Competitive Gaming scandals, and the need for an overhaul of the system


February 11th, 2018

This article contains multiple embedded videos and hyperlinks to prove the statements made within.

In the past month, a couple of prominent members of the gaming high score community have been caught falsifying information and results in their top gaming scores.  Both Todd Rogers and Billy Mitchell have undisputable evidence against their claims in Dragster and Donkey Kong, respectively.

 

Let’s start with Todd Rogers.  The man has made claim that his fastest record in Dragster is 5.51.  In Dragster, you play as a drag racer, and the lower the time, the better the score.  Unfortunately, a 5.51 is literally impossible to achieve.  Using a tool-assisted setup which allows a computer to enter every possible controller and button combination, the fastest time one can make is actually a 5.57.  The prolific hardware expert Ben Heck actually built a setup specifically for testing this game.  The best score was 5.57.  Even worse, any proof of the original score has already been destroyed, and people who have seen the original evidence before it was destroyed claim that the score was smudged.

However, it’s not just one score that he has falsely reported.  In the above video, Pat and Ian from the CUPodcast find evidence of Rogers scores being higher than the second place holder by a factor of over 100.  Posts were made months ago on the Twin Galaxies official forums, but in many cases were denied as being valid.  One of the few that were proven even before the scandal was in Barnstorming on the Atari 2600, a flying game where obstacles on the course affect your speed, and hence your score.  In Barnstorming, it was proven that even removing all obstacles and flying straight would result in a lower score than the score that Rogers posted, proving it was impossible.  That one score was removed, but none of the others were even investigated.  He claimed a score of 99,999,990 on JJ and Jeff on the Turbografx-16, a score that would literally require 80 hours of gameplay in order to accomplish.  Other scores (that Twin Galaxies tried to claim were confirmed legitimate) were found impossible due to the digits end in a 8, when the game only scores in segments of 5 or 10.  A large (but not complete) list of games where Rogers score was either impossible or incredibly unlikely can be found here.  What is scary is that in the case of Dragster, Twin Galaxies actually ran a front page article stating the games creator (David Crane) said he has no doubts that Rogers score is legit.  It seems that the site was attempting to manipulate public opinion and discredit legitimate claims and concerns.

 

If it were only one person, it might be able to be written off as a coincidence, but even one of the “rock stars” of Twin Galaxies, one who many recognize immediately along with Walter Day, was proven that at a minimum, he misrepresented the hardware he was playing on.  While Mitchell has many legitimate records (his play in Pac-Man is bar none some of the best seen), and his Donkey Kong play is also incredible, it would seem that competition pushed him to lie about how he was playing.  In a pivotal moment in the King of Kong documentary, Steve Wiebe takes the high score for Donkey Kong (after having previous high scores rejected due to claims his hardware might be subject to tampering).  Hours after this, Mitchell sends a pre-recorded tape in that beats Wiebes score.  The tape was subject to much controversy due to looking like it could have been sliced in some areas, and was later rejected a few days after being accepted.

 

Mitchell claimed that he recorded using a direct feed from the machine, which at the time only a few machines even had set up since it is incredibly difficult to capture a live video feed from a DK machine.  However, the way the arcade game loads screens is different from how Mame (a popular arcade game emulator) loaded games during that time era.  A post at the Donkey Kong Forum shows the differences in how Mame loads, how an arcade machine loads, and also has a sample of a direct feed capture.  Mitchells tape loads in the same fashion a copy of Mame of that era would have loaded the game.  Not only would this make video capture significantly easier, it would also make cheating much more easier either by savestate or by altering the games code to allow more blue barrel drops, which give more points when busted by a hammer than a brown barrel.

When Mitchell claimed innocence, claiming the video proof of his game should be at Twin Galaxies and the tape whistleblower Jeremy Yonng used as evidence was an altered version of the game he played.  Jeremy fired back, giving multiple reasons why Mitchells claim was preposterous.

In closing, it would appear that many of our “gaming heroes” of the 80’s have been holding on to their spots by false scores and having friends in judges places.  It throws the entirety of the judging community of Twin Galaxies into question, since two of their “golden boys” are now proven frauds.  There either needs to be a changing of the guard over at Twin Galaxies, or a new community needs to rise using legitimate methodology to confirm scores.  In closing, I have one more video.

Above is a player who is very good at a number of games, and wanted to document his scores.  At the 9:30 time in the video, he brings out that not only did Twin Galaxies want to charge him in order to look at his score, they STILL would not consider it until he had participated in their forums on a regular basis.  A score is a score, no matter what the financial or social status of a player is.

