35-Year-Old Videogame Record Thrown Out by People with Way Too Much Time on Their Hands

Todd Rogers has been stripped of his world record for the Atari 2600 racing game Dragster.

I’ve never been much into the gaming scene but found this interesting:

Polygon (“Longest-standing video game record declared ‘impossible,’ thrown out after 35 years“):

Twin Galaxies, the video game record keeper and official source for Guinness World Records, has declared one of the oldest gaming world records invalid after 35 years. 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.

“Based on the complete body of evidence presented in this official dispute thread, Twin Galaxies administrative staff has unanimously decided to remove all of Todd Rogers’ scores as well as ban him from participating in our competitive leaderboards,” reads a post on the Twin Galaxies forum from the organization’s staff.

That’s a major blow to a prolific record holder, whose career stretches back to the earliest days of console gaming. Rogers courted controversy with his oldest record, however — and it directly caused his ban. In 1982, Rogers submitted to Activision’s official fan newsletter a time of 5.51 seconds, which the company recognized in print, awarding Rogers a patch. Twin Galaxies later added Rogers to its own leaderboards in 2001, and Guinness World Records awarded the player with the honor of holding the world’s longest-standing gaming record in April 2017.

The process would make the Mueller investigation look superficial:

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. Its most notable skeptic, who goes by the handle Omnigamer, wrote that they failed to reproduce Rogers’ time in a tool-assisted run, leading them to analyze the game’s code and conclude that no one could complete the racing game that fast without some serious cheating.

 ”It seems like there are multiple witnesses and otherwise for this particular record, but based on the code of the game I do not see how it’s possible to hit 5.54, let alone 5.51,” Omnigamer wrote in a Reddit thread that served as a major basis for Twin Galaxies’ investigation into the record. They also produced a video investigation into Rogers’ time, including interviews with Rogers from over the years and technical breakdowns of how Dragster worked.

The coda is rather amusing as well:

The new top time in Dragster, as recognized by Twin Galaxies, is 5.57, set by several players — including Omnigamer.

I suppose congratulations are in order.

FILED UNDER: Entertainment, Popular Culture
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. To quote an old SNL skit that featured William Shatner: Get. A. Life.

  2. Stormy Dragon says:

    Would you and Doug like them to get off of your lawns?

  3. Stormy Dragon says:


    Awesome Games Done Quick sets a record again, for charity

    Donations are still coming in, but Awesome Games Done Quick 2018 is over and it has again set a record for contributions. This year’s weeklong speedrunning marathon has raised $2,263,508.19, topping last year’s total by about $40,000.

    The money goes to the Prevent Cancer Foundation. This is the second time Awesome Games Done Quick has raised $2 million. Each year, except for 2016, has raised more money than the preceding one, in a series going back to 2011.

    In all, more than 32,000 people donated, and more than 130 of them gave more than $1,000. More donation states are at AGDQ’s event tracker page.

    AGDQ comprised more than 150 runs, wrapping up with a nearly five-hour plunge through The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild (all main quests, no amiibo assists) by atz. Saturday also saw a three-way race through The Legend of Zelda (100 percent completion) by JSR2gamers, BT and RandomEffekt, and a two hour run at Bloodborne beating all bosses. A full list of events and times are here.

    How much money did you and Doug raise for charity this month? I mean, it must be an awful lot to justify all that ‘tude.

  4. James Joyner says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I have no issue with people playing video games, much less raising money for charity. I just find it amusing that people spent this much time deconstructing whether a guy who is apparently a video game legend separate from this particular record finished a game 5/100th of a second faster than the next guy back in 1982.

  5. Stormy Dragon says:

    @James Joyner:

    In slightly more than a week, thousands of people from across the planet will be gathering in Korea, spending billions of dollars to found out if someone can, after a lifetime of preparation, fall down a mountain slightly faster than anyone else has before.

    Is this really any different?

  6. michael reynolds says:

    @James Joyner: @Stormy Dragon:
    I believe @Stormy’s got you there.

  7. Andy says:

    I’m a gamer and this is definitely a big subculture in the community. There are “speedrun” records for just about every video game and it’s highly competitive. Many of the people who do this are full-time professional gamers, either sponsored or funded via Patreon, Twitch or other crowdsourced methods.

    Keep in mind that the video game industry revenue is double that of film and music…combined. And it’s still growing faster.

  8. Matt says:

    Ah they finally got that dude. It was a big sore spot int he speed running community.

  9. James Joyner says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Fair enough. But there is usually a reasonably short statute of limitations on catching cheaters. (And it’s not obvious this guy cheated so much as benefitted from a glitch.)

    @Andy: @Matt: Yeah, clearly this one has been bugging people for a while now.