News Article

UK Champion Sami Cetin Breaks World Record Barrier On First Ever Mario Kart Track

Posted by Damien McFerran

21 years after release, the record is pushed even further

On Christmas Day 2013 — 21 years after UK gamers received Super Mario Kart for the SNES — a great Time Trial World Record barrier was broken. The person who achieved this feat is none other than current UK Champion Sami Cetin, who is currently ranked 2nd overall Worldwide on the PAL version of the game has been hard at work on his Mario Circuit 1 World Record, which is so good it granted him entry to the Guinness World Records Gamers Edition 2012 as well as the main edition of the 2013 version of the record-keeping book.

Cetin and his competitors drive this course using high level boosting strategies — discovered by Japanese players in the 1990s — to help cut a lot of time off the track. His previous time of 58.34 seconds was already pretty amazing, but he already lowered it to an astonishing 58.06 seconds this autumn. On the 25th December — just after midnight, in fact — he earned himself a nice Christmas present by being the first player on Earth to break the 58 second barrier on the PAL version of the game with an epic new World Record of 57.90 seconds.

To mark this momentous occasion, Cetin has recorded his record-breaking lap:

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It is amazing to see World Records being broken on the original Super Mario Kart despite its distinguished age; many believe it has some of the best driving mechanics for great Time Trial competition. Cetin hasn't gone without competition though — his main rival Guillaume Leviach of France holds 17 PAL World Records against Cetin's 13 and both are continually improving to reach new targets on this classic game. Karel van Duijvenboden of the Netherlands — who is currently ranked 3rd overall on PAL and 1st on the NTSC version of the game — also holds several records across the tracks. Each year there are official Super Mario Kart World Championships held annually in France and all the players around the World meet up to race for Trophies, medals, and Nintendo prizes.

Cetin also trains with his niece Leyla Hasso who is the fastest female player in the World for Super Mario Kart SNES — as was officially recorded in Guinness World Records 2013 Gamer's Edition and the 2014 main edition of the book.

Mario Kart 8 is due for release on the Wii U in 2014 and judging by the activity in Super Mario Kart SNES and all the subsequent versions up to Mario Kart 7, we are sure to see some great Time Trial competition happening in the new sequel as well.

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User Comments (47)



Peach64 said:

I've always had admiration for people that are so dedicated to one game. It's the same with the guys going for that Donkey Kong world record, or the Street Fighter 2 players. I don't think I could do it, as I like to play as many games as I can rather than sink all my gaming time into one title like that, so kudos to them.



KevTastic84 said:

Very impressive, Never realised how much you could get away with racing on the dirt without it slowing you down. Guess its all about the timing of the jumps. I'd challenge people to some hardcore Double Dash time trials. But the snes games is probably the hardest of the series. 150cc Special Cup races are tough as nails to win.



DreamOn said:

Played this a lot when I was young with zero skills. This is a completely different affair.



SamiCetinSMK said:

Many thanks guys, if you have any further questions or would like to see some more videos please let me know. The off road boosting can be done in some format on most Mario Kart titles, but that is what Mario Kart is about, a racing game that bends reality a bit and is fun. There are even more crazy looking maneuvers that can be done on racing modes. The competition in the original Super Mario Kart is growing and we have more people digging out their SNES's to join our Time Trial World Rankings; and also the official World Championships annually every August France that is part sponsored by Nintendo of France. Looking forward to hear from you all.

Best Regards,
Sami Cetin



WiiLovePeace said:

Awesome run! Almost blindingly fast It does look like it can be further improved to, watching the previous best ghost in the video, looks like it was ahead for a while but then Sami took a better shortcut at some point & got a big lead but then the ghost caught up sometime after. If he could just combine the best parts of both runs into one then the time would be improved for sure

Though saying that I know that its easier said then done & requires amazingly large amounts of time & patience to learn & become one with the game I'm just saying it's not impossible to beat, just very hard. Which is good, there should never be a perfect time that can't be beaten or else time trials would become boring. Amazingly awesome run, congrats!



SamiCetinSMK said:

@WiiLovePeace Definitely agree, the driving technique required is ridiculously hard to get near low 58s anyway so getting the limit would be robotic. My potential is nearer the mid 57 but that's absolutely maxing it out. Driving old skool methods on the edge of the road are easier to get more consistent as you dont have to do the zig zag charges but just hop round corners. See the lap splits here in a 1'01"05 time driving on the edge of the road only (12"41 opener followed by four 12"16s!) It is just a shame that the World Record route for a simple track is that complex that none of the top players can get consistent lap splits. But always opening up new potential is great, it keeps us fighting for more...



Shiryu said:

Very impressive, never thought about cutting corners into the rough like that. Oh well... back to F-Zero!



