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Billy Mitchell exonerated. All scores re-instated. was: Billy Mitchell (and Todd Rogers) stripped of all records standings at Twin Galaxies

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https://www.polygon.com/2018/1/29/16944736/atari-dragster-game-world-record-banned

 

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Twin Galaxies, the video game record keeper and official source for Guinness World Records, has declared one of the oldest gaming world records invalid after 35 years. Player Todd Rogers has been stripped of his world record for finishing the simple Atari 2600 racing game Dragster, after months of debate over his completion time.

“Based on the complete body of evidence presented in this official dispute thread, Twin Galaxies administrative staff has unanimously decided to remove all of Todd Rogers’ scores as well as ban him from participating in our competitive leaderboards,” reads a post on the Twin Galaxies forum from the organization’s staff.

That’s a major blow to a prolific record holder, whose career stretches back to the earliest days of console gaming. Rogers courted controversy with his oldest record, however — and it directly caused his ban. In 1982, Rogers submitted to Activision’s official fan newsletter a time of 5.51 seconds, which the company recognized in print, awarding Rogers a patch. Twin Galaxies later added Rogers to its own leaderboards in 2001, and Guinness World Records awarded the player with the honor of holding the world’s longest-standing gaming record in April 2017.

Yet Rogers never provided recorded or other proof of his 5.51 time in Dragster, a sticking point in the years that followed. His personal website offered a simple explanation of how he achieved his unbeatable time, while maintaining that Activision’s certification of his time — highlighted in one of the company’s newsletters — was enough to cement his place on the gaming leaderboards.

Yet when Twin Galaxies introduced a new process for disputing scores in July 2017, Rogers’ time in Dragster was one of the first to be challenged. In August 2017, several community members submitted Rogers’ 5.51-second Dragster finish for review. A thread on the Twin Galaxies’ forum about how Rodgers’ Dragster time was technically impossible ran for nearly 300 pages and included almost 3,000 posts. Its most notable skeptic, who goes by the handle Omnigamer, wrote that they failed to reproduce Rogers’ time in a tool-assisted run, leading them to analyze the game’s code and conclude that no one could complete the racing game that fast without some serious cheating.

“It seems like there are multiple witnesses and otherwise for this particular record, but based on the code of the game I do not see how it’s possible to hit 5.54, let alone 5.51,” Omnigamer wrote in a Reddit thread that served as a major basis for Twin Galaxies’ investigation into the record. They also produced a video investigation into Rogers’ time, including interviews with Rogers from over the years and technical breakdowns of how Dragster worked.

 

 

The Atari community seems split over this with some saying that a lot of his scores were a bit dodgy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Todd_Rogers_(video_game_player)#Disputed_records

while others see this as being mean spirited and petty.

 

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Been following this for ages. The speedrunning community have been the driving force behind it because of the Dragster record.

 

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I can definitely believe an honest mistake being made where a time of 5:61 was misremembered as 5:51.

 

The Barnstorming record is a bit more difficult to defend with that record being taken down once it was proven that even with sprite collision disabled the stated time was impossible to achieve.

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It's a shame because he's clearly been a skilful gamer but I think his desire to be unbeaten overtook all that. I'm calling cheat on him whilst acknowledging that he was obviously a very good player in his time. His knowledge of playing Dragster even shines through in the following videos.

 

However,

 

these Ben Heck videos were quite sad to watch.

 

 

 

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On 1/31/2018 at 17:40, merman said:

Seems clear he was cheating. But was he the only one?

 

This is the thing for me.

Watching a couple of videos from the same YT guy it seems it's pretty prevalent

 

 

At the end of this video the guy literally fakes a video and gets it okayed as a legit time.

Brings into question the whole thing

 

I personally would wipe the slate clean and start again with an "unless your speedrun was aired on twitch with witnesses, then it's not going on the wall"

 

I think it's the only way to make it fair. 

 

 

 

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I don't think wiping all records would be a good idea. Part of the magic is seeing the records broken. Like karl Jobst beating that 15 year old goldeneye 007 world record time.

 

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I understand what you're saying but at the same time how many people are chasing a 15+ year old time/score that isn't legit?

How much time have people wasted trying to beat a Dragster score of 5.51?

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The moment anyone makes a serious attempt at an old fake score is when they will be discovered to be fake. We have emulators, tool assists, we can look at the code for these old games. If The record is faked there are a lot of ways to find if they are fake.  The reason dragster got found out is because the title of "longest standing games world record" caught peoples attention to the point where people looked at the code and said "hold on, 5.51 is impossible to do".

But more to the point records that old are rare outside of twin galaxies and outside a few select titles, no one uses or respects twin galaxies as an authority on game scoring. If anything what you might want to say is not "wipe all the records" but "wipe all the twin galaxies records that don't have respectable evidence" because twin galaxies have been shown to be far too lax in this whole thing, accepting world records because a "referee" (walter day, todd roders, that paedophile, etc) said so. 
For records a lot of fan made communities are pretty good for stopping cheats, the elite has been running since 1999 and they've gotten very big on cracking down on cheating thanks to a player base that will scan every last detail of a record. I don't think we will have a unified record keep ever again and I think it is probably best this way. Keep the records if the community for that game want to keep them is where I stand.

