2019 is only a few months in, and it’s already been a wild ride — every day, there are a handful of headlines that seem autogenerated by some malevolent force of chaos. Somehow, though, a video about Super Mario 64 is now high up there as one of the most ridiculous things I’ve seen this year so far.
Super Mario 64 extraordinaire pannenkoek2012 — you might know him as the guy who has beat levels without jumping, or the guy who talks about parallel Mario universes — recently uploaded a variety of videos to his secondary YouTube channel. These videos are the mastermind’s foray into the “no joystick allowed” challenge, in which he beats Mario levels without moving forward. They’re all worth watching, but the most impressive one has got to be his crack at Bowser in the Dark World.
While this is a tool-assisted run, you can tell that a ton of thought has gone into it. Routing a course through an entire level without using your primary movement option requires exact planning. Mario has to put himself into danger — sometimes intentionally letting himself get hit by enemies — to get into the exact place he needs to be. While pannenkoek2012 doesn’t use the joystick, he does make ample use of Mario’s entire toolset. Watching this is a great reminder of just how complex Mario’s movement options are: Even without using the joystick, he’s still got plenty of tricks up his sleeve.
Getting through the level is impressive, but then pannenkoek2012 actually defeats Bowser without the joystick. You might think: Wait a minute. Don’t you need to use the joystick to launch Bowser into the air? Well, no. pannenkoek2012 makes sure to grab Bowser right near the platform explosives, which take care of him without needing to use the joystick. Incredible.