The world of speedrunning is a strange one. Players attempt to perform precision runs through beloved games with such accuracy that it seems almost impossible to believe. Super Mario Bros. speedrunning is where science meets art, as players must make lightning-quick movements that are not just pixel-perfect but subpixel-perfect.
For a long time, the fastest time to complete the game has sat at 4:55 (that’s four minutes and fifty-five seconds for the entire game), with the world champions trying their hardest to shave milliseconds off the final time. There are spreadsheets, robots, and some really deep analysis that says that beating 4:55 with a 4:54 score is possible but, nah, not really.
So, when Twitch streamer Niftski managed a 4:54.97 run yesterday, it seems the impossible has become possible.
However, is it real? Some commenters are suggesting Niftski used an emulator rather than real NES hardware, breaking the very serious rules of speedrunning…
Is it true? Has he really managed the holy grail of a 4:54 run, or will this achievement be debunked? We’ll leave that to people more specialised in the area than ourselves.
In the meantime, here’s an interesting documentary explaining everything you never knew you wanted to know about Super Mario Bros. speedruns.