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

Submission #4409: Mars608 & HappyLee's NES Super Mario Bros "warpless, walkathon" in 25:19.23

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Super Mario Bros
Game version: JPN/USA
ROM filename: Super Mario Bros. (JU) [!].nes
Branch: warpless, walkathon
Emulator: FCEUX 2.2.1
Movie length: 25:19.23
FrameCount: 91304
Re-record count: 36419
Author's real name: Yan Yuli & Li Tianda
Author's nickname: Mars608 & HappyLee
Submitter: HappyLee
Submitted at: 2014-08-17 07:12:41
Text last edited at: 2014-08-23 07:56:49
Text last edited by: feos
Download: Download (22188 bytes)
Status: published
Click to view the actual publication
Submission instructions
Discuss this submission (also rating / voting)
List all submissions by this submitter
List pages on this site that refer to this submission
View submission text history
Back to the submission list
Author's comments and explanations:
Greetings, everyone. This is Mars608 and me (HappyLee) presenting you a brand new SMB warpless walkathon, which is a 650 frame (10.82 seconds) improvement over Mars608's previous movie.

(Link to video)
Download 1024x960 HD encode
Watch comparison video on YouTube
Download comparison video

Something HappyLee'd like to say

Although Mars608 used to help me a lot over my former movies, it's been really a great time since we actually work together for this project. He's a hard-working perfectionist like me, and our skills and opinions of entertainment complement each other, so we both think that together we can make a great TAS.

Almost all the time-saving improvements came from me, except for 3-2 and 5-4 which are already known before Mars submitted the previous movie. Some of the improvements (like 2-1 and 4-1) came from a sudden inspiration after finishing the level, so I went back to check it out immediately after I got the inspiration. Some of them (like 1-4, 4-3 and 6-4) came from elaborate strategies including lots of testings and calculations. Only 1-3 and 8-4 were improved by doing the required actions more accurately.

Before I started testing 4-3, I told Mars that the largest improvement had to come from this level. After hundreds of attempts, I managed to find a perfect solution that saved over 6 seconds. After that I predicted at least 21 frames could be saved in 6-4, and it proved that my feelings were right again.

Although there were many high technical improvements in this movie that required extremely accurate movements such as 4-1 and 4-3, I have to say that the most difficult one came from 1-4. Mars told me a long time ago, that the frame rule in castles seemed to be quite different from the warpless run, and it had something to do with Mario's screen X position. I found it a bit odd at first, but after I tested 1-4 I found out that there was a "32 frame rule" happening between Mario hitting the axe and the bridge starting to collapse, and it depended on the frame Bowser was loaded. Because of that, in order to end the level faster, I had to make the bridge (or the rope) disappear as soon as possible to catch the 21 frame rule, so I should try to reach the axe earlier while shortening the frames wasted for the 32 frame rule at the same time, therefore it was really crucial to adjust Mario's screen X position precisely and choose the best time to load Bowser. Unfortunately after thousands of attempts, I was stuck in a condition that needed only 1 frame to break the frame rule and save 21 frames, though my feelings told me there must be a way to get that 1 frame. After a long time's struggle, Mars pointed that about 1 pixel can be saved by slowing down a bit and jumping through the wall 1 frame later, then I realized that it could be the only possible key to solve this problem. Indeed, the frame loading the Bowser was ideal, just enough to make the bridge collapse immediately after Mario hit the axe, and 21 frames were saved that way. Strange to say, I cannot recall exactly how many times I met a "1 frame problem" like that in my previous SMB TASes (perhaps over 10 times, even in 1-3 of this project), but I wonder why most of the times that 1 frame has its solution to be saved. Is it pure coincidence or because persistence makes miracles? I guess the world is full of surprises, even in Mario's world.

