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Jeffy Arensmeyer

 Barnstorming - Game #1 - 32.04 - What the...?!?!!

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Checkout the TG website. There was a big listing of articles on Todd posted late last year and may still be there.

 

Also check out Todd's site at:

 

www.beatthechamp.com

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...Also check out Todd's site at:...www.beatthechamp.com

 

Dude, let me thank you for posting this info. Being an isolated gamer (Alabama-enough said, please), I've never followed or heard of Todd. :o

 

But after visiting his site, I feel like he's a real person with real scores. Sound crazy? :? Sure, but I had never seen him, so please bear with me. :dunce:

 

My opinion, for what anyone cares to take it "as worth"?...

He's an honest guy making honest scores with passion and drive. You can rest assured I will eat whatever crow is required when he or anyone else proves these theories (about the TG official time, in this thread) wrong. |:)

 

Ron is between a rock and a hard place right now because he's sitting on the potentially revealing (or damning) evidence, but he can't reveal it until he has the "go ahead" from Todd. I truly respect this because it is Todd's "aurora" that would be reveled (no disrespect intended).

 

But unless we, or an experienced, knowledgable, unbiased party can verify these scores, who is to say that TG isn't just an ungoverned body of "buddies" that do as they please? Tough love?; Sure; but lets be realistic here... If you're going to have a knowledge base that claims to be the World's Best, you better have a method of verifing that every score posted, either in public or in private, is true.

 

A collective group of respected, long term gamers is fine, but there should be an equal group of unbiased, non-related officials that can state the same facts. To say "we're honest, really" does not stand. Even the most respected and established groups/companies must have methods and facts that can be evaluated either by internal AND/OR external sources. :ponder:

 

"Do, or do not. There is no 'try'. "

 

ò¿ó

 

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IMO some of you are taking this way to serious.

 

It's only a game! :)

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One last comment from my peanut gallery ;)

 

When you hear of Todds 'strategy' you will kick yourself not having thought of it before (I know I did when he showed me)!

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Now here's something you don't see often - Peacemaker Kale

 

Ok, I want everyone to just take some deep breaths, and Relax....

 

Ahh, much better?

 

Right, here's my take on the situation:

- Twin Galaxies is the leading authority on high scores

- They take every effort possible to make sure every score is valid

- Todd happens to have a number of high scores

- Todd has the barnstorming high score

- Todd has a strategy, which he has demonstrated a number of times

- Given that TG is quite reputable, that Todd has enough high scores to be reputable, and that his strategy has been witnessed enough times, I conclude that:

-- He's shown his strategy in the past. It's up to him if he wishes to continue to do so. It's his personal choice.

-- While the code may not necessarily support the possibility of his score, this may also be due to a misreading of the code.

-- You've all debated this far long enough. Instead of beginning a flame war about how the score is possibly impossible, why not just go out there and try to beat it yourselves?

 

That is all. Message Ends.

 

Kale

 

-- Additional:

Chris - thank you for trying a 'peaceful approach'. It's a lot easier to listen to your viewpoint when it is less confrontational. I know I'm not the best for taking the subtle approach myself, but I think you'll find that people will be more willing to listen to what you have to say.

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actually in a sad twist of fate, this thread has sucked any joy I ever had of playing Barnstorming right out of me. I tried to play it last night and just couldn't get into it. I know too much about how the game works, its less like a game and more like a math problem now.

 

But yer right, I didn't give two craps about Todd's score before this thread started, I think I'm going to reset myself to that point, so that I no longer give two craps about it now. Its not like I will ever beat it, I don't see devoting 20 years of my life to a video game.

 

sigh

:sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad:

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Hello fellow gamers:

 

I can verify that Todd Rogers is the real deal. Like Ron Corcoran, I am one of the referees at Twin Galaxies, and have met Todd in person recently at the Funspot Classic Gaming competition in New Hampshire last month. he is indeed the real deal.

 

To this day, Mr Rogers (no pun intended) regularly submits personal and world records on the Atari 2600 platform, and each is subjected to the same scrutiny and verification process as those for other 2600 gamers.

 

Robert T Mruczek

Twin Galaxies - Editor and Chief referee

Star Wars classic arcade champion

(212) 366-3036 (work-day)

[email protected] (work E-MAIL)

 

******************************

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Hello all!

 

I'm Wolff Morrow, a Twin Galaxies referee for the Sony console platforms. I actually have quite a lot to add to this debate concerning Barnstorming game 1B. First, my brother and I both are probably 2 of the most qualified to comment on the record, as we are both 3rd and 4th place on the scoreboard at Twin Galaxies (with video confirmation).

