Super Mario Bros. Speedrunner Breaks 4.55 Barrier

Published: April 8, 2021 9:04 AM /


Art for the NES version of Super Mario Bros.

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."

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.


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