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Dispute: Dick Moreland - Atari 2600 / VCS - Dragster - NTSC - Game 1, Difficulty B [Fastest Time] - Player: Todd Rogers - Score: 05.51

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Is this a valid dispute?

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    I reached out to Kevin K, one of the other individuals credited in the Activisions newsletter with a 5.51. I asked him for anything that he remembered from back in the 80s about his submitted time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Me
    Hello Kevin,

    I'm trying to track down some information related to historical times for the Atari 2600 game Dragster. In particular, you were listed as one of only three individuals to achieve a time of 5.51 according to Activision's newsletters from 1982 and 1983. I realize this was a long time ago, but I was hoping you could provide an account of how you achieved this time.

    -Do you remember the approximate month and year that you achieved this time?
    -As far as you can remember, did you have any particular strategies, tricks, or otherwise that you employed to achieve it?
    -Do you remember if Activision reached out to you after you submitted the time? If so, what was the context of this communication?
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin K
    The only thing I remember was the joystick we had was super sensitive, and made the Dragster game interesting because of the times we could get below 6 seconds. We used to fight pver that joystick, never found another one that was that good. I have memory of someone getting a 5.43 time, and I thought it was listed in the Activision new letter. So I didn't think much of my time. I did receive a Dragster patch from activision.
    To summarize, the only information on a potential strategy has to do with a particularly sensitive controller. This can make sense in going for the 1-frame taps, but would otherwise not have any influence on the gameplay. He also may not have a clear memory of it anymore, as 5.43 is not a time that occurs in Dragster. His actual strategy remains a mystery.

    What's more important is what's not said. No mention of ever being contacted by Activision, which I specifically asked for. This contradicts Todd's account of them comparing strategies of the 3 individuals (without even going into the details of the other timeline issues). It's possible this may be something Kevin is forgetting, or even possibly concealing, but the best available evidence seems to indicate that it just never happened.
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    Thanks for posting this. I know another TG member reached out to Kevin via Facebook a while back, but didn't receive a response.

    I was hoping that Kevin might share a fulsome reply, but I doubt he's thought very often of his Dragster time over the last 30+ years. Notwithstanding the fact that he probably wouldn't volunteer that he was kicked off the list for cheating, the available published evidence indicates strongly that it simply didn't happen.

    After describing in the video his first 5.51 achievement in March 1982 and Polaroid submission to Activision in the 35th anniversary video, Todd then recounts the phone call from Jan Marsella where he was quizzed about this shifting techniques to ensure he didn't cheat. Two other players submitted 5.51 times as well, but were allegedly exposed for cheating since their shift techniques didn't include holding the clutch during the countdown. At this point in the video, the screen displays the Activisions scoreboard with William and Kevin's 5.51 times, strongly suggesting these two were the cheaters caught by Activision. To fit logically into the timeline, Todd's exchange with Jan had to occur before his two live performances (see below) of 5.51 in June and August, which were witnessed by Activision representatives.


    But this sequence doesn't pan out as Activision went on to publish William and Kevin as the only two 5.51 world record holders in the December 1982 newsletter, several months after Jan's phone call. William and Kevin's names were published again in the Spring 1983 newsletter, this time with Todd's as well.


    In view of the two newsletter issues featuring the names of Kevin and William and the presumption that Activision would not continue to publish the names of players they exposed as cheating, the investigation would have to occur at an unspecified time after the Spring 1983 newsletter. But launching an investigation and quizzing Todd after Spring 1983 makes no sense since Todd indicated that Activision representatives formally witnessed the 5.51 on two occasions over the summer of 1982, as well as the September 1 1982 date cited in Guinness' "Man vs. Computer."


    If there was any serious concern about cheating from Activision, I don't know how putting gamers on the spot over the phone to describe "how you shift" would make any difference. There's simply too many variables at play (level of tach, time of shift, big and small wheelies, etc) to coherently and verbally describe/defend a performance in that manner. Todd's reference to holding down the clutch as the "proof" of his 5.51 is simply a natural tactic, one that was described in the instructions for Dragster from David Crane himself (referenced earlier in this thread) -- "There are a couple of tricks that are not so obvious. For example, put the clutch in during the last numbers of the countdown, hold it in, rev up (careful) and pop the clutch by letting go of the Joystick the instant the screen reads 0." This version of the instruction set indicates that the Dragster world record is 5.61, which puts it around Fall 1981 when the Hunters held the best time.
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    TG posted this in one of their general updates. Not sure why they haven't bothered to address it in this thread, but repeating it here for longevity.