 

When I first tried for the Barnstorming record, I figured I was just missing some important strategy as to why I couldn't even come close to it. My brother was also dismayed after his efforts and we began to speculate about the validity. I began voicing my concerns to one of the refs, but was assured it was legit. I got in a little trouble because I pushed the issue a little too far and caused some bad feelings arrise. For that I apologized and backed off. But it always nagged in the back of my mind... Was the time really possible?

 

I decided it was time to use my detective skills and find out once and for all whether I had any grounds for protest. After dozens of hours of exhaustive work on 60 frame-per-second avi's taken from a cycle-exact emulator called "PCAE 2.6", I came to the unfortunate conclusion that the time of 32.04 simply is NOT possible on a glitch-free run. Now before you start flaming, I have provided a web page that details all of the measurements and math used to prove this. I even was able to calculate that a perfect game with birds disabled turns out to be 32.50. I have made absolutely certain that all math was correctly done and that all measurements are pixel-exact. Below is the link to my data presentation:

 

http://www.twingalaxies.com/firebrandx/barndata.html

 

I think you will find it is very accurate and very informative about the game's limitations. I spent a long time working on this project, so I stand by my findings and I'm proud of my work.

 

What this all means:

 

Keep in mind that I accuse NO ONE of fraud. I feel the record was accidentally misreported and that's all. Keep in mind that it was reported way back in 1983, long before most anyone had a VCR. It was an honest mistake that I hope to see corrected in the near future. I take nothing away from Todd as I know first-hand how good his scores are for the other games. However, one should not dismiss such evidence, simply because of someone's status as a gamer. To do so would greatly tarnish the integrity of our TG database. My brother and I both feel the database is FAR more important than Todd or any other gamer for that matter.

 

Regardless of strategies that I might "hit myself in the head over", you can't deny the cold, hard facts of math and the laws of physics. I apologize to other referees that I might have offended by posting this here.

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FirebrandX-

Question on your math - You indicate that 31.998 is the time possible when going in a straight path - There is a Barnstorming hack that lets you fly in a straight line with no windmill impediments and I think the best anyone has done is 32.07 - so is there something wrong with your math here? There are calculations in the game to slow you down going up and down - did your calculations take that into account?

 

What Im afraid is happening here is folks are changing the game (removing elements) and coming up with 'best times'. What impact on the 'clock' are these changes having? How is the timer actually being calculated? Im no 2600 genius but I dont think it has a bulit in timer and is probably impacted by elements on the screen with the refresh?

 

Anyone wish to tackle this one?

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Goochman, I see the point you are making. My math is based on the flight distances over a 1-second time span. The VERY minor difference between 31.998 and the reported 32.07 windmill hack have to do with the how the game calculates time "on the fly" over the entire level. The important thing you should realize is that BOTH of these experiments conclude the record is not possible and not even close for that matter.

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I checked and confirmed the perfect time of 32.07 windmill hack. Below is a link to the avi movie for download:

 

www.twingalaxies.com/firebrandx/video/Barnhack.zip

 

 

Again the difference between this and my math (which is only .08) has to deal with the game's own timer not being accurate at such microscopic levels. This video is STRONG evidence that the time was misreported.

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If Todd's score is an old record, then why isn't it listed in the TG book (which came out in 98 )? The high score listed is an impossible 30:01, with a 9/26/95 date! TG has mentioned several times that quite a few older scores (from the 80s) have been closely scrutinized, with a number of them being discarded. Apparently newer bogus score submissions can also sneak by the TG refs.

 

Not to take anything away from them- it's not an easy job, and they certainly got my respect for their efforts, but I mean, if somebody REALLY wanted to falsify a top score, the tools are easily obtainable to modify the code (altering a game's scoring, timer, etc.) and be able to play it on a real system and videotape it. I just hope I didn't give some unscrupulous people any ideas... :|

 

 

Btw, there's a neat frying trick that can be done with Barnstorming-

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Actually, there are MANY errors in the database. My brother and I found several bogus scores that were input by independant sources, such as magazines and other web sites. We have been slowly purging these, but it's an ongoing process that will take some time.

 

BTW, here's a link to a legit Barnstorming run I did at 32.85. My best is 32.84, but you'll find only a few people in the world can actually beat this:

 

 

http://www.twingalaxies.com/firebrandx/vid...eo/Barndemo.zip

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Everyone keeps trying to vouch for Todd's character, but I don't think that is in question at all. I've no reason to believe Todd is shady in anyway. The question is simply whether or not the score is legit, and the proponderance of the evidence seems to point toward its invalidity. This does not mean that Todd is a cheater. Other people have suggested that it could be a typo or other mistake.