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So what's the new Barnstorming record?  32.74?  I'll tell you something mental about that.  In the Activision Anthology compilation, to unlock the Barnstorming commercial, you need to get a sub 33.00 time.  I stayed up one night trying to unlock this thing.  It took me hours.  IIRC, coming in just under 33 isn't actually good enough.  I think at something like 32.85, it finally unlocked for me.  So close ...

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Apparently the issue was first bought up at the Donkey Kong community forum. After this they now consider Steve Weibe's score to be the first 1,000,000 point game of Donkey Kong played, not Billy Mitchell. If it is found that Billy Mitchell did cheat, how far is it going to go? How many other scores will be discovered to be fakes? We can't just wipe everything he ever did, the man was the first person to play a perfect game of pac-man and it can't ever be changed for example.

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1 hour ago, Dig Dug said:

Apparently the issue was first bought up at the Donkey Kong community forum. After this they now consider Steve Weibe's score to be the first 1,000,000 point game of Donkey Kong played, not Billy Mitchell. If it is found that Billy Mitchell did cheat, how far is it going to go? How many other scores will be discovered to be fakes? We can't just wipe everything he ever did, the man was the first person to play a perfect game of pac-man and it can't ever be changed for example.

 

That can't be changed but surely the Donkey Kong one looks a bit dodgy.

 

I'm fine with old records standing unless the evidence shows them unreachable and I while some are moaning that this sort of scrutiny is unfair (and bullying by millenials ffs) I'm completely intrigued at just how technical these investigations are. That Dragster one was amazing in how they examined the game to the point they probably understand it better than David Crane himself!

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On 03/02/2018 at 09:02, Dig Dug said:

Apparently the issue was first bought up at the Donkey Kong community forum. After this they now consider Steve Weibe's score to be the first 1,000,000 point game of Donkey Kong played, not Billy Mitchell. If it is found that Billy Mitchell did cheat, how far is it going to go? How many other scores will be discovered to be fakes? We can't just wipe everything he ever did, the man was the first person to play a perfect game of pac-man and it can't ever be changed for example.

 

Or was he...

 

 

https://youtu.be/AULXi1SEl6U

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Brett Weiss, an American retro games author has just sent me a press release revealing a signed copy of the game has just sold for over $800!

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18 minutes ago, Dig Dug said:

Dragster signed by Todd Rodgers?

Yeah. It was a copy owned by Brett Weiss.

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56 minutes ago, acidbearboy said:

I hope somebody of authority witnessed him signing that. 

according to the press release the copies were signed without Brett's permission while he nipped away from his table.

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1 hour ago, acidbearboy said:

I hope somebody of authority witnessed him signing that. 

 

probably his paedo ref mate

 

 

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On 06/02/2018 at 20:45, Lorfarius said:

Indepth look at the Billy Mitchell situation

 

And he's now been banned!

 

http://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/king-of-kong-stripped-of-title-1202751358/

 



Famed high-score gamer Billy Mitchell, best known for his leading role in “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters” documentary, was officially stripped of his “Donkey Kong”  and other video game high scores and banned from submitting scores to the world’s largest tracker of video game world records following a decision that he cheated, Twin Galaxies announced today.

“With this ruling, Twin Galaxies can no longer recognize Billy Mitchell as the first million point ‘Donkey Kong’ record holder,” the group wrote in its announcement. “According to our findings, Steve Wiebe would be the official 1st million point record holder.”

Variety has reached out to Mitchell and Wiebe for comment and Guinness to see if his record there will stand.

 

Twin Galaxies statement.

 



Based on the complete body of evidence presented in this official dispute thread, Twin Galaxies administrative staff has unanimously decided to remove all of Billy Mitchell’s’ scores as well as ban him from participating in our competitive leaderboards.

We have notified Guinness World Records of our decision.

On 02-02-2018 Twin Galaxies member Jeremey Young ( @xelnia ) filed a dispute claim assertion against the validity of Billy Mitchell’s historical and current original arcade”Donkey Kong” score performances of 1,047,200 (the King of Kong “tape”), 1,050,200 (the Mortgage Brokers score), and 1,062,800 (the Boomers score) on the technical basis of a demonstrated impossibility of original unmodified “Donkey Kong” arcade hardware to produce specific board transition images shown in the videotaped recordings of those adjudicated performances.

Jeremy’s assertion concluded that not only can original “Donkey Kong” arcade hardware not produce the board transition images shown in the recordings, but that these transitions were actually generated through the use of MAME (emulation software.)

The rules for submitting scores for the original arcade “Donkey Kong” competitive leaderboards requires the use of original arcade hardware only. The use of MAME or any other emulation software for submission to these leaderboards is strictly forbidden.

Jeremy Young provided his dispute case evidence to the dispute thread for both public and Twin Galaxies scrutiny and review.

Twin Galaxies has meticulously tested and investigated the dispute case assertions as well as a number of relevant contingent factors, such as the veracity of the actual video performances that the dispute claim assertions rely upon.

