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Prolonged Rocket Boosting, Should it be Legalised?

The Final Conclusion

The first thing to say is that I generally support prolonged rocket boosting, and that I think it should be allowed, or at least in many places in the game.  The second thing is that I have some probably important information to give those who don't know about PRB.  Below are some facts about PRB before I begin the actual argument:

PRB Facts and Information
Prolonged rocket boosting is a trick that allows you to cut across off-road surfaces without slowing down.

You do this by constantly mini-turboing after either a boost start, or a zipper in the track.

The best karts for this are the Egg1 and Dry Bomber.

This technique has fans and opponents and is used on Japanese record sites.

Okay, so there are the facts and information you need to know about this technique, so what are the two sides of the coin?  Well there are those who support the trick and want it legalised on all time Trials and world records and those who think it's a glitch and want it banned.  Of course there is a third viewpoint I must consider afterwards.

The Supporters of PRB

The supporters of Prolonged rocket boosting say that it is a natural technique, and that it can be just as valid as 'snaking'.  I quite agree and see the sense in their logic at this level, as the trick is virtually just repeated mini-turbos to maintain speed, much like you would do if you were playing naturally.  So on this point, I would consider the first argument on the PRB supporters side, as there isn't much to disagree with.

However, their second argument may actually have a good counter argument, and I shall explain what I mean.  Many Prolonged rocket boosting supporters say that if PRB is banned, why isn't the shortcut on Sky Garden banned, or the trick in Bowser Castle where you jump into the lava to reach the finish line earlier, as they are both glitches.  I have some disagreements with one of these points, and agree with another.

First, sorry to break some bad news to those who always use the Sky Garden shortcut, but it is official a classified glitch and shortcut by my knowledge of these things.  Now, before you start saying 'm no expert, here's the logic:

A shortcut is an unintentional and exploitable glitch in a Mario Kart game.  Now, the non-PRB supporters say that this is no shortcut, and the PRB supporters say it is.  However, my viewpoint is that it is one, by the following logic.  The shortcut is proven to skip exactly one checkpoint in a level.  This is the same distance some other shortcuts like some of the Rainbow Road shortcuts skip.  Quite obviously, it's a glitch, as Nintendo didn't program the Staff Ghost to use this, guides to say it (official sources don't mention this) and their is no obvious ramp or a nearby sign suggesting it was intended.  Therefore it is a glitch we are using just as the PRB fans say.

On the other hand, their logic that if that site didn't ban it then PRB should be allowed is also broken.  This is because, people have been using this trick since very shortly after the game was released.  It is in guides and FAQs online, mentioned in forums.  Banning it was not a feasible option as it would alienate many possible players who had used it and been told their time is invalid.

Back to PRB though, there are other often used arguments.  Two of them I also support.  One is that it is natural to use the technique until you would stop it knowing it didn't exist, i.e. for laps or 3 lap times.  This logic could be considered true, as I personally, before it was even discovered, used to cut corners and try different strategies to test out times.

The opponents

There is also a flip side of the coin, and this counts for the opponents of the technique, the PRB opponents who do not want this technique allowed, no matter what.  After analysis of their views and some thinking, what I have found is that there are three or four main points thrown into every PRB banning argument.  They are:

1- It isn't natural to Prolong the rocket boost so you can cut corners!  True, to an extent.  But it is true that it's natural to keep the boost going as long as possible, right?  That forms the entire concept of using SSMTs, 'snaking' as it is called.  You couldn't imagine someone being told to not mini-turbo just because to someone else it is unnatural!  And obviously, me knowing this by now, it is perfectly usual to try and cut corners in racing games. This is based on common sense logic that the fastest route between points is a straight line, and that cutting corners tighter is faster than going wide.  Diagram please:

As you can see, the top diagram shows a normal line around the bend.  Most common sense would indicate this to be slower than cutting the corner.

However, below, saying PRB or extensive mini-turbos are used, the line cuts across the corner.  This should be faster.

Now, the proof to this:

The two lines have been put side by side.  The corner cutting line is slightly shorter than the non-corner cutting line making it seem the most natural route.

Take this to a Mario Kart course.  Cutting the first three bends and the end of Mario Circuit 1 is perfectly natural, and is just the same logic.  It is only elitism stopping some people from accepting it.

2- PRB is a glitch!  You should be allowed to use it!

