Game over: Todd Rogers, longtime holder of countless videogame speed-run records, is being removed from the record tables after "the body of evidence" weighed strongly against the credibility of his claimed times.
Player Todd Rogers has been stripped of his world record for finishing the simple Atari 2600 racing game Dragster, after months of debate over his completion time. ...Yet Rogers never provided recorded or other proof of his 5.51 time in Dragster, a sticking point in the years that followed. His personal website offered a simple explanation of how he achieved his unbeatable time, while maintaining that Activision’s certification of his time — highlighted in one of the company’s newsletters — was enough to cement his place on the gaming leaderboards.
Yet when Twin Galaxies introduced a new process for disputing scores in July 2017, Rogers’ time in Dragster was one of the first to be challenged. In August 2017, several community members submitted Rogers’ 5.51-second Dragster finish for review. A thread on the Twin Galaxies’ forum about how Rodgers’ Dragster time was technically impossible ran for nearly 300 pages and included almost 3,000 posts
The Dragster record imbroglio not only puts all of Rogers' times out of play, but implied that folks at Activision and Twin Galaxies responsible for verifying times were negligent or complicit. Rogers was also banned from the Twin Galaxies site.
Previously: Video game record-setter accused of cheating
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Todd Rogers is one of the few people genuinely famous for their mastery of video games, holding numerous high-score records and scoring merchandising deals. But it turns out that at least some of his achievements are technically impossible, now that it's easy to decompile old games and look at the code. So how did he do it? [via]
The video above breaks down the case against him; cited is this thread at the Atari Age forums.
[Regarding the Atari game] Barnstorming (2600): Todd's record, which stood for many years, was proven to be impossible once we broke down the game code and stripped the stage of any obstacles. With the stage completely blank, flying a straight line to the finish was slower than Todd's record. When we presented this evidence, we were attacked by fans and supporters of Todd, and eventually an excuse was cooked up that I lovingly refer to as "the coffee stain excuse". Yes, after being attacked and told we were clueless about how good Todd was, one of the referees covered for him and claimed the 'document' detailing his record had a coffee stain on the part where the record time was listed. Instead of throwing the record out and forcing Todd to do a legit one on video tape, they just simply adjusted the record to be MAYBE possible by adding a half-second to the time.
More from Heather Alexandra, writing last year, when Rogers' Dragster time was first publicly challenged in a major outlet. Read the rest