Four minutes and fifty-five seconds. Since 2018, that has been the start of all world records in Super Mario Bros. speedruns. It's a speedrun record so precise that there's been debate on whether it's actually humanly possible to go lower outside of tool-assisted speed runs. Last evening, a professional speedrunner managed to break this long-established record with a time of 4:54:97, breaking what is almost certainly the final second barrier in Super Mario Bros. any% speedrunning.
The speedrunner, a Twitch streamer who goes by Niftski, has been speedrunning Super Mario Bros. for a good while, as his YouTube page filled with speedrunning videos shows. Last night, he was streaming his attempts at breaking the lofty 4:55 record. Two hours and thirty minutes after starting up his stream, he managed to break both the world record (4:55:230 by the UK-based speedrunner Miniland) and the legendary 4:55 threshold with a record of 4:54:97. "This is insane," Niftski said after beating the record on stream. "It hit me, but it hasn't hit me fully."
https://t.co/A39u2akFns THE 55 BARRIER IS FINALLY BROKEN! This is the single greatest accomplishment out of anything I've ever done with this game! Huge thanks to everyone who supported me on this grind!! <3— Niftski (@Niftski) April 8, 2021
Breaking 4:55 was a nearly inhuman feat, even among the best Super Mario Bros. speedrunners. The official leaderboard for the game's speedrunning records show that 2nd through 11th place are all at 4:55, with the differences being measured in milliseconds, as the record was highly competitive and optimized, with numerous frame perfect inputs and pixel-perfect positioning tricks. This video by YouTuber Bismuth explains some of the history behind the 4:55 threshold, pointing out that thousands of attempts fail before reaching the finishing flagpole at the end of the first stage. Tool-assisted speedruns suggest that the ultimate record for the game would be 4:54.26, which would require inhuman skill, and is less than a second ahead of what Niftski accomplished.
The video of Niftski's record-breaking run can still be found on Twitch, and he has already posted a video on YouTube about his amazing accomplishment. Niftski isn't resting on his victory, though, as he's developing new goals for playing the game in 2021.