Four minutes and 55 seconds: in two years, this was the fastest anyone could beat the original Super Mario Bros. to NES. It is such an exact world record that since 2018 there has been debate as to whether it could ever be overthrown. Within society, the mere idea of a race of 4:54 became legendary.
Lots have tried. In fact, at the time of writing, was Super Mario Bros. speedrun leaderboard has over 10 entries in the range of 4:55, where the difference between them comes down to milliseconds. And there is no joke about getting there – as YouTuber Bismuth explains in the documentary below, thousands of runs before the flagpole end on the first level.
Theoretically, a faster time has always been possible. At least that’s what tool-assisted speedruns, which can be written frame by frame, experts say. The question was whether one actually or not human could improve it, which is already an extremely optimized drive that requires pixel-perfect control. Already a time of 4:55 is almost flawless compared to what a computer can achieve (4: 54.26, for those who keep track).
And now, in 2021, someone has done it. The new record, called Historical by Society, was achieved by Twitch streamer Niftski. By 4:54:97 it’s now the fastest anyone has hit Super Mario Bros.
“This is insane,” Niftski said under the current. “It hit me, but it has not hit me fully.”
Now that the seemingly impossible has been achieved, the streamer ended his broadcast by announcing that he was developing new 2021 goals for the game.