    3.) Dragster Dispute - We have been following all of the discussion as well as all the various TAS analysis videos and we are maintaining a complete awareness regarding the overall issue.

    We are quite aware that there are many in the community who have personally decided that a 5.51 is not possible based on all the presented code analysis evidence.

    Our 3rd party investigation is still in process of reasonably eliminating the possibility of a repeatable 5.51 on Atari 2600 hardware. This involves looking directly at the memory, CPU and other activity inside different functioning Atari 2600 hardware configurations with Dragster carts inserted and executing continuous "targeted" brute force inputs via microcontroller based on results read in active memory.

    To access the raw chip information and tap the various buses inside an active Atari 2600 has required the creation of very specialized interfaces with lots of trial and error, but recently some progress has been made and they are slowly getting to a workable scenario that will allow them to completely get to the bottom of this important issue.

    They are seeking some specific things:

    a.) Is a 5.51 possible on Atari 2600 hardware and is it repeatable on any Atari?
    b.) If it is possible, how is it possible? Why does independent code analysis suggest that it isn't? What exactly is the difference (if any) that actual Atari hardware is making?

    The efforts and set up is being designed to answer these specific questions.
    Not much in the way of substance from the post itself. It still seems aimless in trying to address specific possibilities, though.
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    I have a query....

    1......Todd told Jace that he could perform a 5.51 again!

    2......Todd told snowflake Bill that he didn't know if the Dragster cartridges he played were general release or proto!

    So...how does Todd know that he can do 5.51 again?

    Why didn't Todd just say to Bill that he's sure the carts/hardware he played were general release or un-modified ?

    Get it.....if you say that you can do it again, why would you not know if the cart was proto or not?

    ?



    john

    .
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    Quote Originally Posted by lexmark View Post
    I have a query....

    1......Todd told Jace that he could perform a 5.51 again!

    2......Todd told snowflake Bill that he didn't know if the Dragster cartridges he played were general release or proto!

    So...how does Todd know that he can do 5.51 again?

    Why didn't Todd just say to Bill that he's sure the carts/hardware he played were general release or un-modified ?

    Get it.....if you say that you can do it again, why would you not know if the cart was proto or not?

    ?



    john

    .
    I don't recall Todd saying he didn't know if his cart was a proto or not. Plus think about it, before Todd was contacted by Activision he achieved a 5.51 on his own cart. So the whole prototype theory is out of the question.
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    All the TRUE answers to the "never ending, never will" DRAGster debate can be answered here...VERY IMPORTANT: Please listen to all 10 hours...Also, pay close attention to the moon throughout. The answer is hidden somewhere within the video, Im telling ya!!!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcade View Post
    All the TRUE answers to the "never ending, never will" DRAGster debate can be answered here...VERY IMPORTANT: Please listen to all 10 hours...Also, pay close attention to the moon throughout. The answer is hidden somewhere within the video, Im telling ya!!!
    I'm into my fifth hour - so far it's just crickets? Reminds me of camping, swims at the lake - good times
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Evener View Post
    I'm into my fifth hour - so far it's just crickets? Reminds me of camping, swims at the lake - good times
    WOW!!! You are SO SO close. Keep listening!!! Almost there!!!
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    Popping by to say that someone achieved a 5.57 on Game 2.

    https://www.speedrun.com/run/mrq6v08y
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcade View Post
    All the TRUE answers to the "never ending, never will" DRAGster debate can be answered here...VERY IMPORTANT: Please listen to all 10 hours...Also, pay close attention to the moon throughout. The answer is hidden somewhere within the video, Im telling ya!!!


    Kinda a no-brainer on this one.

    Does anyone really think I would have gotten the 5.61 without the crickets telling me how?
    Everyone thinks it is the Spiders, but the crickets are the slick ones!
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