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Only A Computer Could Do This Super Mario Bros. Trick—Until Now

The Super Mario Bros. speedrunning community is constantly looking for new ways to push the state of the art, and one player just achieved what was previously thought of as an impossible feat…at least for a human.

In 2018, speedrunner HappyLee used a computer assist to demonstrate a new method to shave a few frames off of Super Mario Bros. world 4-2. It involved using precise inputs to make Mario glitch (clip) through a row of blocks—the top row—near the start of the level, which pushed him rightward faster than ever before. Then it required a super-precise jump onto a warp pipe. The speedrunning community had assumed a full, perfect run of 4-2 using this “top clip” trick could never be performed by human means due to the sheer precision required, and luckily, it has since discovered alternate, easier methods for min-maxing 4-2. But on Monday, a speedrunner named Tole managed to perform the “top clip” 4-2 trick without computer assistance.

Here’s what’s happening: Through precise inputs, Tole made Luigi clip through the corner of the top block, touching the ground inside of the wall for one frame, and then jump out from inside of the wall. According to HappyLee’s original discovery, this maneuver should shave three frames from the run. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s particularly important in world 4-2 because of a Super Mario Bros. concept called frame rules.

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