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Here’s Why Speed Runners Obsess on One Particular SUPER MARIO BROS. Level

Here’s Why Speed Runners Obsess on One Particular SUPER MARIO BROS. Level

The first Super Mario Bros. for Nintendo, one of the most popular games in history, was released over three decades ago in 1985, so you would think any secrets it contained were discovered long ago. But one group of fans is still obsessed with finding ways to complete the beloved classic in the fastest way humanly possible, and a fascinating new video explores how that dedication has led gamers to go to insane levels to analyze one infamous level, world 4-2.

Via The A.V. Club, the YouTube channel Summoning Salt‘s video expertly walks us through the strangely intriguing world of speed running, which is all about how to finish a game as quickly as possible. Since even the most minor, practically unseen advantages can be the difference in setting a new record, any spot in the game can be the difference. That’s how world 4-2, which isn’t especially difficult but offers a portal to the the final world of level eight, has become the hot spot for speed runners obsession.

But the ways they have managed to cut time off their runs over the years goes well beyond improving their own playing skills–it extends to a deep understanding of the very coding of the game itself and how it can be manipulated. This isn’t a story about wasting time for fun; it’s one of dedication, knowledge, and pushing yourself beyond what anyone thought possible.

There may be few things less important in the world than how fast someone can beat Super Mario Bros., yet the ingenuity and obsession of speed runners to push themselves to be better is remarkable, especially when the level that has vexed them the most seems so simple on the surface.

While most of us were happy to discover that secret vine, we had no idea what other possibilities were lurking right there in front of us unseen. It make you wonder what other secrets remain to be found in the game in the next three decades.

Do you think this obsession is fascinating, or weird? Or both? Tell us why in the comments below.

Images: Summoning Salt

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