 

No one should be attacking Todd or anyone else until we KNOW THE WHOLE STORY. If the score IS legit and it can be proven, then ROCK ON! I think it kicks total ass, but if its not, then let's find out why and get it fixed. That's all I ask.

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What Im afraid is happening here is folks are changing the game (removing elements) and coming up with 'best times'. What impact on the 'clock' are these changes having? How is the timer actually being calculated? Im no 2600 genius but I dont think it has a bulit in timer and is probably impacted by elements on the screen with the refresh?

The 2600 has some built in short-time timers, but they can not and are not used for the clock.

 

So the time is calculated by software. Every frame (60/sec) a subroutine is called that updates the time by 1/60th second. And there are other subroutines that are also called every (or every 2nd, 4th etc.) frame, those move the plane, birds, scenery etc.

 

Removing any graphical objects has absolutely no impact on the framerate (unlike modern consoles) and therefore the clock too. Even if you play the game on an emulator that doesn't run at the exact framerate, the time will stay constant because everything in the game is driven by the framerate. Only the real world time won't match anymore.

 

You can see this effect in the PAL version of Pitfall!. PAL games run at 50 fps, and Activision didn't change the code for the clock, therefore the 20 minutes last 24 minutes. That doesn't change anything of the ingame timings, only the players reaction time are a bit higher. (BTW: You should think about differentiating between PAL and NTSC scores in your database. Especially action games get a bit easier on simple PAL converted games.)

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O.K., a couple of comments, then the meat of this posting... :)

 

As a sidebar, for those of you who are not familiar with Todd, he appeared several times in Activisions, the Activision high score newsletter that was published from from the Fall 1981 to Fall 1983. The Spring 1983 (Vol. 6, pg. 5) issue contains a score of 32.74 for Barnstorming by Todd Rogers. I also have in my possession a letter from Jan Marsella, the Director of Customer Relations at Activision, dated 15 Feb 1986 showing a best time on Barnstorming of 32.74. However, in a letter from Denise L. Steele, Director of Marketing Communications at Activision, dated 3 Jul 1986, they, Activision, show Todd achieving a score on Barnstorming of 32.04. Yes, all of these are on Activision letterhead. It looks like they may have made a typo.

 

After looking through the archives, I was unable to find any "solid" evidence (photo or videotape) to this score. So, without photographic or videotape evidence, and after speaking with Todd last night regarding all of the "happenings" on this forum and the fact I was unable to find in the TG archives the videotape or photographic evidence of the 32.04 score, I have decided to enact the Twin Galaxies Challenge Rule since two (2) of the challengers are "...a contender on the same game in question."

 

Here is the rule if you wish to review the process for yourself:

 

http://www.twingalaxies.com/Rules8.html

 

What I have done is asked Todd to play in a public forum, CGE, to try and re-create his time of 32.04. If he cannot, his 32.04 will be removed from the Twin Galaxies scoreboard and replaced with 32.50, which he did score at last years CGE in front of 3 TG judges (myself, Steve Knox & Brien King) as well as the general public.

 

I hope this helps. I know it's been painful, but I too want to know the truth. If Twin Galaxies has posted a score in error, then it MUST be fixed to preserve the integrity of the scoreboard.

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Folks,

 

I hope you have confidence in the TG system and see how it works. We have inherited alot of scores from the 80's which may have not been as scrutinized as much as they should (or in some cases the proof was from a typo). We also have had scores loaded in by temps from previous lists which also may have some errors.

 

What can be done?

 

You and other gamers who have alot of knowledge on games can review whats in the scoreboard and ask the referees to review the scores which seem questionable. Alot of scores have been perged from the database in the last year due to questions of authenticity. Issues like this Barnstorming score can be corrected once a full review has been completed and with the amount of scores in the database its tough to review each and every one.

 

Thanks for the input from eveyone and dont forget the lonely Colecovision the next time you play :) - Hell, put the 2600 adaptor in it :D

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Now I hope nobody wants me to repeat my Starmaster scores from 20 years ago, because I don't think I could redo them again. ;)

 

My official Wing Commander score is 3 better than the one on Todd's own page. Now I feel great! :)

 

Are you reading this Todd? ;)

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Hello Thomas:

 

I'm not 100% sure if Todd subscribes to the forum, but I am always in touch wit him.

 

Please let me know which one of the variations your score is 3 more on and I'll pass the word. Cheers !!

