Speedrunner Kosmicd12 has broken the world record for the Super Mario Bros. speedrun, using perfect deployment of glitches.Kosmicd12 came in at 4 minutes, 55 seconds, and 913 milliseconds, shaving a third of a second off the previous record, held by somewessince May. He completed the run on an original Nintendo Entertainment System without using an emulator.It’s a slim amount of time, but top-level speedruns are all about finding those tiny margins: The difference between a world-record setting run and another failure often comes down to brief frames of animation and figuring out better ways to exploit the game’s various glitches.
The Super Mario Bros. record has been shattered repeatedly in the past few years by taking advantage of the flagpole glitch, which involves breaking the flagpoles—putting Mario (or Luigi) at the bottom of the flagpole at the end of the level, and keeping the flag from falling. This skips a few frames of animation and trims precious seconds off of a speedrun.
Kosmicd12 spent Monday evening on Twitch practising the flagpole glitch and another new glitch that allows Mario to creep through a floor in World 1-2 and warp to World 4 very quickly.“Am I about to go down as the most clutch gamer alive?” Kosmicd12 joked to the camera. “First run ever.” Then, as with all speedruns when the player realizes they might actually pull of a world record, Kosmicd12 got quiet. On his ninth run, he played a perfect game, nailing every jump, avoiding every Goomba, and hugged the bottom of every flagpole on his way to Bowser’s Castle.When he stomped the axe, plunging the Koopa King into the lava at the end of World 8, he’d beaten the previous world record by milliseconds. It was an impressive run, especially for being the first run he was able to slide through the wall perfectly on World 1-2.There’s a beauty in speedrunning. Games that are decades old take on a new life when a community sits down to try to run through it as fast as possible. Kosmicd12’s record will be a hard one to beat, but it’ll be a blast to watch people try.Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.