For the last few years, a Guitar Hero player called Schmooey was widely believed to be the best in the world, having racked up achievements and displayed feats that other players thought impossible. A discovery made last year, however, shows there was a very good reason for that.
This article was first published on Kotaku Australia on February 3, 2022. It has been retimed as a weekend read.
In a detailed 27-minute report, Karl Jobst explains in the video below how Schmooey, whose exploits had long attracted a pinch of suspicion, was torn down in January 2022 when a couple of glaring issues were discovered in his uploads, which opened the floodgates and ended up seeing every single one of his records and achievements tossed out.
Schmooey, who had come to the attention of the community as a teenager, was for many years regarded as the best in the world because not only was he clearing songs that others had immense difficulty with, he was doing them at faster speeds. He was so good, in fact, that he made a few thousand bucks over the years claiming bounties that the community had placed on clearing advanced tracks.
Sure, some of his videos had the odd questionable moment — a video lag here, some dark footage there — but for the most part these queries were far from conclusive proof that he had been cheating, and so nothing ever came of them.
Until December 2021, when Schmooey uploaded a run of the song 9 Patterns Of Eternal Pain. While initially incredibly impressive, given the complexity and speed of the song’s latter sections, fellow expert players watching along soon found a few inconsistencies with the run.
For starters, there were sections where Schmooey’s hands weren’t hitting the notes on the guitar that were being played on screen, which strongly suggested that the video of his guitar didn’t match the song being played on the game overlay. Then there was a weird moment at the very end of the video, where a Windows Media Player overlay appears, which led other players to accuse him of faking the video by using pre-recorded video in a livestream.
Some leading players and members of the community confronted Schmooey over this, and after initially trying to defend himself, he eventually confessed last month that a few of his videos had been faked, though the rest of them were real.
Other players weren’t convinced, though, and now they knew what to look for, they went back through all of Schmooey’s uploads and found that nearly all of them — around 100 clips — had been faked using numerous techniques, from “splicing” in footage to playing the game at a slower pace then speeding the video up.
Exposed, Schmooey posted an apology video on January 15, after which he deleted all his uploads, locked his social accounts and disappeared from the community. He also paid back all the bounties he had received over the years.
What’s wild here is that Schmooey was a really good Guitar Hero player! This wasn’t a case of some kid sitting alone in his room faking his way to the top through video alone. Schmooey had been an active member of the community, and had even attended live events and played alongside fellow players like CarneyJared (whose exploits we featured last year).
If you’ve got 27 minutes you should definitely watch the whole video. Like the Trackmania expose from last year, it’s the details of the cheating, and the work involved in its ultimate discovery, that are even more interesting than the story’s broader brushstrokes.
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