Super Mario Bros. World Record Now Just A Half-Second Short Of A Perfect Run

Here's a short, non-exhaustive list of things that take less than four minutes and 55 seconds to do. I devour a plate of loaded nachos. I eat a whole bowl of pasta (maybe a carbonara?). I'm writing a lede while I'm busy eating lunch. And a speedrunner blasting through Super Mario Bros., setting a new time in Nintendo's all-time classic side-scroller.
Yes, the supreme Mario speedrunner Niftski completed a run of under five minutes this weekend, breaking the existing world record by less than a second. The "any%" run - this term means that it's super cool to skip sections of the game - came in at an impressive 4:54,798.
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Niftski, who streams on Twitch and YouTube, has built a fan base for performing all sorts of speedrunning feats in Super Mario Bros., and is also responsible for the game's previous world record of 4:54,881, set last winter became. (Here's a video of that run.) This final run truncates Niftski's previous run by a total of five frames—that's the level of precision we're talking about here. It's really crazy. See for yourself:

Nintendo / Niftsky
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Throughout the run, Niftski utilizes Warp Zones - hidden areas that allow you to jump into the later worlds of the game - and makes sure to land right at the bottom of the flag at the end of each stage. (Each Super Mario Bros. level ends when you jump onto the flagpole at the end; Mario slides down the pole before proceeding to the next stage, sapping precious seconds.) You'll also find that Niftski plays with a keyboard, no gamepad.
"The emulation for this game is 100% accurate, which means anything that can be done on a NES can be done on [an] emulator," Niftski said in the description for the YouTube video. "There's no benefit to [using a] keyboard, and it's actually debatably worse for speedrunning this game. For personal reasons, I use [a] keyboard over [a] controller.”
This run is pushing Super Mario Bros. speedrunning ever closer to the abyss of a "perfect run" or a sprint through the game that literally couldn't be improved at all. The tool-supported SMB record is 4:54:265, showing that human players are still a little over half a second behind. If ever a perfect run is to happen, I bank on Niftski or the Mario Speedrunner Miniland, who held the world record in 4:54.914 ahead of Niftski.
"As this run completes, we are currently 0.533 seconds from TAS," noted one commenter on YouTube. "All these 0.1 second barriers will happen one day, and then we will achieve perfection."

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