This is also quite wrong.  While it sounds like a glitch and first, and may be to some people, to most it's just a technique.  Were mini-turbos designed for use on straight ways in a snake like alternating pattern?  Don't know and possibly not.  But it's fair because it is just using skill to improve your times, and it seems natural to improve your times by using more power-slides to get more boosts.  Limiting that is just limiting your potential time.  I think it is the same with PRB.  I also think it may not be a glitch as such.  And I have some evidence to back this up:

A glitch is something unintended.  This is a neat definition until something minor occurs to causes such a hassle.  Lets have a look at some definite glitches, from other games that I have found or used:

Dark Room of Death

You slide through a corner wall in the last room before Bowser and appear in an invisible room.  You can't escape and must quit or turn off the power.  A photo of this:

That is a real glitch.

Now, PRB on the other hand doesn't do something like go through a wall, or allow you to fly.  In fact, it's only a minor glitch, if not just a trick.  Besides, the way they made 'snaking' easier is actually the cause of PRB, and no one seriously knows whether the removal of having to space mini-turbos was intended.

Extra Notes on spacing of mini-turbos:

If this is a glitch, then you could technically say SSMTs constantly for snaking is.  Therefore that argument should, to avoid major changes, be considered void.

3- It isn't natural to exploit zippers in such a way!

This could be considered true if you play like the people who say this.  But for some people, it is natural.  Like if you can't mini-turbo there, then you will skim the zipper (various places) and if you find it is faster to mini-turbo constantly after the zipper, you will probably do just that.  It's human nature to try to be better than others, it's also natural to complain or blame an easy target if you get beaten.

4- Nintendo didn't say it was intended!  You lot are so cheap!  You go against how the game was meant to be played!  This is such a beginner argument.  Sure, they might not say it's intended, but that depends on who asks them in the first place. If a Prolonged rocket boosting fan said they used it and explained it, then they may be told it was meant to be used, but if an opponent said it was unfair, Nintendo may say it is!  This is because the company does want to make money, which it does by selling to customers, and therefore needs the fans to keep buying the games.  So it generally changes what may be true to please the fans or larger market who buy the game.  An example is this; since the majority of players who now mention 'snaking' think it's intended or fair, Nintendo now supports it.  I can almost bet that if many, many people wanted PRB, Nintendo would send out some article saying it's fair.  For proof intended means nothing, look at these true examples:

Example Does Nintendo say it's intentional?
Frappe Snowland lap skip in Mario Kart 64 Yes
Wario Stadium shortcuts Yes
'Snaking' Yes
Sky Garden uber shortcut Yes
Safari Zone and Missingno tricks in Pokemon games Yes

All the above are true.  For the Frappe Snowland and other Mario Kart 64 shortcuts, they were included in Nintendo Official Magazine and Nintendo Power, and the official strategy guide had all the shortcuts in.  For 'snaking' look at these three links:

NOA Andy snaking article

Official Snaking topic

Common Questions and Answers

For the uber shortcut, again, the snaking video uses it. And for the Pokemon glitches, I read them in the Nintendo Official Magazine UK strategy guide for that game.  They may not have once been intended, for Nintendo sure is eager to jump on the intended bandwagon quickly.

5- Holding a mini-turbo over a zipper to cut across off-road surfaces later on isn't natural!  Again, this depends on your actual strategy.  For as I was saying before, your strategy is natural to you, if you are the player who invented it and therefore holding your mini-turbo to cut over grass/sand later on would be fair.  It is also pretty fair for me when I have tested this in Luigi Circuit GCN.  I held the mini-turbo and released it when I landed, and then cut across the grass and it felt not really that much different from just repeatedly mini-turboing.

The Time Trial Site mods and half allowed rules team

Now, with what I call half implemented measures, there is another team.  Those who support the half allowing of PRB where Mario Kart staff say it's natural.  You can read the rules page here:

Now, to cut a long story short, they want it only allowed in certain places, like the Choco Island intentional shortcut.  Now this may sound understandable, but I know a loophole in some of their ideas.  On the joining page and FAQ, they say it's a glitch, but some staff and supporters say it was intended there!  Wait, so it's a glitch, AND intended in some places.  Wrong.  Impossible.  That is impossible.  Either someone hasn't got a dictionary, or someone is lying and get tangled in a mess of arguments.

The other thing, is this.  When exactly is it natural to stop PRB?  You can't just do this:

This is because it's not natural either.  You can't just draw a line onto a map and say:

'Start spacing all mini-turbos past this line!'

That is unnatural.  I'm also going to say this:

You say a patch of sand or grass makes it clear boundary, but isn't that the corner you're supposed to cut in the first place?  You can't just make them slow down and lose like 2 seconds by going;


It's easier to cheat if PRB is allowed!

