Hexbyte Hacker News Computers Speedrunner beats ‘Super Mario Bros.’ in unbelievable time

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers

The Super Mario Bros. record has been broken by Kosmic, the first human being to ever beat the game in 4 minutes and 55 seconds.

In a near-perfect run of Super Mario Bros. Monday night, speedrunner Kosmic completed the 1985 NES games in stunning fashion, breaking the world record of the any% category with a time of 4:55 and 913 ms. Kosmic beat the record he had just set that same night at 4:56 and 245 ms.

Take a look at the new world record run:

This run is an extremely impressive feat of precision, memorization, and years of practice. It’s so good, in fact, that it is nearly tied with the theoretical best time that can be achieved in Super Mario Bros.

Let’s break down what that means.

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After clearing the first level perfectly, nailing the second level, and clipping the wall to warp into the first level of world four, Kosmic says he’s “literally tied with the TAS.”

TAS stands for tool-assisted speedrun, and that’s exactly what it sounds like. People can use a tool to program exact inputs in games, which can be used to figure out the best possible time that a game can be completed.

Right now, the theoretical fastest time someone can beat Super Mario Bros. is 4:54 and 30 ms, according to TASVideos.

When Kosmic says he’s tied with the TAS run at 4-1, that means his inputs are matched up exactly with the program’s and he can’t physically do any better.

From there, Kosmic continues to nail everything almost perfectly, slipping up so minorly that most viewers who aren’t familiar with the nuances of Super Mario Bros. speedruns won’t even recognize when it happens.

As YouTuber and speedrunning historian Summoning Salt points out in his thorough analysis of Super Mario Bros. speedruns, speedrunners have been whittling down the world record for well over a decade. Top runners are at a point where they can only hope to improve their times by shaving off milliseconds.

It was as long ago as 2010 that legendary Mario speedrunner AndrewG first hit a sub-5-minute run. Since then, runners have taken turns in the spotlight, slowly perfecting the run over hundreds of attempts. Darbian, who currently holds third place in the Super Mario Bros. any % category with a time of 4:56 and 548 ms, got that time 11 months ago, so you can see how long it takes for these records to be achieved.

Kosmic has been speedrunning Super Mario Bros. and various other games for years, uploading his first Super Mario Bros. run on YouTube six years ago. This record has been a long time coming.

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