Super Mario Bros. speedrunner Blubbler has eked out a new world record for the fastest time to complete Nintendo’s seminal platformer, clocking in at 4:57.69–just four tenths of a second quicker than the previous record of 4:58.09.
Best of all, that record was set entirely on the merits of Blubbler’s lightning reflexes and encyclopedic knowledge of the game. Many gamers use emulators to complete “tool-assisted speedruns” with the help of slow-motion and save states to find the theoretical limits of efficiency beyond what mere mortals could achieve. Blubbler’s record was all natural though, relying on decades of well-documented techniques to shave off fractions of seconds, like knowing the precise hitbox limits on the Piranha Plants so his leaps can buzz them with seemingly-impossible proximity.
One of the trickiest moments of the run comes at the end of world 8-2 when he bypasses the walk from flagpole to castle by arriving at the same moment as a passing Bullet Bill. He shared this image to explain the trick, along with details of the Piranha Plant hitboxes and how he seemed to double-jump off of a pipe at one point. Otherwise he hits every flagpole on top, which apparently shaves around 11 frames off of the time it takes to reach the castle.
Watch the whole run below and see if you can spot any places where you could improve upon it. Spoiler alert: you almost certainly won’t.