What tools were used to analyze & challenge the records for Dragster?

I was reading an article on Polygon which was talking about a longstanding record for an Atari Game called Dragster. In the article it was talking about how people challenged the record by using “tools” to dispute how the record would be achieved without cheats.

Would anyone have an idea what tools they could be referring to? They talk about analyzing the code. The link in the article takes you to a spreadsheet which lets you change values. Also is this a typical practice for challenging records in video games?

I’ve added the article below for reference:

https://www.polygon.com/2018/1/29/16944736/atari-dragster-game-world-record-banned

Answer

The “tools” they mean is something that can be used to analyze the game. There are probably a few ways to do this, but one video here discusses using a RAM analyzer for the Atari 2600. What it does is when the CPU writes to the RAM, the RAM analyzer will detect this, and copy the information into a different memory array that they can look at further. They then use a microcontroller that examines the RAM, and based off the information in the memory, it can make decisions on how to play the game.

A second video shows just this. By tweaking their settings for the “simulation” if you will, they can run the game using specific timing for when to change gear in the dragster, control acceleration, etc. The reason this world record is so controversial is that even when using the most ideal computer simulated run of the game, it was still not able to tie or beat the world record run by Todd Rogers.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : jszyarto , Answer Author : Timmy Jim

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