An all-new world record has been set for speedrunning Super Mario Bros. only 395 days since the last record was set.
Previously, the fastest speedrun time was held by Niftski, sitting at 4:54.798, but on September 6, Niftski one-upped this original record by completing the run at 4:54.63. At first glance, this might not seem like a drastic improvement, but when you look more into the details of why this is such a feat, the .167-second difference becomes much more impressive. The full run can be seen below:
What makes Super Mario Bros. a bit of an oddball in speedrunning is a hidden in-game timer that checks every 21 frames to track when you’ve completed a level. This cycle repeats even once you’ve reached the end of a level and jumped the flagpole, meaning you can’t progress to the next level until the next frame rule rolls around.
Due to this rule, there is a specific minimum timeframe that each level can be completed within, and Niftski’s newest record marks the first successful human attempt at getting the fastest frame cycle. With the assistance of emulators, programmed inputs, and save states, faster runs have been completed, but these attempts don’t count toward the world record which makes Niftski’s run more monumental.
However, there is an exception to the frame rule which is implemented within the final level of the game, 8-4. Rather than continuing the 21-frame rule, the game goes straight to ending once Bowser is defeated, saving some precious seconds.
“There are no more frame rules left to be saved, so this is now a battle of the remaining 8-4 frames! Only 22 frames, or 0.366 seconds, separate this run from absolute perfection.” Niftski stated at the end of the run, before stressing that this run is not the end goal and this will not be the end of attempts to shave off those last few seconds.
If you’re looking for more Super Mario Bros. action, you might want to check out everything we know about Super Mario Bros. Wonder, or possibly some of the best GBA games for those looking to re-visit some classic titles.