In addition to Twin Galaxies’ own investigation into the dispute case assertions, at least two different 3rd parties conducted their own explorations and came to identical conclusions.

Most notable was the 3rd party (Carlos Pinerio) that Billy Mitchell engaged to help examine the dispute case claims on his behalf, utilizing whatever original equipment Billy could provide, whose final finding was consistent with Twin Galaxies investigation and others.

Additionally, during the evidence gathering period of this dispute, numerous experts, hobbyists, and casual observers participated and contributed to this investigation.

 

Here are our specific findings:

– The taped “Donkey Kong” score performances of 1,047,200 (the King of Kong “tape”), 1,050,200 (the Mortgage Brokers score) that were historically used by Twin Galaxies to substantiate those scores and place them in the database were not produced by the direct feed output of an original unmodified Donkey Kong Arcade PCB.

– The 1,062,800 (the Boomers score) “Donkey Kong” performance does not have enough of a body of direct evidence for Twin Galaxies to feel comfortable to make a definitive determination on at this time.

– The 1047 and 1050 score performance videos we have in our possession (and are basing our determinations on) are in fact the performances that were used by previous Twin Galaxies administration as justification for those scores to be entered into the database and for Twin Galaxies to attribute those specific accomplishments to Billy Mitchell. We have several different and unique sources of these performances and access to private historical Twin Galaxies referee e-mail distribution records showing where these sources acquired their copies and what the purpose was.

– Of significant note is that it is very straightforward for anyone to check the authenticity of the 1047 performance source tape by just cross-referencing the digital capture video of the performance that has been posted in this dispute thread with the very public “King of Kong” movie gameplay footage along with its DVD extras.

– While we know for certain that an unmodified original DK arcade PCB did not output the display seen in the videotaped score performances, we cannot definitively conclude that what is on the tapes is MAME.

– To definitively conclude that MAME was used, Twin Galaxies would need to comprehensively rule out the possibility of all other methods that could produce what is seen on the tapes. This would mean testing all other emulators other than MAME across all other platforms to eliminate the possibility that a different emu was used. It would also mean testing visual effects software and anything else we can think of to be definitively certain. This kind of testing is beyond the scope of the dispute case needs.

From a Twin Galaxies viewpoint, the only important thing to know is whether or not the score performances are from an unmodified original DK arcade PCB as per the competitive rules. We now believe that they are not from an original unmodified DK arcade PCB, and so our investigation of the tape content ends with that conclusion and assertion.

Twin Galaxies has endeavored to provide a fair opportunity and reasonable amount of time for all sides and interests to present their thoughts and evidence as it has evaluated this dispute claim.

Twin Galaxies has also investigated this matter as comprehensively as reasonably possible to make sure that its findings are as informed as possible.

Throughout every step of this investigation, Billy Mitchell had the opportunity to answer questions and contribute to the public dispute thread. However, he was under no obligation to participate in this dispute thread and as such he chose not to do so.

Twin Galaxies is only looking at the dispute claim assertions about score performances and either validating or refuting those claims specifically – it is not evaluating people.

Twin Galaxies would like to give a huge thank you to all involved in this dispute from all sides. Our community, the DKF community, @xelnia and @YesAffinity specifically and many many others have contributed tremendously and deserve proper and full recognition.

Hopefully it is becoming more and more obvious that we care very much about our scoreboard integrity and will continue to improve it step-by-step, no matter how painful or public it might occasionally be.

This has been said before, but it is important to repeat that Twin Galaxies is dedicated to absolutely rooting out invalid scores from our historic database wherever we find them.

Twin Galaxies’ recent efforts to build a dispute system for the purpose of allowing scores to be questioned in a centralized and documented manner have enabled all of the available evidence regarding Billy Mitchell’s score performances to finally, after many years, be concentrated, examined and discussed by non-anonymous members of the gaming community and Twin Galaxies administration. This system has created a permanent body of evidence for examination.

Anyone looking into their own past with honesty and a desire to improve will likely find things potentially messy and uncomfortable. Twin Galaxies has experienced a nice big dose of that again with this dispute. However, Twin Galaxies understands that this is required for it to continue its commitment to accuracy. As we all have learned, this cannot occur overnight and must be a step-by-step process.

Just as in other disputes, we definitely know that many in the gaming community operate with a general urgency and would have preferred to see this matter resolved more swiftly.

However, Twin Galaxies, as part of a comprehensive process and in its position of authority, must ensure due diligence. Our public documentation of our processes and conclusions are intended to satisfy scrutiny for the long term, so in instances where warranted our comprehensiveness must go above and beyond what would normally satisfy.

Our methodic approach has allowed many things to surface, not only related to this specific score, but other scores as well as some previously never-before-discussed video game related history.

We must repeat, the truth is the priority. That is the concern. Whatever it takes.

Twin Galaxies continues to strive to earn and maintain trust over time by making supportable decisions and taking sensible actions.

With this ruling Twin Galaxies can no longer recognize Billy Mitchell as the 1st million point “Donkey Kong” record holder. According to our findings, Steve Wiebe would be the official 1st million point record holder.

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