The tool-assisted speedrunning community, which aims to exploit flaws in games to complete them in the fastest time possible, has a new scalp.
Thanks to a glitch within Super Mario Bros. 3 for the NES, speedrunner ais5 managed to complete the game in just two seconds.
The gamer was able to discover a glitch by pressing the controller 6,000 times a second using a TASBot robot, which is a custom circuit board that can mimic a controller.
That allowed the speedrunner to insert new code into the game and exploit the glitch. This allowed ais5 to leap from the opening frame directly to the end of the game, where Mario is reunited with the princess once again.
Explaining his methods on Reddit (via Kotaku) the speedrurner wrote: “...if you’re reading the controller repeatedly until you get two values the same (in order to work around the DPCM/controller conflict), then if the controller reads a different output each time (because you’re mashing the controller really fast), it’s going to get stuck in a loop, potentially allowing for the code that handles the start of a frame running recursively. If the game isn’t designed to expect that to happen (and if the code in question isn’t really laggy, why would it?), bad things happen, and it was a case of finding a game in which the bad things in question would happen to let us win instantly.”
You can see those bad things happen in the Summer Games Done Quick video below.
Related: Nintendo NX - What we need to know
This isn’t the first time we’ve showcased Super Mario Bros. speed running this year. In April, an emotional gamer beat the existing any% record for the original Super Mario Bros. by 433ms.
That sub-five minute effort was, it's fair to say, a little more organic.