Not true one bit.  It is actually easier to cheat something if it isn't allowed than if it is.  Odd?  No.  It's happened many times in history and also undermines laws.  If people are not supposed to do it, they probably will and that gets them to do it rather than deters them.  In fact, it's more of a thrill breaking a rule and getting away with it.  A good example is prohibition:

When beer was allowed in the early USA, not many people broke the law to get it.  But when it was banned, everyone wanted it more and started trying to get it or make it themselves which worsened the situation.  Look, allowing people this technique could stop a flood of fake screenshots and edited videos, and people using it just past where they aren't meant to seeing if they get away with it.

There is also another answer to this, at that is to use a separate ranking for PRB and non-PRB times.  They say that by using an extended glitch ranking linked to the main page, that the problem will be solved.  Wrong.  This is because of a few things, which include the fact that the glitch ranking is for glitches.  There is no evidence anywhere that PRB is actually a glitch, and in fact, the only small bit of a slightly official evidence from the snaking thread on the Nsider forums, doesn't say anything about it being a glitch.  This has led me to believe it is an intended trick and strategy, otherwise it wouldn't be mentioned in that topic, or would have another topic made about it stating all about Prolonged Rocket Boosting.

Also, with Prolonged Rocket boosting allowed, there is an overlap between courses with Prolonged Rocket boosting being used and shortcuts, namely Sky Garden.  Now this is a tough argument to counter, as I presume the PRB times will be simply mixed in with the shortcut times.  But both are different, and require different styles of playing.  You can't, or it is fair tricky to, use a Lakitu shortcut and Prolonged Rocket boosting for example.

The other problem is usage.  If Prolonged Rocket boosting was glitch ranking only, there would be two possible major problems, which would be:

A- No one submits PRB times, or because they practice PRB, no times whatsoever (very extreme but possible)

B- Everyone submits PRB times, and the community is split in half

C- Everyone submits PRB times, and no one submits normal times which kills off the normal rankings and cause the Prolonged Rocket Boosting rankings to become the normal rankings.  I shall explain all three possibilities in greater depth in the next few paragraphs.

The first possibility is likely, as with how the Players Page is connected to the glitch rankings.  Currently, you have to go all the way into the forum, and search through about a dozen posts to find the page.  It's also tougher to find the glitch yahoogroup than the main group to submit normal times.  The possibility mentioned is in effect, and many players have actually admitted to not submitting times because of the current rules or going away to the Japanese site which allows the tactic.  This could easily cause the death of people submitting times for the game, like what happened with Mario Kart Super Circuit.  This in turn would actually mean those against it would have lost as the site doesn't contain any of the best records any more.

The second possibility is a split community.  This would occur with half the people playing by the current rules, and half using Prolonged Rocket Boosting.  This practically happened with the 'snaking' issue earlier on, and could happen again.  It could mean two sets of people, using two sets of strategies and maybe even using two different websites.  This is unwanted enough already, as it splits the community and ruins the players page.

Finally, there is the idea that PRB times may replace the normal times. This would happen if everyone suddenly accepted PRB AFTER the rules have been set, and would cause inactivity with the old charts and the new ones being seen as the real best times.  Then, technically, the winners of this argument (If the PRB haters won) would become the losers.

It's down to this

Okay, now I've identified the groups of people, the conclusion will say why I think it should be allowed.  The first thing I will say is this bit is personal opinion and there is no right or wrong answer.  The second thing I will say are the two possible and better suggestions for fair rules.  Okay, lets begin this:

Prb is a fair tactic in my opinion because I don't actually think it's a glitch.  Sorry if anyone disagrees, but I know enough about glitches in other games like Mario 64 DS and the like to comment on this, and while some may consider it an exploit, I don't consider it a glitch.

I think that allowing it is in public interest as it would stop rule breakers more than banning it would.

In all though, I think it's legal.  But I've actually came up with three big suggestions for clear and fair rules relating to this matter.  I agree with one but partially agree with logic in all of them.

1- It should be allowed to stop cheating, and you allow people to race in a natural racing line.

2- It should be totally banned and that the site should clamp down on the legal shortcuts as well.  Back to basics.

3- The legal shortcuts should be in, but PRB extended to cover the whole lap or 3 laps of courses where it is a natural and valid racing line.

The obvious poll:



To finish off the matter, some useful facts:

PRB is only faster on road

It can be started after a zipper (boost pad)

PRB- Prolonged Rocket boosting SSMTs- Doing mini-turbos on a straightway.