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RoundUp 125 – The Horse Flips In Out Run


January 30th, 2018

TOPICS COVERED IN THE SHOW
Hardware Flashback – (00:00)
Dinosaur Pie – (30:51)
Guinness Gaming Records – (1:23:43)
Idlewild: A Ghost In The Arcade – (1:25:59)
Steve McNeil Interview – (1:28:47)
Top Ten Games You Should Complete – (2:15:39)
Gaming Trivia – (3:59:09)
Gary Revel: PacMan On Her Mind – (3:59:51)
It Came From MAME – (4:02:49)
Live News And Listener Views – (4:11:22)
URLs And EMails – (5:50:09)

See the shownotes page.

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RaspiBoy vs Android + Bluetooth controller


December 31st, 2017

A while back I posted an article on how to build your own handheld retro emulation setup, using a budget Android phone and an 8BitDo controller.  You have also seen my look at the RaspiBoy.  I would now like to compare and contrast the two so that you can look at strengths and weaknesses of each to determine which setup would best suit your needs.

 

Raspiboy offers an all-in-one setup powered by a Pi Zero.  It runs off the robust Emulation Station/Retro Pie software, which is tried and tested for reliability.  The front end is aesthetically pleasing, more so than most front ends available on Android.  That being said, RetroPie is really your only option for a decent looking front end.  You are also limited to games from the 16 bit era and below due to the Pi Zero being powered by a single core 600 MHZ chip.  Also, I have personally found reliability issues in the hardware of the Raspiboy, having to replace both the custom 8BCraft board due to an error in the first run board not allowing the unit to charge and play at the same time, and having to replace the LCD as well due to a screw going all the way through the plastic and shorting out a transistor.  However, the benefits of having an all-in-one unit that you can repair on your own cannot be ignored.

 

If you were to choose the Android phone/Bluetooth controller route, you have a choice of numerous front ends (RetroX, Gamesome, ARC Browser, and Nostalgia being the leading four).  However, none of these front ends are as robust as Emulation Station.  Both units use RetroArch as the primary emulation source, but the higher power from the phones means that you are able to emulate newer systems.  PS1 is almost guarenteed to work, along with PSP, some N64, DS, and even some Dreamcast games.  Also, my initial build had the Blu R1 HD paired with an NES30 Pro (with XTander clamp), which is still a great, functional setup.  I have since upgraded to the Blu Life X2 Mini for a faster CPU, more RAM, and more storage, and switched controllers to the SN30 Pro (with Xtander).  This setup is slightly more expensive at 150 dollars for everything, but offers an even more comfortable controller and much more storage.  64 gigs internal plus another 128 gigs in Micro SD gives you plenty of room for all the ROM based games you want, plus a decent selection of disc based titles.  However, the setup is still a little clunky, with two pieces being held together by a clamping system, and the front end not being as aesthetically pleasing.

 

If you are looking at primarily 16 bit and below gaming, I would recommend RaspiBoy for being an all in one unit that you can configure however you wish.  Those who wish to play some PS1 and newer games, or those that want the benefit of having access to some Android games plus emulators, are better off looking at the phone plus bluetooth controller solution.  I would push that using the phone gives you access to some great ports of older PC games that are out there as well.  Either way, both solutions make for a nice way of being able to game on the go.

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RoundUp 124 – Millennial Hacker


December 30th, 2017

TOPICS COVERED IN THE SHOW
Hardware Flashback – (00:00)
Dinosaur Pie – (28:00)
Guinness Gaming Records – (1:30:58)
The Piranhas: Space Invaders – (1:33:24)
Top Ten Games On Failed Systems – (1:37:21)
Gaming Trivia – (3:32:30)
Pinball Album: Black Knight 2000 – (3:32:58)
Live News And Listener Views – (3:36:02)
URLs And EMails – (5:43:21)

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RoundUp 123 – Duodenum


November 30th, 2017

TOPICS COVERED IN THE SHOW
Hardware Flashback – (00:00)
Dinosaur Pie – (30:52)
Guinness Gaming Records – (1:37:43)
Desert Planet: Slurp – (1:39:43)
Top Ten Jungle Games – (1:44:19)
David Crane Feedback – (3:11:32)
Gaming Trivia – (3:19:45)
Rob Hubbard: Commando – (3:20:12)
Live News And Listener Views – (3:25:07)
URLs And EMails – (5:38:17)

See the shownotes page.

Vote in our Top Ten Poll and suggest a future Top Ten topic here.

Join our Facebook Group and follow us on Twitter.

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Podcatch via the RSS Feeds.

Stream the show 24/7 or listen to RGR Radio.

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