GustavoMaciel said:

@SamiCetinSMK I know I could look it up on Google but I can ask the world champion, so why not... Does the off road boost consist simply in timing jumps perfectly so you spend the least time possible in the dirt? Or does it actually give you a little boost?



Ferret said:

Best Mario Kart game.

Tracks are too long nowadays and there's much less skill involved.



SamiCetinSMK said:

@gsmaciel Basically when you powerslide round a corner (hold L or R for long enough) then countersteer, you see the kart twitch a bit and the engine sound goes up for a moment. That is a mini boost. If you have played Mario Kart Super Circuit (Game boy advance) when you do exactly the same thing a blue spark comes out of the kart and you get the same boost. On Super Mario Kart you will have had this happen a lot after a hairpin turn. Now if you can trigger this just before any off road you can cut across a bit of it without slowdown. You just have to judge how much. Alternatively you can zig zag between left and right on the dpad fast to charge this boost as i have done here so it doesnt need to be done on a hairpin. But this is harder and can throw you off the racing line a bit. It is largely the same as generating any mini turbo on other mario kart games. But it appeared a bit more hidden / less obvious in SMK. However the off road boosting is only effective once absolutely maxing out normal driving, like the vid i posted above



Shiryu said:

@SamiCetinSMK Very impressive. Before there was the Internet I too tried to beat lap times that came printed in video game magazines only to find out much later on I was trying to beat NTSC 60Hz times on my PAL 50Hz machine. Good times!



SamiCetinSMK said:

@Shiryu F-Zero was actually the very first SNES game i played, didn't know anything of it at the time, but it was in 1992 in a Blockbuster video store locally to where i live. Great memories. I got that with Super Mario Kart that Christmas. The tunes are great in it also. As it was Mode 7 i picked up the driving techniques, but it is harder on some tracks. Unlike SMK which was reprogrammed for PAL, there is a direct conversion on F-Zero SNES between 50hz to 60hz so the times from all regions can be converted for comparison. The World Record (1'57"99 on NTSC 60hz) is insane and would match around 2'37"32 there on PAL. Different strategy though. Anyways, back to Super Mario Kart questions, il be around today if you have any more



Shiryu said:

@SamiCetinSMK Yes, F-Zero was the reason I upgraded from a Commodore Amiga to a Super Nintendo and never looked back, I'm a huge fan of the series and it's been hard having to wait an entire decade without a new home F-Zero game to scratch my speed itch. At least there is a new Mario Kart to look forward in a few months... best of luck in your new record attempts!

PS: Oh, you like the music in F-Zero? May I interest you in this 3 disc music compilation featuring rearranged/remixed music from every game I released a few weeks ago?



SamiCetinSMK said:

That sounds great, i will check it out. Let me know on facebook if there are any music projects like that going. Quite a few I know may be keen to hear some

@Falco Yep im around for Q&A's today



SamiCetinSMK said:

@gsmaciel @Peach64 @Shiryu @KevTastic84 @Falco @WiiLovePeace Another example on a different track that you may be keen to see is where normal hop jumping is the only way as opposed to off road boosts. The Ghost Valley and Vanilla Lake 2 tracks are a prime example where it is about timing jumps across gaps. You will have seen my niece Leyla Hasso mentioned; she drove a live record on twitch tv at the World Championships in August 2013 on the Vanilla Lake 2 track in 52.53 seconds. She is doing some attempts here, then at around 9:40 on the video she does the actual run, nice to see the reactions as well as the driving level.

Leyla and I will be attending some of the major Gaming / retro gaming events in the UK during the year also to do some more live demonstrations, races and tournaments for the visitors.



Nintenjoe64 said:

If only they did Miiverse for Wii I could play Mario Kart SNES and 64 (which I believe are 50Hz on a PAL Wii) and upload a shot of my best lap. Based on my failure to pull off a world record on MK Wii I doubt my SNES or 64 skills are good enough..... yet....



SamiCetinSMK said:

GEEK 2014 is in Margate from 21st to 23rd February (end of the sch half term week if i am right). Eurogamer will be in London, usually late September (get tickets early as poss as that always sells out. One of the best events is also Play Expo 2013 in Manchester which usuall happens in October, dates TBA online sometime in 2014. Look us up on those as we will be running some things.



Gioku said:

Interesting that Donkey Kong Jr. is used to set all these world records, haha!



