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Video Game Record Taken Down After 35 Years: 'Dragster' Score Declared 'Impossible'

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A video game record that stood for 35 years has been taken down, not because somebody finally beat it but because it was declared impossible to achieve without cheating.

The achievement was even recognized by Guinness World Records in April last year as the world's longest-standing gaming record, but it is now officially off the books.

Todd Rogers Sets 'Dragster' Record In 1982

Prolific video game record holder Todd Rogers set a record of 5.51 seconds on Dragster, a simple racing game for the Atari 2600, back in 1982. The game requires players to shift gears at the perfect time to provide the best boost to their car's speed.

The only proof that Rogers had of his feat was a Polaroid picture showing his time of 5.51 seconds. Rogers sent the image to publisher Activision, which recognized the score and awarded him with a patch. Video game record keeper Twin Galaxies added the achievement to its books in 2001, and 16 years later, Guinness World Records honored Rogers for the world's longest-standing video game record.

Rogers never showed additional evidence of his Dragster time of 5.51 seconds, only providing a basic explanation of how he was able to achieve the record time.

'Dragster' Record Declared 'Impossible'

In July 2017, Twin Galaxies announced a new process to dispute scores, and Rogers' Dragster time was among the first records to receive a challenge.

A thread on the Twin Galaxies forum collected a significant number of complaints that the record time was falsified, along with evidence that completing Dragster at 5.51 seconds was technically impossible.

One of the evidence against the validity of Rogers' record was an analysis by Eric Koziel, a computer engineer who is also an avid video game player. Koziel constructed a frame-by-frame model of Dragster to reveal that, even with the assistance of a computer, the fastest time that could possibly be achieved in the game is 5.57 seconds.

Twin Galaxies has now invalidated not only Rogers' Dragster time but all of his records on its leaderboards, from where he has been banned for life.

Speedrunning Records For A Cause

While the declaration of the long-standing Dragster record time as invalid will certainly widen the rift between Rogers' supporters and opponents, speedrunning in modern times has evolved to help charities.

Earlier this month, Awesome Games Done Quick 2018 raised a new donation record of $2.27 million, barely beating the amount raised by AGDQ 2017. Meanwhile, the next event in the series, Summer Games Done Quick 2018, will look to beat the $1.7 million raised in SGDQ 2017.

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