News Article

Weirdness: Super Mario Bros. 3 Can Be Beaten in Under Three Minutes

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Amazing scenes

Speedruns remain a popular part of gaming culture, ranging from current day titles to treasured retro classics. Super Mario Bros. 3 naturally gets the treatment plenty of times, but two intrepid speed runners have now found a glitch that allows it to be beaten in under three minutes.

Lord Tom and Tompa are the duo that have worked on putting the speedrun together, utilising "some esoteric memory corruption involving glitched pipe travel" to trick level 7:1 into sending Mario down into the abyss where, at the end, Princess Peach awaits rescue. Some of the moves required are seriously impressive, and to the speed runner's credit they want this run to be categorised separately from glitch-free alternatives, in a desire that this won't replace arguably more impressive runs.

This is quite an achievement in its own way, nevertheless, and you can read all the details of how it's done right here. Below are two videos — the first shows the run on a tool-assisted emulator, and below is a marginally slower run completed on NES hardware.

Check them out and let us know what you think.

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User Comments (46)



Erixsan said:

For me, using tools is cheating.
If bet it's almost impossible to do it on the legal way.



Yiffy said:

Being able to run TASes on console is really impressive. I enjoyed the AGDQ TAS block a lot!



mystman12 said:

Um, isn't the second video not tool assisted? Pretty cool anyway, I love video game glitches like this!



KevTastic84 said:

Yeh watch the second vid. Very impressive skills. I was wondering what the hell they were doing warping to World 7 when they were doing a speed run lol



Jazzer94 said:

Knew it was going to be a TAS run even before clicking the article pity.



Yosher said:

@Erixsan Of course it's not going to be possible without tools, unless one has reflexes that great, which I doubt anybody has. But that's not even the point of these things. The point of these is just to show what's possible when you push a game to its limits.



Greenalink said:

@Erixsan & @Yosher
I know a few who can do it on actual console, real time including Producks and Duckfist. Unfortunately it's very hard to achieve.

(To everyone)
The second video is basically this:

"This run is played back on an unmodified NES console.
The only inputs to the console are the controller inputs.
Input provided to console by true's NES/SNES replay device."



Yorumi said:

It's an impressive feat but not exactly surprising. Every kid know where the warp whistles are and how to get to world 8. Most kids could beat the game in 15 or 20 minutes without intentionally going for speed.



0utburst said:

Amazing! Especially those backwards running lol. I should get started playing my VC games soon.



ShanaUnite said:

Well this is rather unique. I myself prefer to play the game without warp whistles though



Gridatttack said:

Saw this yesterday. I say the one with SMW is better, when they execute arbitrary code and the manage to program pong and snake via controller imputs :3
Also lol at people who are saying TAS is cheating. The 2 are completely unrelated



TruenoGT said:

The amazing thing to me is that it takes less time to BEAT the game than it takes a "modern" game to even LAUNCH from power on.



GeminiSaint said:

Tool-Assisted is a different category, separate from real-time, non-tool-assisted. Both are legit in their respective, separate circles.



grimbldoo said:

Thomas Whitehead wrote:

to the speed runner's credit they want this run to be categorized separately from glitch-free alternatives, in a desire that this won't replace arguably more impressive runs.

What does that even mean? This is obviously not glitch-free so it automatically doesn't get placed there. Also, it's a TAS, and would get put into that category automatically as well.



Pod said:

Pretty crazy for a glitch like that to have remained undiscovered for so many years.



ChessboardMan said:

Even without the glitch, there's some impressive moves there. I never knew, nor imagined, that the wall climb with a shell was possible…



PrincessEevee9 said:

@Yiffy Go troll some other board then. And I know plenty, can'tbother using the two warp whistles clearly freely given in the first couple of levels to speedrun the game then you don't deserve praise.



Greenalink said:

The run is different enough to warrant a new category called Game End Early glitch.

Before the discovery of the bug, there's 3 main speed run categories including:
Warps - Using the 2 warp whistles to skip most of the game, clear W8-Bowser's Castle
Warpless - Complete W8-Bowser's Castle as quick as possible without using warp whistles .
100% - Clear every single main stage (not counting Hammer Bro encounters).

Those 3 runs all have a traditional end (to defeat Bowser), this run doesn't.



KingMike said:

It uses a device that takes an input log from an emulator and feeds it into a real console, in theory allowing a TAS to run on a console (although not always, sometimes consoles can have a more random bootup, causing desync).



grimbldoo said:

I know. I was just pointing out how pointless their comment to appear selfless was as the game was very obviously completed using a glitch and could not be considered a glitch-free run.



Lobster said:

None of these super fast runs are glitch free anyway. I think it's really cool when people find new ones after all this time!
Also, glitches are not the same as cheating.



Bender said:

I do honestly feel like a tool-assisted run seems a bit cheap, but the actual on-NES run was awesome.



CookYouVillain said:

Really enjoyed this, had to keep winding back to see how they did that in level 1 on world 7. Amazing what people find out!



CookYouVillain said:

Really enjoyed this, had to keep winding back to see how they did that in level 1 on world 7. Amazing what people find out!



StarDust4Ever said:

Well, there you have it, folks... Mario 64 broken with zero star runs, Super Mario World violated with arbitrary code, OOT and Majoras Mask random warps, and now good old Super Mario Brothers 3. Bowser never saw him coming!



Alucard83 said:

Even though it's impressive but what the point rushing through a game without really enjoying it i'm questioning.

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