Learning the Super Mario Bros. Speed Run

Last Thursday I finally sat down to learn the speed run route for Castlevania II Simon’s Quest. After rage quitting an hour in, I decided to pop in some Super Mario Bros.

Now get this:

I hadn’t actually ever beat the original Super Mario Bros. Ever.

Dirty Casul

Alright, hold up, I’m not some casual gamer clicking through puzzle pirates and gem based games in my free time (not that there is anything wrong with that). For whatever reason I never really got into the original.

I’ve played through Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World of course. And I even learned how to speedrun the Famicom’s Super Mario Bros 2, often referred to as The Lost Levels here in the States.

Flashback!

Back in the 80s and early 90s I had a few incredible games to choose from for the NES. I spent a lot of time playing Ninja Gaiden, Kid Icarus and Ninja Gaiden before we managed to get a Super Nintendo.

Therefore, my excuse is totally that I didn’t play SMB because I had too many other awesome games to play.

FML, right? My parents were awesome and to this day I don’t know how they managed to afford it all since we were pretty strapped for cash typically.

How did it go?

Learning the route went well enough. Like I mentioned before I had actually learned the route for The Lost Levels which is a significantly harder game. On top of it all, I actually got an 82 viewer host from Arcus87 during the stream. This was fun since it was my first time going through the complete game, but also because I was wearing his channel shirt!

I really only had trouble in a couple areas, that being 8-2 and 8-3. 8-3 has this absolutely menacing section with a series of eight hammer brothers.

Seriously fuck this guy and all his siblings.

RNG

If you’re unfamiliar with the brothers, they are Koopa troopers who through a random number of hammers in a arc toward you. Sometimes they jump too!

All of this is random.

In a run, RNG can be an absolute nightmare, as I’m not trying to take my time to dodge hammers and walk under them as they jump.

A perfect world:

I’m running right, their sprite appears onscreen and they stay low, opting to wait a second before throwing a hammer.

Before they do, I jump over.

Reality:

Spam deaths until I consistently get my times to the point where I recognize the potential patterns like speedrunning genius Darbian

Final times?

My first run through clocked around over 35 minutes. Not the greatest, but it was my time and I was proud of it. It was a long time coming for someone who had owned the game as a kid but never completed it.

My second run though?

I beat that time by 24 minutes. Final time being 10:47.27 which is a great start. I’ll see plenty of improvement as I learn a few of the tricks in the faster runs.

What Tricks?

Well, for starters I can’t jump on pipe edges if my life depended on it. There are a lot of times I’m sitting and waiting for a plant to get out of my way.

I hinted earlier how there are methods of determining which patterns you can get on the RNG table. I’m pretty far from that point to be honest.

There are a total of two wrong-warps in the game. I’m capable of doing one of them, but the first requires moving Mario’s sprite about 20 pixels past the center of the screen using a series of bumps. I’m not capable of that yet either.

These things only save a few seconds apiece, but every little bit helps get that 10 minutes lower and lower so it wouldn’t surprise me if I pick them up in the end.

Overall, I’m extremely hopeful at getting that time down by a few minutes and I’m having a lot of fun running it.

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