In my humble opinion, Super Mario Bros 3 is one of the greatest games ever made. I can recall sitting on the floor, so close to the TV that my mom would tell me my eyes would stick in a cross-eyed position if I didn’t scoot back, playing for hours as a little kid. Now an adult, I still love hooking up my NES and trying to run through the levels with a smile on my face.
That’s about as far as I’ve ever taken Super Mario Bros 3, playing countless times and considering it a good day when I make it to the giant world. Have you ever thought you were a good Mario player? Ever finish the game so fast that you thought you couldn’t possibly complete the levels faster? Well, if you’re Freddy Andersson, Swedish speed runner, that might actually be true. Freddy has held the world record for speed running Super Mario Bros 3 since 2009 (according to Speed Demos Archive), and with a time of 10 min 48 sec I don’t see myself, or anyone for that matter, getting a better run anytime soon.
Freddy’s run was completed on the NES version of the game and used warps for the incredible “any %” run. He has been speed running Super Mario Bros 3 for over 5 years, holding the world record in 2007, then retook the title in 2009 after his 2007 time was beaten. So what does it take to put together a successful speed run in Super Mario Bros 3? Quite a bit of practice and a lot of luck.
A short note Freddy attached to the world record run: “The game itself is kinda frustrating to run sometimes. I passed the hand level 26 times out of 248 times I reached them. That means more than 90 % of the runs [were] ruined there. Then you have to keep playing perfectly and hope that the sun does not [show] up on a bad spot in 8-2. You also have to play four boring slow-scrolling levels. You better [have] good patience if you try to run this game. I think this really is a high quality NES speedrun of the moment and that I really took the record to another level…I was planning to hold this record for a while.” He also wishes luck to anyone who attempts to beat his world record winning run.
Wanna see the run? Here’s a taste:
Here’s a few stats Freddy kept track of while attempting to break the record:
Total amount of attempts: 2968
Attempts that reached World 8: 354
Attempts that ended during “Tank 1” or “Tankship” level: 91
Attempts that reached the hand levels: 248
Finished attempts: 115
I am a self-proclaimed speed runner, running a few odd-ball games to satisfactory times, but I think I’ll leave Super Mario Bros 3 to Freddy. The fond memories and occasional joy I feel from nostalgia is worth more to me than the world record and all the frustration putting together a great speed run brings. Well, if we’re being honest, no matter how much I practiced I don’t think I could get even close to the world record time.
With competitive gaming on the rise, do you think speed running will ever be a popular head to head spectacle? What was your favorite game as a young gamer?