was simply about matching colors instead of solving math (thereby eliminating the educational value) would the run suddenly be acceptable for vault as it would no longer be an edutainment title? If the educational information was removed from "Mario's Time Machine" it would simply be another platformer, and a fairly poor one at that. But there are a lot of other poor games which have already been accepted to the vault. And to build on Alyosha's question of why 'do basic math' is an unpublishable goal? Verbally describing what we often do with platformer games could be stated as 'push a button when the character reaches point x on the screen.' While it maybe much more complex to optimize the latter, why is it inherently a more acceptable goal? EDIT: My apologies to both Alyosha and Mothrayas for repetition. I was typing this as you both submitted your recent responses.
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Alyosha wrote:
If I had created an otherwise identical game called 'Waldo Blaster' where instead of doing addition you just have to identify and shoot Waldo (and do equivalent things in the other stages) and I had published that in the 1980s instead of Math Blaster, that game would publishable here, since it's a game with clear gameplay and a goal.
But then the goal wouldnt be to solve math equations, it would be to find waldo. what you're saying is like in cuphead where you can only parry certian objects that are pink, you dont have to solve a math quiz to know which objects you can parry, but if you did it would require you to do extra thinking. with the objects being pink, all you have to is identify pink objects, not answers to math problems.
[14:15] <feos> WinDOES what DOSn't 12:33:44 PM <Mothrayas> "I got an oof with my game!" Mothrayas Today at 12:22: <Colin> thank you for supporting noble causes such as my feet MemoryTAS Today at 11:55 AM: you wouldn't know beauty if it slapped you in the face with a giant fish [Today at 4:51 PM] Mothrayas: although if you like your own tweets that's the online equivalent of sniffing your own farts and probably tells a lot about you as a person MemoryTAS Today at 7:01 PM: But I exert big staff energy honestly lol Samsara Today at 1:20 PM: wouldn't ACE in a real life TAS just stand for Actually Cease Existing
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EZGames69 wrote:
...but if you did it would require you to do extra thinking.
What's wrong with extra thinking? Is that what makes a video game an 'actual' video game, mindless reaction to onscreen events?
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The problem isn't that it's extra thinking, the problem is that it requires you to exercise in school subjects (arithmetics in this case) as a primary gameplay element, and the game is clearly and explicitly designed for that purpose. That is what defines an educational game.
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Mothrayas wrote:
The problem isn't that it's extra thinking, the problem is that it requires you to exercise in school subjects (arithmetics in this case) as a primary gameplay element, and the game is clearly and explicitly designed for that purpose. That is what defines an educational game.
I understand that and agree that it's the explicit purpose of this edutainment title. But why does that inherently make it not an actual video game? What law says 'actual' video games have to be for entertainment purposes only? Essentially the root question is 'Why is education not considered a valid video game goal?' Restating what i said earlier--I don't care one way or the other what the site decides, I'm just trying to better understand the logic of the community on this subject.
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DrD2k9 wrote:
Mothrayas wrote:
The problem isn't that it's extra thinking, the problem is that it requires you to exercise in school subjects (arithmetics in this case) as a primary gameplay element, and the game is clearly and explicitly designed for that purpose. That is what defines an educational game.
Essentially the root question is 'Why is education not considered a valid video game goal?'
Let's backup to something more basic. If a calculator program exists for a platform (and yes there are such things), would it be valid to TAS? Does it have a video game goal? I think it's fairly clear that a calculator is not worthy of having a TAS. But that brings us to the next stage, what if you dress up the calculator, and make it that instead of just pressing a button to put in a number, you have to move some cute looking character to it and somehow select it, does this make it more of a game and not a calculator? Some of the Sesame Street and Elmo games consist of just pressing left and right to cycle some cute looking character through numbers and letters, then you press A/B to select, and if you got the math right, you proceed. This is just dressing up a calculator or dictionary, and it's not a game. There is nothing entertaining, and we want to reject this stuff. Calculators and other educational tools can be dressed up in increasingly clever and complex ways. What it boils down to though is the focus of the application in question a game or a tool? If we can define it as a game and the educational aspect is secondary, then we can accept it as a TAS. If the education is primary, and the game aspect is secondary, we do not accept it.
Warning: Opinions expressed by Nach or others in this post do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or position of Nach himself on the matter(s) being discussed therein.
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Nach wrote:
Let's backup to something more basic. If a calculator program exists for a platform (and yes there are such things), would it be valid to TAS? Does it have a video game goal? I think it's fairly clear that a calculator is not worthy of having a TAS. But that brings us to the next stage, what if you dress up the calculator, and make it that instead of just pressing a button to put in a number, you have to move some cute looking character to it and somehow select it, does this make it more of a game and not a calculator? Some of the Sesame Street and Elmo games consist of just pressing left and right to cycle some cute looking character through numbers and letters, then you press A/B to select, and if you got the math right, you proceed. This is just dressing up a calculator or dictionary, and it's not a game. There is nothing entertaining, and we want to reject this stuff. Calculators and other educational tools can be dressed up in increasingly clever and complex ways. What it boils down to though is the focus of the application in question a game or a tool? If we can define it as a game and the educational aspect is secondary, then we can accept it as a TAS. If the education is primary, and the game aspect is secondary, we do not accept it.
Ok. So is Mario's Time Machine a dressed up education tool? Or does it have enough platforming optimization potential that it can be considered a worthy game? (people keep trying for this game) Where (and how) do we draw the line? In my opinion, the key difference between a tool and a game (educational or not) is that games have a purpose for progressing through the game; tools don't. Using the calculator example (dressed up or not): Does the calculator application have an reason to progress through to an end-goal? If no and it's just a tool for solving math problems, it's not a game. If the goal is explicitly 'solve X number of problems to get to the end game credits', then YES it has an end-goal and is therefore a game regardless of how boring or trivial it may be. Thank you for your perspective, BTW. It still doesn't answer why we don't consider education a valid video game goal. Why is 'learn something' a less valid goal than 'save the princess', 'kill everyone else', or 'click on Waldo's picture' as a game goal?
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