Although there have been many examples recently, Mario was never known for his 3D contributions to the video game scene for most of his lifetime. Even still, the first 3D Mario game Super Mario 64 enthralled audiences worldwide when it hit the shelves in 1996.
For the time, the colorful and captivating 3D graphics and characters captured within were fascinating. Being able to play Mario as he hops, skips, and jumps his way through a beautiful collection of worlds has been ever so memorable for many gamers since.
If there wasn’t enough to love about this classic title, its number of glitches and elements of exploration are virtually endless. This has helped to cement its popularity in the speedrunning world, as well as the whole gaming sphere. Come with us as we delve into possibly one of the most fantastic Super Mario 64 speedruns that ever has or will exist.
What Is a Speedrun and How Does It Work?
If you were wondering what speedrunning means, you won’t have to do so for much longer. Playing through a game normally can be considered a run. So, when a gamer plays through intending to complete it as fast as humanly possible, it’s considered a speedrun.
An excellent understanding of the game is vital, as well as expert levels of patience and fortitude. There are many ways to take on such an undertaking, but one thing’s for sure – every millisecond saved by the player will make the final result that bit more impressive.
What Are the Types of Speedruns?
Naturally, there are a lot of ways to define a speedrun, each with its own unique challenges and competitive leaderboards. Technically, a speedrun doesn’t necessarily have to involve completing the entire game, and, for titles where there is no definite endpoint, they can involve completing some objective set by the player instead.
Luckily, Super Mario 64 speedruns can be completed fully, or set at a specific number of stars to obtain. However, there are some very common kinds of speedruns, as well as some technical terms that most speedrunners are familiar with. The most popular are summarized in the table below.
|Any%||Using any method and any amount of completion while playing|
|Low%||Obtaining as few optional upgrades, sidequests, etc. as possible|
|100.00%||Obtaining everything optional within the game|
|Glitchless||Not exploiting any glitches|
|Deathless||Completing the run without dying|
|Blindfolded||An extremely difficult speedrun where the player is blindfolded|
|RTA||Real-Time Attack, using an external timer in “real-time” rather than in-game time|
|IGT||In Game Time, using the in-game timer to measure your time|
|TAS/ non-TAS||Tool-assisted or non-tool-assisted, such as using an emulator for savestates or slowing down/speeding up gameplay|
Which Kind of Speedrun Is the Hardest?
The answer to this question really depends on the game in question. It may seem like the any% type of run might be the easiest, but this still requires a deep understanding of the game and its glitches to pull off successfully.
Naturally, being able to use a tool like an emulator to repeat sections of the game at your whim makes things a whole lot more manageable. A low% run would turn out to be the most difficult a lot of the time since many optional upgrades and quests give boosts that make your playthrough a lot easier.
A glitchless game could be easier or harder than this, depending on the number of glitches and how much time they shave off the gameplay. The most difficult is usually the blindfolded run, since the player can only rely on their memorization of the mechanics and not their eyesight.
None of them are to be taken lightly, however, since — with or without glitches — you’ll be competing with some hardcore gamers who know the game probably better than the back of their hand. If you want to attempt a Super Mario 64 speedrun, you’ll need to know the game inside-out.
The History of Speedruns
A little history on the development of speedruns won’t hurt at this stage. They’ve been around almost as long as video games themselves, since players have always been looking for ways to challenge themselves in new ways.
Some titles have been designed specifically with speed in mind, such as the original Drag Race title. It didn’t take long for the speedrunning community to develop, either, since competition naturally follows from testing your mettle.
Recording your runs is a crucial aspect for competitive purposes, since verification is essential for proving your skills. These days, the ubiquitous nature of video recording and streaming has helped make speedrunning more mainstream and accessible, especially for younger audiences.
The Super Mario 64 Speedrun: A Closer Look
Without further ado, let’s sink our teeth into this Super Mario 64 run completed by Suigi, and see what makes it so special.
Super Mario 64 Speedrun Highlights
- Holds the current world record for a 16-star speedrun
- Suigi also holds the world record for 0-star and 1-star speedruns
- Uses many glitches, such as the backward jump, clipping walls, and passing through gates
- Beats the previous record by 15 seconds
- As far as speedrunners go, the player is relatively young and wasn’t actually born when the game was released.
As mentioned before, this speedrun is an amazing achievement, not only because the player had no prior experience of the game from when it was released. Naturally, a lot of glitches are involved here, which we’ll delve into below.
The Backward Jump
Strangely, the developers didn’t implement a maximum speed Mario can reach when traveling backward. Therefore, with some smart maneuvers, Mario can reach incredible speeds after a backward jump.
Similarly, by timing some awkward jump moves and occasionally using a ground pound, Mario can access areas that are supposed to be reached by longer means.
By hugging the walls and avoiding specific NPCs such as Lakitu, valuable seconds can be taken off your final time. All in all, surpassing the previous record by 15 seconds is a huge feat. Holding multiple world records for one of the most recognized speedrunning titles ever is essentially unheard of.
While this is not a complete run, a 16-star run is a very common challenge for the game. There really isn’t much to suggest here that could’ve been done better, since there are virtually no detectable mistakes occurring during the run.
This is a fantastic job by an extremely promising player. We will see if he manages to take the record for other Super Mario 64 runs, such as the full 120-star run.
The History of Super Mario 64
For the iconic Super Mario series, 64 was very different from previous titles. This was because it was the first 3D rendition of the Mario world. A lot of the time, video game series don’t fare well when taking such a departure from their roots. But, this time, the risk paid off.
The game isn’t only considered one of the best N64 titles. The title is considered one of the best in the Mario series and one of the best games of all time. This is especially true concerning speedrunning capabilities.
Even the soundtrack gets frequent positive mentions. All 3D titles that would come next, including Super Mario Sunshine, Galaxy, and Odyssey, would build upon the excellent foundations laid by Super Mario 64. It’s fair to say that Mario’s legendary status owes a lot to this stellar title.
Super Mario 64 Speedrun: Wrapping Up
In the world of Super Mario 64 speedrunning, this run is one of the best that will ever be executed. It’s almost perfect, as there are basically no mistakes present, and the new world record is an amazing 15 seconds quicker.
While the run was not completed blindfolded, the achievement is still incredible. Having conquered an impressive 3 world records for the game, we’ll see if Suigi can take home the rest for this ever-popular game.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Toro_The_Bull - Arturelia/Shutterstock.com.