Former Guitar Hero legend Schmooey has revealed that his top-scoring videos were completely and utterly fake.
The prolific Guitar Hero player, previously thought to be the best in the world, has been faking it all along, and admitted as much in a lengthy apology he posted to YouTube.
“I won’t waste any time on this,” he said. “Yes, most of the stuff I did was unauthentic and I am at fault for being a fraud, for the things I tweaked and edited.”
“I’m sorry I’m not the person you thought I was,” he added. “I am a fraud.”
His apology comes after YouTube investigator Karl Jobst uncovered his cheating in a now-viral video.
Since 2018, Schmooey has been dazzling the Guitar Hero fan community with numerous world-firsts. Often playing some of the most difficult songs at speeds well above anyone else, he was considered to be the world’s greatest. But a world first he posted to YouTube in December 2021 would be his undoing.
The video chronicled Schmooey’s world-first – a ‘flawless’ run of 9 Patterns of Eternal Pain. This instantly drew suspicion, and on further examination, the video included several errors.
Expert players noticed an inconsistency between the notes and his finger positions, but the moment that sealed his fate was a Windows Media Player overlay that appeared very briefly towards the end of the video. This was a huge red flag – it wasn’t a live video at all, but a screen capture of a previous recording.
Schmooey admitted that he had ‘spliced’ some of his videos in a Discord call in January but insisted that he had only tampered with a few of his videos. The Guitar Hero community then began combing through his previous videos and found even more evidence of video splicing… as well as proof that his game was running slower than it should be.
How did he do it? Well, his method was deceptively simple. Schmooey used Cheat Engine to slow down songs in Clone Hero – a PC port of Guitar Hero widely used by the online community. He’d play them at an easier difficulty and then speed the recording back up with video editing software, splicing it together with his webcam footage.
The results were convincing enough to fool Guitar Hero experts for several years. Although some fans noticed oddities in his videos – a few dropped frames here, some inconsistent audio there – it was largely forgiven on good faith. He had proved himself to be a decent enough player in live events.
But now, the community hopes to move on. “He did some crazy stuff live, he did some crazy stuff in online sessions,” said top Guitar Hero player, Acai via Twitter. “It was enough to let our guard down and trust him with being legit and he took advantage of that.”
Elsewhere, Microsoft boss Phil Spencer said he’s eager to revisit abandoned Activision franchises after Microsoft purchased the company… and that’s led some to speculate that we may eventually see a new Guitar Hero game.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.