 

Robert T Mruczek

Twin Galaxies - Editor and Chief referee

Star Wars classic arcade champion

(212) 366-3036 (work-day)

[email protected] (work E-MAIL)

 

******************************

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Hello Scott:

 

Regarding the 30.01 1995-dated score on Barnstorming game 1B in the 1st TG Book of Records by "Jason" that you addressed in your previous thread reply...

 

Almost a year ago, if not more, I personally petitioned Ron Corcoran to remove that egregious score as being flat out BS for two reasons...

 

1st - Not do-able under any circumstances

2nd - We agreed...no more "One Name Only" records would be tracked

 

All of the scores by this "Jason" were removed from the book, as were a few by an individual bearing a pseudonym instead of a real name.

 

Robert T Mruczek

Twin Galaxies - Editor and Chief referee

Star Wars classic arcade champion

(212) 366-3036 (work-day)

[email protected] (work E-MAIL)

 

******************************

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Awesome! Todd is cleared, the truth is revealed, and all is well.

 

By the way, will Todd's reattempt be filmed? If so will the film be available (or top secret)? Will there also be some impartial observers there to verify the score (you know, like innocent bystanders...err witnesses)? I know you said it would be at CGE, but you could do it in a closed room for all I know, I won't be able to make it.

 

Finally let me say that 32.50 is one hell of a score, regardless of if he can beat it or not! I think it is safe to say the record is his, for a long while. Rock on.

 

 

I'm glad this all got figured out. Thanks to everyone for their hard work in getting to the bottom of this.

 

Stan

:) :) :)

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Awesome! Todd is cleared, the truth is revealed, and all is well.

 

By the way, will Todd's reattempt be filmed? If so will the film be available (or top secret)? Will there also be some impartial observers there to verify the score (you know, like innocent bystanders...err witnesses)? I know you said it would be at CGE, but you could do it in a closed room for all I know, I won't be able to make it.

 

Finally let me say that 32.50 is one hell of a score, regardless of if he can beat it or not! I think it is safe to say the record is his, for a long while. Rock on.

 

 

I'm glad this all got figured out. Thanks to everyone for their hard work in getting to the bottom of this.

 

Stan

:) :) :)

 

I don't know if we'll have a video camera there or not, but I am going to have this done in full view of the gaming public. I am also going to ask Albert to come to the booth and watch so you will have a known, trusted, 3rd party perspective. :)

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Hello StanJr:

 

Well, the CGE score was performed in front of the three TG referees and about forty people, so I don't know what to tell you about that. If that many witnesses are not good enough, I don't know what it...or maybe I do...some of Todd's previous scores were performed in front of tremendous audiences well in excess of several hundred, for Activision years back of course.

 

Basically, if at a TG sanctioned event a player...ANY player for that matter...performs under the strict guidelines in the presence of one or more authorized referees, performances can be considered as having been done. There is a certain modicum of trust inherrant with being the self-appointed and recognized worldwide body for score tracking when it comes to live events.

 

However, even we have certain exceptions. For example, we absolutely will NOT accept a Ms Pacman score without proof on videotape, and make no exceptions as to whom. That's just for starters. There are many, many more...games where the possibility exists of a player continuing, and worse, where the score is not reset to zero, games with "leeching" tactics (i.e. hunting, point-scrabbing), games with known glitches and bugs, games in which entire segments can be ignored due to poor programming, 2nd player leech tactics like Joust and Marble Madness...the list goes on.

 

But with respect to scores witnessed at live TG sanctioned events, such as the Mall of America going on right now as we speak, last month's Funspot Classic, and the upcoming CGE, the situation absolutely exists for any gamer to produce a world record, or maybe just their personal best on any title while in the presence of the watchful eye of a TG referee.

 

Understand that there is a substantial cost involved with videtaping every single gameplay attempt on every single monitor, console setup, game or PC in useage for the duration of an event. Frankly, TG does not have the resources for that. Gamers have to accept and trust that accomplishments at live events fall under a special consideration, and with very few exceptions, that TG stakes it's integrity on all scores recognized at such events.

 

Todd, upon his return from Mall of America in Minnesota, is part of the currently running Atari 2600 "Time-Based Deca" which I am hosting on behalf of Twin Galaxies. And Barnstorming 1B is one of the events, by the way. This is a very interesting competition should anyone wish to join and try their skills against gamers like Todd, Ron and myself.

 

The best part is some rare carts are offered as prizes from my personal collection. If you cannot find the information easily on this, try here... http://www.twingalaxies.com/admins/MKM/pag...k/atarideca.htm

 

Good luck to all competitors !!

 

Robert T Mruczek

Twin Galaxies - Editor and Chief referee

Star Wars classic arcade champion

(212) 366-3036 (work-day)

[email protected] (work E-MAIL)

 

*******************************

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