Tool-assisted game movies
When human skills are just not enough

Submission #2908: HappyLee's NES Super Mario Bros "lowest score (500)" in 14:32.8

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Super Mario Bros
Game version: JPN/USA PRG0
ROM filename: Super Mario Bros. (JU) [!].nes
Branch: lowest score (500)
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 14:32.8
FrameCount: 52454
Re-record count: 38625
Author's real name: Lee
Author's nickname: HappyLee
Submitter: HappyLee
Submitted at: 2010-11-13 11:00:20
Text last edited at: 2010-11-20 20:08:43
Text last edited by: Nach
Download: Download (15047 bytes)
Status: decision: rejected
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Author's comments and explanations:
There are many methods for passing a classic game like Super Mario Bros, for example, warpless and walkathon. The movie I made aimed at a different strategy, to complete this game with the lowest score (500) without using replay, which is still scarce here.

(Link to video)


  • Complete the game with the lowest score (500)
    • As fast as possible
      • As entertaining as I can

How come 500 is the lowest score?

Good question. Super Mario Bros can be completed without touching any enemies or getting any goods, which few one could imagine I believe. The only necessary kind of points is getting 100 points when you grab the flagpole in each stages.

But getting the lowest score may not be as simple as you think. As a matter of fact, there really are some places where are hard to get through without any points. 4-2, for example. You can get no point either by climbing the vine with the help of the lift or by entering the pipe like I did in this run. And for the big hole in 8-1 that has 2 coins above it, you can hardly survive from that one.

In 1-1, 4-1, 8-1, 8-2, 8-3, you have to wait for the time decreases to 0, or you'll get more than just 100 points on the flagpole, possibly fireworks, too. I did the flagpole glitch everytime as same as always, because it's the fastest way. I have tried to make the flagpole send Mario to the left to end the level, but unfortunately it goes slowlier for some reasons.

A lowest score run can be entertaining

In people's opinions, waiting for the time goes by is kind of boring. No, it can be as entertaining as any other speedruns.

I have performed lots of tricks to keep this movie entertaining all the way. For example, walljumps, moonwalks, wall passing, and hiding from enemies. Those are several skills that are often shown in this movie, there are other tricks that have never shown before in my runs, too.

Most entertaining parts of this run

You don't want to miss these following performances, do you?
  • 1-1: Gaining a jumping mushroom, due to the help of the jumping star
  • 4-1: Walking between 2 spines that were so closed to Mario
  • 8-1: Walljumping backwards and forwards
  • 8-2: Getting the 1UP mushroom upside-down by design
  • 8-3: Playing jokes on hammer brothers
  • A special dance for all in the end of 8-3

A nice snapshot for everyone, hope you like this run!

Nach: This run is a bit shocking. I sat down to watch it thinking 15 minutes is going to be a snooze. Much to my surprise and delight, this run is a lot more exciting than I expected. Mario dances figure eights around enemies as if they weren't even there. Reminds me of Gradius. The first level was very boring, but 4-1 is a lot more exciting with the Spinys raining down. 8-1 is a pure delight. 8-2 and 8-3 are in a league of their own. Playing with the Hammer Bros. is one of the most exciting things I've seen in a TAS. Dancing to the music was appreciated too.

Overall, I think this run provides a lot more entertainment than a standard 5 minute TAS of this game. In terms of meeting its defined goals it also does it well. For the goals in question, speed-wise, this movie will also be hard to beat.

Now the question is, does this deserve publication or not? There is a lot of time seemingly "wasted", and the beginning is lackluster. On the other hand, so are playarounds of other games filled with auto-scrolling. The Judge Guidelines state: "A run for a proposed new branch for a game should offer compelling differences relative to previously published runs of that game.". I think that is undeniable fact in this case. Further: "don't publish an arbitrarily rule-restricted movie just because there are too few movies for that game; doing so may lead to impossible-to-solve 'why A but not B' debates later.". A role of "lowest possible score" is less arbitrary than a lot of other goals we've seen people submit. Accepting this certainly wouldn't be solely because there are too few runs for this game.

Then there's the player guidelines which state: "Please note that we do not accept an indefinite number of variants for any given game. Any more than 3 for a game is very uncommon.". It's not a hard limit, so I can see us bending the rules if a run really deserves it. But does it? This run only has a 40% approval rating.

If we cut out the "perfect" parts of the run such as 1-2, 4-2, and 8-4, we're left with levels which need to "waste time" and provide a lot of entertainment. If we can put 1-1, and the slow parts of 4-1 in one movie, and the rest of it in another movie, I think we'd have a consensus to reject the former and accept the latter as a playaround. As it stands, I can't see this movie being anything more than a concept movie.

So should I reject it based on the former, or accept it as a concept run based on the latter? I'll reserve judgment for a few more days in hope that others will refute pros or cons I listed here. Please comment on these points.

Nach: Thanks for everyone who commented further. It seems the added entertainment to this run is outweighed by the boring sections and the repetitiveness of the entertainment itself. Rejecting.

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