Image: Vincent Bisschop

For many players, speedrunning is the ultimate way to show off your skill. While certain games require talent to remember movies or perfect strategies, the art of speedrunning arguably calls for even greater concentration and focus, with the smallest mistake costing valuable seconds and potentially destroying record-breaking attempts.

As one of best Nintendo games of all time, Super Mario 64 has been very popular with speedrunners in recent years, and the record has changed hands many times over. The current star of this particular scene is 22-year-old Allan Alvarez, better known as Cheese05. He's only been speedrunning Mario 64 for the past three years but in that time he has dominated the competition; when fellow speedrunner Puncayshun snatched the record recently, Alvarez broke it back less than 24 hours later – by a full twenty seconds. The record stands at 1:39:00.

Speaking to Red Bull, Alvarez thinks he could be even quicker - but the issue now is that new tricks and strategies to shave off seconds are drying up, and as a result there's less and less room for improvement:

Every time saving strat in a 120 star run surely has been found, because Mario 64 has been speedrun for more than 10 years. There are thousands and thousands of tricks that everyone knows already. New strategies are just very, very rare. 

But can Alvarez better this time? It's a question he gets asked a lot:

That’s the question that everyone asks me. I don't know how to answer it. I'm not sure – I actually think that 1:38 might be a goal for me in the near future. A lot of people were saying ‘Oh, I think the best time can be a mid 1:39 this year’, but it’s already been achieved halfway through the year. I would definitely say yes if I continue grinding like I am right now.

The only question is: Will I have the motivation to do so? It gets very stressful and hard after months of doing it every day. So it’s all up to me and if i have the motivation to do so. If I do I will definitely say that yes, 1:38 can be achieved this year but it’s all up to my motivation.

I need Puncayshun to keep playing the game for me to have motivation.

The full interview is well worth a read - you can check it out here.