Anniversary of Longest Standing Video Game World Record

How many hours did you spend as a kid or teenager trying to beat the high score on your favorite arcade game? Maybe you spent fortunes on your local Pacman arcade machine or hours playing a gaming console at home. On 1 September 1982, those hours of playing paid off for a 17-year-old from Chicago.

His name was Todd Rogers. He set a record on the Activision game Dragster using an Atari 2600. What makes this astonishing is the record has not been beaten by human players or computers since. As a result, Rogers has another record. Earlier this year, Guinness World Records recognized it as the longest-standing video game record in the world.

Remembering Dragster

Dragster was Activision's first game. It is a drag car racing simulation game where you operate the car's clutch and change gears to increase your speed. The key to the game is quick reflexes at the start and perfect changes of gear.

You can race another player or simply try to beat your best time.

The Record

Activision believed the best score you could get on the game was 5.54 seconds. After hundreds of hours playing, Rogers got 5.51 seconds. The record was verified by Twin Galaxies, the video game scorekeeping organization.

The Controversy

Rogers' Dragster feat is known as the impossible record. This is because no-one has been able to beat it since. This includes gamers who have created computer programs designed to play the perfect game. The best time the bots have been able to achieve is 5.57 seconds.

The differences in time are fractional – hundredths of a second. In the gaming world, however, those fractions are important. As a result, there is controversy over the validity of Rogers’ top Dragster score.

Fuelling this controversy is the fact there is no physical evidence of the high score even though a photograph of a TV screen showing it is normally required (this was in the 1980s, remember, long before the days of digital photography and Photoshop). That said, Rogers claims to have repeated the high score at electronics shows.

This plus other evidence he supplied to Activision was enough for the record to stand. It continues to stand too, for 35 years and counting.

Does Rogers’ story rekindle your interest in beating your best scores on top 1980s games? Check out our range of classic arcade machines so you can play your favorite games as often as you like.