Merits of custom ROMs vs. original software

Man I need to vent -

what the heck is going on lately with tournaments and custom roms?

Like this is one of the most ridiculous ones yet.


I agree with Cayle. I’m not even sure this is an exploit. If you can shoot a hard shot over and over, that’s skillful, not something that needs to be nerfed. Make physical adjustments if necessary.

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“hard shot” is subjective. Playing a game differently and winning is still skillful.

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Changing software is not subjective


Not sure why the complaints. Soren is doing some awesome work on these new codes. Making games that were pretty well unplayable in a competitive atmosphere and fixing them for our community. If there is a certain roms he has done that you don’t like then as a TD you have the option not use it.


I have tons of respect for Soren. Making Radical a great multiplayer game is amazing as well as tons of other things he’s done. I just don’t think that every game needs its rules tweaked. If a game has been fine for competition forever, I don’t want to have to reevaluate every shot on it. We’re getting off topic here and this is worthy of it’s own topic, so I will start a new one soon.


I’ve been grumpy for years over the configuration of games in tournaments and even in the wild. Especially direct-to-tilt tilt mechs, which spawn some analysis work and the ear-plug trick. I get that.

I believe rule tweaks and scoring adjustments are configuration in line with slings, pitch, speed, narrowing shots, cutting wires and disabling features. Software mods are a contribution to the TDs toolset along mechanical mods and menu adjustments already there. The important thing is to maintain some sense in configuration (luck/skill balance) and a fair amount of information about special configuration.

I recognise repeat shot play being skillful play. But the fact is, if games play for too long, they are not used in competition.

And frankly, I prefer seeing a repeat shot made less valuable, than seeing it made harder to shoot. For the simple reason, that the shot may be used for other goals in the game. On Mousin Around the center is kickback and million too. On Scared Stiff, the ramps are bloody jackpots. With Spider and wizard progression.

That being said, I have never experienced easy repeat ramps on SS. Or observed this played as a dominent strategy in tournaments. Greg was interested. Happy to help out.


At the risk of talking an offtopic split of a thread offtopic, I would be excited to see a competition of who can repeat one shot over and over the best. Earthshaker, mousing around, GOT, Ghostbusters, etc. Start with ball on flipper, hit the one shot until you miss number of hits is your score. How maybe coils can Cayle melt? High stakes. I would watch. Maybe figure eights would work too.

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With respect, just about any semi-modern to modern game can be played long. For example, I can make Star Trek or ACDC take forever by just backhanding the left orbit safely, catch, rinse and repeat.

Having the focus to make a shot over and over to me is a skill, and those that can do it should be rewarded, not have their efforts nerfed into the ground, forcing them to play the game a different way if they want to win.

I also don’t really subscribe to this notion that long-playing games are bad for competition. Skillful players are going to play the games well, and that sometimes means longer ball times. I don’t want to see games screwed so tight to make every game last 2 minutes or less, for example. That feels more like a slot machine and less like a skillful competition.


I’m all for updated Roms that kill progressive jackpots that don’t reset at least every game.

Outside of that, not sure any other modifications to code are necessary.


This is judged by the number of Stern transistors you can blow . . . preferably after midnight :-\

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I think there’s a line between making an UNPLAYABLE game . . . PLAYABLE.

My preference is always to make a game playable through hardware adjustments, but there is certainly a space for custom ROMs to make games that are “blackballed” back into the rotation of possibly being okay for competition.

I think where things start to go sideways a bit is taking games that are already PLAYABLE and trying to balance some of those features to make the game “better” . . . “Better” being subjective to the opinion of either one person or a small group of people.

I can think of almost every game that can have a tweak done to software to make the game more balanced. Medieval Madness castle scoring divided by 10. Monster Bash spinner divided by 10. GREED targets in Addams Family scoring 10mil per completion, TZ Powerball Jackpot divided by 10, etc.

I can see the side that argues these games are absolutely PLAYABLE as-is on stock software, and if a game has developed “the thing” that has made it perfectly acceptable as a competitive device for 20+ years, is there really a need to play in that sandbox to make subjective changes.


How about lucrative random awards (e.g., sudden death on Roller Games) ?

Add that to the list. Derandomize settings exist already for the most part though.

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Is there a record for the most split offs from the original post?

Should I split off this part of the thread and create a new Meta thread about split threads?


Don’t go more than 4 levels deep. Could get stuck in limbo.

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Can I get a custom ROM to get rid of the CB penalty in WOZ? TIA

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This is why I’d like to see all custom roms include the option to use the original options (other than stuff like progressive jackpots, which clearly is unfair - I suppose the argument is that “you built the jackpot to 4,000,000 and didn’t collect it, so that’s your fault for not making the shot”. The other side of that coin of course is “you got a freebie jackpot value of 4,000,000 and you made the shot, so you deserve it”)

I guess all of the playfield leveling in software comes down to if you are the type of player that likes to find some kind of exploit that not everyone else knows or can use and that’s your strategy. If that was a huge part of putting in the time to find and use and it’s suddenly gone, I can see why it’s not desired.

Is there a website/link list to every game Soron has modded? Id like to see Police Force get the treatment so that the center ramp unlimited millions rule gets changed.