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Top Super Mario Bros. speedrunner notches another world record

All Stars Any% leaves him two short of owning all five marks

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The speedrunner Kosmic held, for about a month, a triple crown of sorts in Super Mario Bros. — world records in Any%, Warpless and the Minus World Ending. Knocked from first place in the Minus World 11 days ago, he turned his attention to another category in the five major ones on Super Mario Bros. in Super Mario All Stars, the 1993 compilation for Super Nintendo. And he claimed a world record in that on Friday.

As a speedrun, Super Mario Bros. in Super Mario All Stars is intriguing because, while a completely separate game, its runs are filed under the NES original because it’s effectively a remaster of the original. There are some differences, however, that make it a distinct and slightly slower run.

For starters, as Kosmic explains on the YouTube page for this video, the hitboxes for the Piranha Plants in the original Super Mario Bros. are much smaller than they are in All Stars. So jumping over plants from the floor is possible in the former, but not the latter — necessitating “pipe jumps” (precisely landing at the edge of the pipe and jumping the plant from there). The larger hit box also makes this pipe jump more difficult.

The NES version will also despawn enemies if too many objects are on the screen; All Stars has no such limitation. “This makes 4-2 and 8-4 slower because you have to wait for piranha plants to get out of the way,” Kosmic says.

With all that stipulated, here is Kosmic’s world record run in 5:01.370 — 360 milliseconds faster than andrewg’s 5:01:701 set July 15, 2017. Super Mario Bros. speedrunning community is nonstop competition; a run standing eight months there is remarkable.

A critical moment comes at 3:45 of the above video, when Kosmic is in World 8-2. “Let’s hit this pipe jump, man,” says Kosmic, following a flawless run to that point.

He doesn’t hit the pipe jump.

“I jump too low every time now,” he says. It’s like both a gymnast suffering a fractional deduction for taking half a step on the landing, and watching a sprinter grimace at 10 milliseconds as if missing their flight by an hour. “Whatever, I can get a [personal best] at least,” he says as he slogs on.

But Kosmic nails a pipe jump to begin 8-3, slightly slips on the ramp to the flagpole, and realizes he still has a shot at the world record. He perfectly times a jump into the first warp pipe on 8-4, and makes up a ton of time slaloming through the Firebars and Bloopers in the underwater portion. From there it’s all muscle memory, and he snips the wire in 5:01.370.

Here is Kosmic’s original Super Mario Bros. world record run of 4:56.462, set Jan. 29, 2018. In this, you can see the pipe jump that gave him so much trouble in 8-2 in All Stars isn’t needed. (3:30 of the video below.) He just passes right through the Piranha Plant’s mouth.

Kosmic thinks that if he can hit the pipe jump in All Stars he can breach the 5-minute mark. Those time barriers are a big reason why so many find speedrunning so intriguing. We’ll see Kosmic at Summer Games Done Quick from June 24 to July 1. He’s one of three slated for a Warpless run at Super Mario Bros., and he’s also down for a trick shot one-handed Any% run as a bonus game.

“One-handed’s gonna be interesting,” Kosmic says in the video at top. “It’ll be the most self-conscious I’ve been about ... pushing buttons. Hundreds of thousands of people staring right at what my hand is doing.”