The 33-Year Quest for the Perfect Run of 'Super Mario Bros.' Is Almost Over

“Oh my gosh,” muttered Super Mario Bros. speedrunner Kosmic, as he snaked through a tough section of 8-4, the final stage in the game. “C’mon, man.” Moments later, he jumped over Bowser’s hammers, dropped his controller to the ground, and began to process the enormity of the moment.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

shamelessly copied from r/speedrunning:

He got lag frame in 8-2, when attempting the Bullet Bill Glitch. It’s a byproduct of doing the glitch when your score reads in a certain way (don’t know exactly how off the top of my head), and loses 1 frame.
This run is essentially impossible to beat without incorporating another framerule save. The only 2 remaining humanly possible ones are the 8-3 flagpole glitch, which is hard but can be done reasonably consistently, and the 1-2 pipe clip, which is really really really really difficult.
Getting both of these would save .7 seconds, meaning the record would be pushed down to ~4:55.7X. However, there is one other option of getting 4:55- you could just do the 8-3 flagpole glitch (bringing the time to ~4:56.1), and then attempt some crazy backward acceleration tricks in 8-4 to save the last tenth of a second. Kosmic actually did one of these in this record, in the third room of 8-4. Adding a couple more of these combined with another framerule save might be enough to push it to 4:55.
This record’s future is going to be crazy, and it’s awesome to see Kosmic become a part of it once again. While this record will probably eventually be beaten, it is likely to stand for months until somebody is willing to attempt runs with the 8-3 flagpole glitch again to get a low 4:56. Congrats Kosmic!

Speedrunning is fuckin’ intense and I love it

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Can I just say I love that SpeedRunsLive link? Here’s Kosmic’s comment that he put on that SMB race:

10+ gameovers, answered the door, and didn’t know you could restart from world 8 until like 8 game overs in :3

You ain’t gotta have a sub-6 SMB time to be a “real” speedrunner, you can game-over ten times and as long as you finish the game you still beat the guy that forfeited.

I absolutely love write-ups about the nitty-gritty of speedrunning these near-perfected games. Even as someone who sort of keeps up on it, reading it all written out is a joy.

If you enjoyed this post, I would highly recommend watching some of the videos by Summoning Salt about world record progression of various games. The videos about Super Metroid and Super Mario 64 are ones I’ve enjoyed in particular.

@nifboy makes a real good point about how you don’t need to be a world record holder to be a speed runner. Some of the runners I watch don’t have the fastest times but they provide entertaining commentary while they play. Trihex, Cirno, Gamej06 (Big Jon) to name a few. Not all of them are the fastest (although I think Trihex and Big Jon have had WRs at various times) but they are very frequently entertaining.

Another fun thing to check out is the AGDQ 2018 Strider Live tutorial showcase, where one speedrunner, ThaDarkMan78, teaches another, Jimmypoopins, who has never played the game before some tricks on how to run the game live.