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Question(s) regarding 2600 Pole Position


Marco1019
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I'll do my best to condense this post. I apologize in advance if this runs long.

 

It was believed by many 2600 gamers that the score of 60,960 on Pole Position was improbable. Scott Stilphen of Atari Compendium noted there is a photo of such a run (by Jeff Adkins), and Twin Galaxies (TG) lists the 60,960 score by Frankie Cardulla on their leaderboard (but no photo or video).

 

Last week, on January 11, 2021, GregDeg posted a run of 60,960 on Stella. You can view his record run here. It's the first such run recorded on digital video (to the best of my knowledge). If you view the comments, then you'll read a comment from "LightBlue2222" stating he surpassed 63,000. In fact, LightBlue2222 posted a score of 63,260 on January 19, 2021 (yesterday) and that entire run with commentary can be viewed here.

 

I did a little online research and found this thread on AtariAge. The thread, which started in 2014, does feature a few downloadable hacks of Pole Position though most appear to be cosmetic in nature. (I do have to review the thread more thoroughly.)

 

So, with all that said, does anyone here know if a score of 62,360 is possible? Or did LightBlue222 purchase a hacked cartridge? Any context is appreciated.

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This is getting into an area that is tricky to answer. The best way is for LightBlue222 to prove his score on video to the degree that Twin Galaxies would do if it were a Donkey Kong performance in an arcade. We can theorize about what's possible, but I've never found anything official from Atari which states what the absolute best possible score on 2600 Pole Position would be. I'm not quick to call anybody a liar or discount a score. if it's in that much dispute, the best thing to do would be to have LightBlue222 provide further evidence of his score and the ROM he used for its performance. 

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I should have clarified that the 63,260 run was shared on TG, but not submitted. Nads learned of the video because he subscribes to LightBlue2222's YouTube channel. I apologize for any confusion in that regard. In addition, no one has called a LightBlue a cheater; he showed the cartridge and game system in the video so he didn't really hide anything.

 

There's a TG thread with @ZilchSr, Scott Stilphen, and Nads. The belief is that the cartridge was hacked prior to purchase (I believe LightBlue stated he bought it off eBay for $5) or the 2600 system he used was hacked/modified.

 

ZilchSr ran tests on a few different ROMs and posted here: https://www.twingalaxies.com/garrett-holland/wall/9000/atari-2600-pole-position-tas-and-analysis-fastest-time-possible-212-seconds

 

It's an interesting confluence of events given the timing.

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Again, in my estimation the only way forward, if this were being submitted as a world record score, would be for the adjudication to be as thorough as Twin Galaxies live Donkey Kong and Pac-Man performances have been. There would need to be somebody to independently verify the cartridge board / ROM, as well as the game system it was played on. If there are no shenanigans it will be obvious. Another excellent way of breaking the 60,960 point "sound barrier" would be a live, in-person performance on verified hardware at a high score or classic gaming event with people present. We've seen how tricky things can get when people attempt to go back and prove outlier scores with very little data to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt.

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3 hours ago, Marco1019 said:

The TG link I referenced previously has been updated with a new video showing two different Pole Position carts. @ZilchSrand I discussed it late last night. It's worth a quick look - it only runs 5 minutes and shows LightBlue attempting a record run with the other cart.

Interesting! :donkey_kong:

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The cart LightBlue2222 used for his 63,260 score was the 1987 released version.  I have 6 Pole Position carts at the moment, and some of them are the 1987 version. I'll dump them as soon as I can and let everyone know the results.  The person from Atariage, "MayDay", who got the same score back in 2014 used the Stella emulator.  He wasn't sure where he got the ROM image from, either Atariage or EmuParadise.  

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