Phoenix Dynasty: 30 Years in the making
On September 1st, 1982 what was thought to be an impossible feat was made possible by one man. Activision a 3rd party software developer, designed and produced a video game for the Atari 2600 in 1980 called “Dragster”. The purpose of the game was to shuttle your dragster down a quarter mile track in the fastest possible time. Thousands of gamers purchased the game to see who would be the fastest in the world. As mentioned in the original brochure it stated “And if you beat 6.00 seconds, take a photo of the screen and send it to us. So far the World Record (held by Al Miller here) is 5.74 seconds. If you break that, it will make news!” ~ David Crane
Since the launch of the game, thousands of pictures stormed Activision headquarters with numerous times that beat the 6.00 seconds mark however very few tied or eclipsed the 5.74 mark. One of few gamers that surpassed the 5.74 mark, was “Todd “Mr. Activision” Rogers, from Bridgeview Illinois. In fact on December 1st 1980 which ironically was Todd’s birthday, Activision awarded Todd with his first recognized world record with a time of 5.64. Todd however was not satisfied with the record and after 4 progressions from 5.74 mark, he whittling a faster time down to the 5.61 mark. This impressed Activision so much that they revised their instruction manual with the new benchmark time to beat. It was also sent out in the Activision mail order newsletter for gamers who subscribed to be informed on those current world records that were set.
Todd "Mr. Activision" Rogers
Two years later in 1982, Activision programing team felt that there was a finite speed run on Dragster that perhaps no human would be able to match or beat. Thus, they programed the computer to simulate the perfect speed run in the game to set the fastest possible time for someone to match. This would then make the person who matched the time the true undisputed world record holder for the game. On September 1st, 1982 Todd Rogers stepped up to the plate to not only match the perfect time set by the computer but to do something that was thought to be humanly impossible. Todd proceeded to break the perfect time set by the cpu of 5.54 to a 5.51 mark.
Man vs. Machine
Logically speaking man vs. machine has always been in the favor of the machine, due to a computer’s ability to calculate logical elements faster and more efficiently than the human mind. Todd proved this theory was flawed and not always to be true. Before “Deep Blue versus Kasparov”, there was a “Todd Rogers vs. Dragster”. Activision was astonished by the accolade that they wanted to see just how legitimate the claim was so they invited Todd out to the Consumer Electronic Show to give a live performance of the record. Todd didn’t disappoint as he matched the 5.51 time at the (C.E.S.) Consumer Electronic Show; live in front of hundreds of people and the Activision staff. The feat was then reported to Guinness World Record where they then awarded Todd Rogers with the record “Man vs. Machine” for defeating the fastest possible time set by a computer in the video game Dragster.
30 Years later, Todd Rogers Dragster Record is still recognized by Activision and Guinness World Record as the longest standing console video game world record in the history of gaming. On September 1st, 2012, marks the 30th Anniversary of Todd Rogers 5.51 time and we would like to congratulate Todd for his contribution as a pioneer to competitive gaming. His efforts as the first official professional electronic competitive gamer has set the pathway for gamers in the “eSports” industry that we now experience today. Todd Rogers continues his support for the growing “eSports” industry as a luminary of Empire Arcadia and a Head referee for Twin Galaxies International. Thank you and Happy Anniversary Todd!