Above: Eric Koziel’s tool-assisted speedrun, which still could not match Rogers’ time.

In a new tool-assisted run submitted in March, Koziel works frame by frame to ensure what he believes to be the best possible time. The run finishes with a 5.57, which is 0.03 seconds slower than the rumored Activision simulation (5.54) and 0.06 seconds slower than Rogers’ world record (5.51). Previous tool-assisted runs by other speedrunners were also unable to beat this time. So far, no one is faster than Todd Rogers, not even computers.

Rogers’ contention is that the videos are only simulating one way of playing a quite complex game. “There’s like nine ways to shift in Dragster—and I don’t share that with too many people—but [Koziel is] going on one specific pattern where you stay in first gear and second gear quite a bit of time,” he said.

“I could sit in front of a TV right now and play for an hour straight and get 650 different types of play and it would never be the same,” Rogers said. “If he’s basing his spreadsheets and his shifting on one particular pattern, then that’s pretty ignorant and closed-minded, because you’re not factoring in the human element of how the game would respond.”

In the opinion of Dragster’s creator, Rogers’ record needs no additional proof. “Those records were set at the time, by a player at the time, and given validation by the authority at the time. Thus those records should stand,” David Crane said. If there is a discrepancy between Activision’s record and a computer simulation, Crane said we should be questioning the simulation, not the record.

“We have credible empirical evidence that 5.51 was, in fact, possible,” he said. “The question should be, ‘Why does the mathematical analysis disagree with the empirical evidence?’”