The old speedrun record for Super Mario Bros. (4:57.693) stood for more than a year before being toppled earlier this week. New world record (opens in new tab) holder darbian shaved literally hundredths of a second off the run to beat world 8-4 in 4:57.627, reaching new heights of Mario celerity just a month after the game’s 30th anniversary. Even better, darbian was playing on actual NES hardware, as opposed to an emulator like the last record holder. I wonder if he had an NES Advantage controller plugged in for that extra arcade edge.
If there was a heartbreaking mistake anywhere in that blur of unbroken momentum, pixel-wide jumps, and how-did-he-not-die piranha plant traversals, I’m not hardcore enough to catch it. Mankind must be getting close to the skill ceiling for Super Mario Bros. – theoretically there’s a perfect run, without a single error, just waiting to be set in stone by some dedicated joystick jockey – but we’re not there yet.
And once we reach the limits of human achievement in Super Mario Bros.? Well, that’s what Super Mario Maker (opens in new tab) is for.
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