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The latest Super Mario Bros. world record run shouldn’t have been possible

Published Apr 14th, 2016 11:15PM EDT
Super Mario Bros. World Record
Image: Darbian | YouTube

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There’s a reasonable chance that no one will ever beat the new world record run of Super Mario Bros. This week, a speedrunner who goes by the name Darbian managed to finish an “any percent” run of the NES classic in 4:57.260.

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That’s 4 minutes, 57 seconds and 260 milliseconds. The previous record, also set by Darbian, was 4:57.427. Yes, we’re talking about a difference of less than two-tenths of a second, but once you see the video, you’ll understand why it’s still such a huge deal that he could beat the old record at all:

If it wasn’t clear from the video, there are few, if any, improvements that Darbian could make to this run. Every jump, every enemy killed, every pipe warp — they are all done with nearly robotic precision from the player.

And I say “robotic precision” for a reason. Kotaku dug up the “tool-assisted speedrun” (TAS) video for Super Mario Bros., in which players can go through and adjust the input frame by frame in order to achieve a perfect run. In other words, there are things that can be done in a TAS that can’t be done by a human player, and yet the TAS run is still only marginally faster than Darbian’s:

“I have reached my potential in this category – I’m done! My quest is over,” Darbian writes below in the description for the video on his YouTube channel.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.