Video games were meant to be played in all sorts of ways. Some players take their time, exploring every edge and corner of the landscape possible, even doubling back to find hidden items and clues. Others try to defeat levels and games as quickly as humanly possible. They are called speed-runners, and the key phrase here is “humanly possible.”
On Monday, Todd Rogers, one of the legendary speed-runners in video game history, was stripped of all his time records by Twin Galaxies, a group responsible for monitoring video game records. He also received a lifetime ban because of accusations of cheating and fabricating records.
The main record on the chopping block was his speed run in the Atari game Dragster. His record had stood since 1982, making it the Guinness World Record-holder for longest-standing video game record in the world. Not only did Twin Galaxies strip Rogers of that record, but it also notified the folks at Guinness World Records, advising them to do the same.
Rogers had registered a time of 5.51 seconds in Dragster, a game that requires players to shift gears on their racer at just the right time. As the years went by and other players continued to be dubious of Rogers’ play, evidence mounted. Eventually, engineer Eric Koziel designed a computer program to see what was the literal fastest time anyone could achieve on Dragster, even beyond “humanly possible.” The search was for the greatest score the game would allow, and the answer was 5.57 seconds. If you believe Koziel’s findings – which Rogers does not – a time of 5.51 seconds was literally impossible.
Rogers had other suspicious speed-run and scoring records to boot. Many players accused him of cheating over the years. It seems like the powers that be finally agree.