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To Test Atari Dragster Record, Ben Heck Builds RAM Analyzer

Category: General News
Posted: 10:48AM

In September 1982 a record of 5.51 seconds was set on the Atari 2600 version of the game Dragster, an Activision title released in 1980. In the decades since, this record has yet to be beaten, or even matched, so many wonder if Todd Rogers, the record holder actually cheated. To determine if this time was even possible, some in the spreedrunning community decided to analyze an emulator of the game, and came away with the best possible time being 5.57 seconds. This has led to a dispute being field with Twin Galaxies, the video game racing organization, for the record to be removed, but software analysis based on an emulator is not necessarily ideal. To provide third-party, independent analysis on actual Atari 2600 hardware, Twin Galaxies turned to Ben Heck who at last has an excuse to build a RAM analyzer for an Atari 2600.

The RAM analyzer is the featured build on a recent episode, embedded below, of the Ben Heck Show, and is fairly interesting to watch as quirks of the old hardware are discovered. It does not include if the 5.51 seconds record is possible, but that is the next step. With the RAM analyzer it will be possible to have the game play itself, making decisions at the best possible time. Will the record stand, or will this expose a decades-long fraud? It seems we will have to wait to find out.



Source: Element 14 [1] and [2]

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