Super Mario Bros.
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Despite being one of the oldest entries in a series which has spawned countless sequels and spin-offs, the original Super Mario Bros. continues to make headlines all over the world thanks to the fact that it's been the target of some seriously passionate speedrunning attempts.

Speedrunner Niftski – who set a world record of 4:54:631 in the 'Super Mario Bros. any%' category last year – has just clocked up a world record of 5:02:685 in the 'glitchless' category – in which the use of exploits is banned (thanks, GamesRadar).

The person he beat? Himself. Niftski has held the world record in particular this category since 2022, with his previous best time being 5:02:785.

This is all pretty cool in itself, but what makes this run even more impressive is that it's agonisingly close to reaching machine-level perfection.

Speedrunners often perform Tool-Assisted Speedruns (TAS) to see what the theoretical ceiling is for any given run – as the name suggests, these runs are aided by tools which get as close as possible to the 'perfect' run.

Niftski's latest record is just 12 frames away from the time achieved in the TAS glitchless run – which means he's touching distance away from the 'perfect' run.

Amazingly, he's far from finished. "I do not plan on just stopping here," Niftski explains. "I would love to push this to a lower 5:02.6xx in the future since there are 3 easy frames to save in first room." Niftski feels that a 5:02.5xx time is possible, but only if he can master a difficult acceleration trick multiple times through the game's final level.

"If I were to ever achieve this, it would definitely be my stopping point," he adds.