After 35 years on the books, the longest-standing video game record is no more. After months of debate, forum posts, and evidence provided by multiple sources, the fastest completion time for Atari 2600 racing game, Dragster, has been thrown out.
According to a report from Polygon, Twin Galaxies has decided to not only axe a world record that has lasted more than three decades but also completely disown the man who posted it in the first place. All of his other records have been stripped, and he's been banned from the site.
But this was not a decision made lightly. Instead, it's the result of a long-running debate over whether or not a record was legitimate, bolstered by modern technology that seems to point to the fact that it was not.
The man in question is Todd Rogers and, for those of you who don't follow speedruns, game records or maybe didn't watch The King of Kong, Twin Galaxies is the go-to source for all things tied to games achievements. Even Guinness relies on Twin Galaxies to govern games records and, last year, they awarded Rogers for owning the longest-standing record on the books.
But here's the problem: Rogers' record occurred in 1982, a time when developers like Activision would take players at their word when they would report a new game benchmark. Apparently, Rogers submitted his fastest time of 5.51 seconds in the game Dragster, it was acknowledged by Activision and, to this day, they support his claim.
But try as they might, challengers to the crown could never match Rogers' best time. Quite a few folks were able to hit 5.57, leading to the record being called into question. The initial report notes that this led to a Twin Galaxies forum spanning 300 pages and more than 3,000 posts, which probably even puts the recent Battlefront II fan outcry to shame.
What's important here is that folks disputing the claim brought the proof to back it up. Using tech-assisted setups to show that even a machine couldn't match the previous record, folks started diving into the game's code. You have to remember that this was an Atari game, so diving through those lines wasn't all that complicated. In the end, the group protesting the record proved to Twin Galaxies that there is literally no way a time of 5.51 seconds could be achieved. Apparently, it would be impossible to hit 5.54, making Rogers' claim of 5.51 feel a bit farfetched.
Rogers has stood by his claim, though, which might have something to do with Twin Galaxies' strong reaction. If he's been proven wrong on one count, it's hard to give credit to his others. In the end, the guy has been ousted from Twin Galaxies, his records have been dissolved and a 35-year run has finally come to an end.