How to Speedrun Super Mario Bros. in Under 5 Minutes: A Comprehensive Guide

Super Mario Bros. is a timeless Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) platformer that has been mastered by experts for decades.   The current world record for a speedrun of Super Mario Bros. stands at 4:54.79, achieved by Kosmic in 2015.   This guide provides comprehensive instructions on how to achieve a sub-5-minute run, encompassing a wide range of fundamental movement techniques as well as advanced glitches and strategies.

Prior to beginning 

Before starting your speedrunning journey, it’s important to have the essential equipment: a NES or NES Classic Edition, a copy of Super Mario Bros., a controller, a timer, and a split timer.   Practice is crucial for success.

1. Learn the Basics:

a. Game Version:

Make sure you’re using the original NES version of Super Mario Bros. This guide is based on that version, and different versions may have variations in glitches and strategies.

b. Emulator vs. Console:

Many speedrunners use emulators for practice, but official records usually require console runs. Practice on both if possible.

2. Master the techniques:

a. Flagpole Glitch:

Learn about the flagpole glitch in World 1-1. This glitch involves grabbing the flagpole at a specific pixel to save time. There are detailed tutorials online for this glitch.

b. Pipe Jump:

Master the pipe jump in World 4-2. This involves jumping off a pipe at the correct pixel to skip a section of the level.

c. Bullet Bill Glitch:

In World 8-2, there’s a glitch that allows you to pass through the ceiling using a Bullet Bill. Practice this glitch to save time.

d. Wall Jump:

Learn to perform the wall jump in World 4–4. This technique helps you skip a section of the level.

e. Wrong Warp:

Understand the concept of wrong warps in Worlds 4-2 and 8-4. These warps involve triggering the pipe transition in a specific way to skip levels.

3. Study Level Specifics:

a. World 4-2:

Learn the various strategies for navigating 4-2 quickly, including the flagpole glitch and the pipe jump.

b. World 8-1:

Optimize your movement through 8-1, including the use of bullet bills to skip sections.

c. World 8-4:

Study the patterns of Bowser’s fireballs and master the wrong warp at the end of the level.

4. Memorize enemy patterns:

Knowing the patterns of enemies and obstacles is crucial. This includes Goombas, Koopas, and other hazards. Memorize their positions and movements to avoid unnecessary slowdowns.

5. Practice Regularly:

Consistent practice is key to improving your time. Use tools like save states or frame advance in emulators to practice specific sections repeatedly.

6. Watch Record Runs:

Study world-record runs to understand advanced strategies, routing, and optimization. Pay attention to the movements and decisions made by the top runners.

7. Join the community:

Engage with the Super Mario Bros. speedrunning community. Online forums, Discord channels, and streaming platforms are great places to learn from experienced runners and get feedback on your runs.

8. Be patient.

Achieving a sub-5-minute run is a significant challenge, and progress may be slow. Stay patient, analyze your mistakes, and continuously work on improving your time.

Remember, achieving a sub-5 minute time in Super Mario Bros. requires dedication, precision, and a deep understanding of the game’s mechanics and glitches. Good luck!

Additional Tips:

  • Use a controller that you are comfortable with.
  • Warm up before you start speedrunning.
  • Take breaks when you need them.
  • Don’t get discouraged. Everyone makes mistakes.
  • Have fun!

With dedication, precision, and a deep understanding of the game’s mechanics and glitches, you can aim for that coveted sub-5-minute time in Super Mario Bros. Good luck!