SamiCetinSMK said:

@Gioku Donkey Kong Jr and Bowser have the exact same driving stats, it is just down to choice who the player prefers. But at the moment, Guillaume, Karel and I prefer the famous ape over Bowser for Time Trialing so yes he will have a majority for now until another rival does something about it



ULTRA-64 said:

@SamiCetinSMK as a retro enthusiast, do you still play the new editions of mk?, are you exited about mk8? And finally you respect all retro records or do you sometimes think "what a waste of time' if it's a game you didn't like much?



artofmana said:

I want to thank you for sharing this video. It certainly inspires me to try some new techniques in this game. I've loved it since it came out. Two questions: 1. When and how did you first learn about the starting line boost for this game (it seemed similarly obscured in the initial game)? 2. Do you play with a standard SNES controller or is there another controller you prefer to do these precise runs? Congratulations!



SamiCetinSMK said:

@ULTRA-64 I am mainly focused on the original Super Mario Kart only, though I used to compete for records on 64 well over 10 years ago and Super Circuit some years back. The reason mainly is time and availability around work, family and friends. Plus there are yearly world championships in the original SNES SMK so a lot of the available goes into training for that. Leyla and I were kindly interviewed by Nintendo at Eurogamer and also had a go at Mario Kart 8. I feel the driving will be similar to the Wii and MK7 however, but I am sure it will catch on well and there will be some great competition here also on Time Trial. I am good friends with a lot of record holders and pro gamers in different titles, and I definitely respect the time and focus they have put into their games. Main thing is to always make time for family, friends and other important things first, but if you have competitive video gaming as a hobby, it can be a lot of fun. Set realistic goals step at a time and see what you can hit. Definitely pick a game that you really enjoy and can excel at, more often it will be just one game in particular that stands out And enjoy it above all!



SamiCetinSMK said:

No problem at all, feel free to ask.
In answer to your questions, 1. Are you referring to the boost start? On PAL version it is roughly half way between the first and 2nd lights, on NTSC a little earlier. 2. Official SNES controller, probably one of the greatest controllers ever made. The R buttons can crack though if pressed too hard so handle them with care... a number of players compete on virtual console aswell to set records but maybe the wii classic controllers etc aren't as precise for the L and R button indentations. The official championships are all done on original SNES's. Have a look at this video, from the 2009 World Championships, we were featured on French television

We will be on twitch tv again live streaming in August 2014 hopefully. More news on that in the new year.



Shirma_Akayaku said:

Damn... I don't even... wow, people have A LOT of time on their hands. How often does this person play on Time Trials?



PinkSpider said:

Still don't understand how he can go faster than someone who doesn't hit the dirt.... Very odd



Drawdler said:

@SamiCetinSMK Respect, man! I love time trial modes in games, when I can just perfect my technique with them, it's tons of fun. It's great to see that such an old game still has an active community for this. Congrats on your new record- especially on Christmas!



SamiCetinSMK said:

@PinkSpider Hello, please read my replies to the various comments above, I explain the boosting in the game, which you all would have done on regular hairpins. It is just generated before some off road and the boost keeps your speed up for a bit, you just have to judge how much you can cut max.



SamiCetinSMK said:

@Rosalina Infact we don't have a lot of time... wish we did. I am 31 now and busy with work and family, so when I was in my teens I had a lot more holidays etc. So I probably play on and off for short sessions of 30-60 minutes sometimes maybe a few times a week, and then train with my niece Leyla Hasso who is also setting records actively. Most of the competition are aged 25-40 so a lot of them have busy careers, families and children of their own. But they probably limit their gaming just to this and maybe a couple of things on a handheld console for chillout when they are out and about.



SamiCetinSMK said:

@1337man1233 In this game, Bowser and D.K.Jr have precisely the same driving stats. The only difference is their design. Some prefer using one or the other. Similarly, Mario / Luigi are indentical, Yoshi / Princess and Toad Koopa. So there are four character types. Always the heavyweights will get the best times. You may only want to use the lightweight characters for Battle mode.



chibichibi said:

@WiiLovePeace If you look at the end of the video you'll see his record lap of 11:23, so if he did 4 absolutely perfect laps and added that to his first lap time he'd get 56.95, almost a whole second faster so there's clearly room for improvement but as Sami says, it'd require an almost robotic level of performance.



SamiCetinSMK said:

@chibichibi @WiiLovePeace
No the lap splits are not possible to get 4 lots of 11"23. That is the final lap strategy, which is faster as you finish in the sand, and the kart would slow down just after where the finish line is. So there is an opener lap which can be done just under 12 at max, then middle laps which are in the high 11"4x to low 11"5x and the fast lap for the final lap only which at the moment World Record is 11"23. The max potential is nearer a mid 57 but the zig zag charges to generate boosts makes it extremely difficult to stay on the shortest racing line as well.



WiiLovePeace said:

@SamiCetinSMK yeah fair enough, plus you hold the record right now, might as well just sit on it 'til someone else beats it That's how I would do it anyway haha.

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