Todd Rogers may not be a household name but he’s certainly well known among speedrun enthusiasts and those who keep an eye on retro gaming records. The former Twin Galaxies referee once had a scandal for putting his own scores into the system, skipping their old ‘buddy system’ verification process entirely. As a newly-released expose points out, however, the verification process at Twin Galaxies wasn’t a foolproof concept to begin with: Todd Rogers is, and always has been, one of the most prolific video game cheaters in history.
Some 30 years after his scores in Donkey Kong and Dragster made him famous, a lack of evidence and a simple verification of game programming is finally exposing Todd Rogers for what he is: the biggest cheater in video game history.
The web began to unravel when perhaps his most famous high score – a 5.51 second run time in Dragster – was found to be genuinely impossible. A frame-by-frame assisted speedrun of the 1980 Atari title revealed a theoretical best time of 5.57, which still clocked in 0.06 seconds behind Rogers’ record. His record was supposedly verified via photograph by Atari, although the records no longer exist today. Similarly, his 32.04 seconds in Barnstorming was thrown into dispute when the game’s code was stripped down, all obstacles were removed, and a straight no-movement fly-throughof the same level still couldn’t beat his obstacle-filled time.
Since Twin Galaxies verifies the records posted to the board, it should be easy to verify Rogers’ old scores – but instead, only excuses and non-answers are found. It seems like the majority of Todd’s scores were verified by Ron Corcoran, a referee who turned out to be a longstanding friend of Todd’s. Ron failed to ever bring any of the video proof to the public, and a previous internal investigation implies that the video evidence Corcoran supposedly collected may never have existed in the first place.
Even worse, Corcoran was arrested for sexual conduct with a minor, prompting Rogers to claim that some of Ron’s VHS tapes that the police seized in the investigation contained his high scores. According to Rogers, the police never returned these tapes. However, calls with the Glendale Police property unit confirmed that all VHS tapes had been returned, and none of the tapes featured Rogers genuinely achieving any record-setting high scores.
Gamers can take a look at the expose in the video below:
Once put under heavy scrutiny, many of Todd Rogers’ other claims to fame quickly fall faster than a house of cards: he had a number one record in Wabbit with a score of 1,698, but the game automatically ends at 1,300 points after going up in increments of 5. His record in Centipede (an astoundingly even number of 65,000,000) was over a thousand times higher than the second place verified entry, which lies at 58,078. Many of his first place runs were verified via referee (Ron Corcoran, anyone?), and several of them ended in suspiciously huge, even increments.
After looking at the picture as a whole, it’s astounding that Todd Rogers hadn’t been universally acclaimed a fraud years ago, or that Twin Galaxies hadn’t simply requested that a different referee verify the records once they started pouring in such a suspect manner.
Many of Todd Rogers’ gaming high scores have stood for thirty years or more, and have resulted in Guinness World Record prestige, plenty of publicity, and even led the way to Todd Rogers becoming the first paid professional gamer in the world. While he has an ardent fanbase who have defended his Twin Galaxies-certified achievements since the days of early bulletin board systems, the facts just don’t add up: his high scores either don’t follow the same scoring scheme as the respective games dolled out, they’re all questionably higher than any other human attempt, or in some cases are technically impossible to achieve even with tool-assisted performances.
We like to celebrate genuine gaming achievements, whether they be no-death speedruns of Cuphead or even defeating a Dark Souls boss using several bananas as a controller. In today’s modern age, the verification process is much more reliable – and we can only hope this prevents another Todd Rogers from ever staking a dubious claim to fame. His disingenuous approach to gaming does nothing but belittle the efforts of talented fans across the globe, and we’re excited to see the proper record holders finally get the bump up they’ve deserved for so many years.
Source: YouTube, Atari Age, Twin Galaxies, TASVideos
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