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Todd's 5.51 Dragster score

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Right now there is a dispute on Todd's 5.51 Dragster score. Here's the problem. Omingamer reverse engineered the Dragster game, and then studied the code, and said he was able to find that 5.51 was impossible.

The problem is there is no second hand verification. That's why I posted here. I was wondering if any programmer who has a deep knowledge of the code could examine these claims as being true or not. What's at stake is one of the most legendary scores in gaming history.

I decided this post was worth a shot.

 

Here is the Twin Galaxies thread disputing the score.

http://www.twingalaxies.com/showthread.php/175364-Dispute-Dick-Moreland-Atari-2600-VCS-Dragster-NTSC-Game-1-Difficulty-B-Fastest-Time-Player-Todd-Rogers-Score-05-51

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Interesting. Is there a link to the original disassembly that proves it was impossible?

 

BTW I think my best time was blown ;)

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I think proving it is impossible is about as feasible as proving there are no purple giraffes. Just cause you have never seen something and you don't know how to find it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Of course proving the opposite is as simple as providing a single counterexample.

 

So I don't think it matters. No matter how many people analyze the code and brute force different button combinations you can always claim that something was overlooked. The only way this will be fully settled is if someone can actually find away to repeat the record run.

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To me this feels much like a witch-hunt. And from the flag I got when I claimed my Pitfall! time a few years ago, I can't say that I like the people who take this way too serious.

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I agree with Thomas - this is just a witch-hunt. Activision required you to submit a photo. If it were today, a photo wouldn't be good enough, but that was before photoshop so Activision's acceptance of Todd's score is good enough for me.

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I agree with Thomas - this is just a witch-hunt.

 

I disagree. I think this is one of those enduring mysteries that needs to be figured out. I don't think anyone is out to destroy the man, but the fact that no one can prove that his score is even possible raises some serious questions in my book.

 

I'm also starting to wonder if people are afraid to look into this one too closely because they're afraid of what they'll find (see Barnstorming)

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Well, I am not deep into this part of my hobby, but it is not only Dragster. Many, many scores of Todd have been "questioned" over and over again.

 

And IIRC the Barnstorming discussion correctly, it was not clear if Todd was using a prototype cart or not.

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Well, I am not deep into this part of my hobby, but it is not only Dragster. Many, many scores of Todd have been "questioned" over and over again.

 

I think Sky Jinks was another one that was questionable IIRC.

 

I'm not into this sort of thing myself, but I do like a good Atari mystery. I don't think anyone wants to come after Todd with torches and pitchforks, but I think a lot of us would like to know if all these amazing feats were actually possible.

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I just checked the claims regarding Barnstorming in this post and made a very simple test:

 

I just fly at the bottom of the screen and disable sprite 0 (CTRL+Z in Stella) when there is a windmill. The original record claimed by Todd was 32.50 seconds and I managed 32.05 in my first try. So what are these guys talking about...???

 

EDIT: I looked up this thread on AA which I completely had forgotten. Moving the plain up and down costs some time. So 32.04 are not possible then. With the cart as we know it. But there might have been a version without that slow down, who knows?

 

But what the guy claimed in the other thread is still wrong.

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch
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Tried to find the source so we could verify omnigamer's model. He said he's not going to post it for legal reasons. (http://tasvideos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=453106#453106) Seems like any argument that could be made against the legitimacy of the record could be more easily made against his claims.

 

Anyway, there is a little bit of info in his first post that could provide a decent starting point for disassembling the game.

 

I did a quick search to see if anyone has posted a commented disassembly but couldn't find one. Does anyone know of one that exists?

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I meet Todd at a CGE a number of years ago - he is a nice guy but does get a bit miffed when people contest his achievements all the time.

 

I played Dragster with him and he is very good at it. He explained a few things to me and I was able to improve my score considerably. I wish I took a picture but Im pretty certain he got a 5.57 while we were there. 5.61 definitely.

 

All this 'perfect algortithm' stuff is meaningless to me since no matter what this guys simulation does, it doesnt take into account 'everything'. This YouTube video IMHO puts the issue to rest, a 'perfect shifting' simulation kills all scores:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7W19PDpIHw&feature=youtu.be

 

How is a 4.50 even possible when the simulation says a 5.57 is the best anyone can do?

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All this 'perfect algortithm' stuff is meaningless to me since no matter what this guys simulation does, it doesnt take into account 'everything'.

 

Right. Unless you build the perfect AI as well, there's no way to really test what a human can do. However what we can do is something like what Thomas did and disable collision detection and whatnot and see if such a low score is even possible through cheating. If it's not then we know it's not possible under normal conditions either.

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This YouTube video IMHO puts the issue to rest, a 'perfect shifting' simulation kills all scores:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7W19PDpIHw&feature=youtu.be

 

How is a 4.50 even possible when the simulation says a 5.57 is the best anyone can do?

In the beginning of the video it shows that the player is not using the original dragster rom. It's a hacked version which completely invalidates any time it produces.

 

 

However what we can do is something like what Thomas did and disable collision detection and whatnot and see if such a low score is even possible through cheating. If it's not then we know it's not possible under normal conditions either.

Thomas proved that the time is possible, which is a very different thing. Using this method to prove it's impossible would still have the flaw that you may have overlooked an exploit that allows you to exceed the theoretical limit.

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Thomas proved that the time is possible, which is a very different thing. Using this method to prove it's impossible would still have the flaw that you may have overlooked an exploit that allows you to exceed the theoretical limit.

He proved it was possible without collision detection which to me proves that it's NOT possible with it (since you have to move up and down which slows you down). The idea that Todd had access to a pre-release version that didn't slow you down when you moved is a stretch to me, but of course I can't dismiss the idea outright either. Then again if that were true is record is still bunk since it wasn't done on the released version anyway.

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I think proving it is impossible is about as feasible as proving there are no purple giraffes. Just cause you have never seen something and you don't know how to find it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

No, it's way more feasible. We know beyond any reasonable doubt that purple giraffes are not a thing that occurs in nature. There is zero debate on that.

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That 5.51 score is as fake as it gets. When your score is impossible to achieve by way of the 1's and 0's it's been programmed within there is only one explanation to answer for it. That answer is the person claiming such feats is being dishonest. The truth doesn't care who your friends are.

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Well, using my old hack which limits the revs, I was able to score exactly 5.51 just a minute ago. Go figure! And the sheet is wrong.

 

5.44 now. I know Todd's trick now. Wow!

 

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5xx4df

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch
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Well, using my old hack which limits the revs, I was able to score exactly 5.51 just a minute ago. Go figure!

 

What do you mean 'limits revs'?

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It releases the fire button if the engine would blow. And I got down to 5.44. See video above!

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It releases the fire button if the engine would blow. And I got down to 5.44. See video above!

So if someone had super human reflexes and got extremely lucky it technically *IS* possible to get 5.51 (or lower)? Well that's good enough for me, as long as it technically is possible.

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Yup, that's exactly what this proves. Todd was able to push and release the fire button in very short intervals almost perfectly.

 

If something seems impossible to someone, that does not mean it is impossible for everyone.

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Yup, that's exactly what this proves. Todd was able to push and release the fire button in very short intervals almost perfectly.

 

If something seems impossible to someone, that does not mean it is impossible for everyone.

 

But what about some of his other contested high scores? I could have sworn there was a list somewhere of the scores that people thought were beyond impossible (like Barnstorming and Sky Jinks).

 

I'm not trying to turn this into a witch hunt or anything, I'm just finding the explanations and testing methods interesting.

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