The only pity of this movie is that we had to lose 21 frames in 5-2 due to bad luck. We tried our best to manipulate the perfect Bullet Bill, but we couldn't get it as Mars got the last one. It's not our fault I guess, because as a result, the chance of getting a perfect Bullet Bill in 5-2 is slim, sometimes even impossible, and that's why Mars hadn't improved 21 frames from 3-2 last time. We were not able to prove that it's absolutely impossible not to lose 21 frames, and the only thing we could do is trying and trying with different approaches. One of the craziest ideas Mars brought up, was to hit an axe while getting hurt from Bowser at the same time, which can be done properly in 2-4 without losing 21 frames, creating a damaged big body similar to the famous "small fiery Mario" glitch. Remarkably, the glitch itself would cost 2 frames which would remain from then on, while shifting the random factor of enemies for another 2 frames, making it worth it if 21 frames can be saved from 5-2. We all thought that it could make the movie a lot entertainer if the glitch could actually save time in 5-2 by shifting the random factor, but unfortunately it didn't, so we had no choice but to give up that brilliant idea that would cost 2 frames.

Another idea brought up by Mars was, what if we got hurt in 6-4 to skip those Fire Bars and got a mushroom elsewhere (or changed into a damaged big body in 2-4, got a mushroom and then got hurt in 6-4 to recover the big body). I tested it seriously, and it turned out to be slower than the strategy I used. So you see, we've already thought way beyond what this movie has shown.

By the way, the record count of this movie file is totally not accurate, mainly because Mars has a habit of creating a new movie file every time he starts TASing, and we've used TAS Movie Editor to copy inputs very often. Actually the real number of record count should be way, way larger than that, just in case you wonder.

A part of the credits goes to MUGG, who first proved that a warpless walkathon is possible by managing to pass the large hole with a Koopa Troopa walking in mid-air. Although the solution in 4-3 has been improved a lot by Mars and me, we must thank MUGG for his epic discovery that made it all happen. Thanks to 87316156 for helping us test 5-2 and more. And finally we'd like to thank everyone who enjoys the movie.

Up to now, every SMB TAS published here (except Extra Mario Bros run) has been improved to its theoretical time limit. I hope my work over the years has demonstrated that SMB runs are more than just speed records, but also something beautiful and incredible making you believe that wonders may come true. Thank you very much.

Something Mars608'd like to say

My main part of this movie was to improve the entertainment, and I tried my best to maximize the entertainment value in each stage. Killing 100% Cheep-cheeps while collecting 100% coins in both 2-3 and 7-3, and getting "8000" score twice in 3-1 are my proudest achievements.

Due to the particularity of walkathon, some stages may become a lot harder than usual, typical cases of which would be 1-4, 2-3, 6-4 and 7-3. In 2-3 and 7-3, Cheep-cheeps that usually fell behind would almost all crush above Mario's head, making it not easy to complete without slowing down. This time I improved last time's basis with 100% coins, and I should say it's tough. When watching, people may feel that a large quantity of Cheep-cheeps were "butted" to death, while they were actually killed in the following ways:

  • As long as Mario hits a Cheep-cheep with downward Y speed, even though it's just a little, it would result in the death of the Cheep-cheep. So although it looks like to be "butted" to death, it's actually "stomped" to.
  • As we all know, if Mario hits a leaping Koopa Paratroopa during the rising period of jumping, sometimes it counts as killing the Koopa Paratroopa while Mario continues to move upwards for a distance. This method of killing also applies to flying Cheep-cheeps.
  • Similar to the previous one, when Mario jumps through the internal body of a leaping Koopa Paratroopa or a Cheep-cheep, it can probably also count as "stomping" it. In this case we could call it "butted" to death, though it's actually caused by programming errors of this game.

It's a real pleasure working with HappyLee. Last time when I made it alone, I had to bite the bullet and face the water stages and other things I'm not good at on my own. With HappyLee's help covering my weaknesses, the quality of our movie has been elevated to a new level.

(Translated by HappyLee. Sorry for the potential mistakes. )

Level comments

Levels done by Mars608: 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 2-3, 2-4, 3-1, 3-2, 3-3, 4-2, 4-4, 5-1, 5-3, 5-4, 6-1, 6-3, 7-1, 7-3, 8-1, 8-2.

Levels done by HappyLee: 1-4, 2-1, 2-2, 3-4, 4-1, 4-3, 5-2, 6-2, 6-4, 7-2, 7-4, 8-3, 8-4.

21 frames were saved for better optimization at the mushroom and the last Koopa. Having touched the flagpole 5 frames earlier, just enough to break a framerule.
21 frames were saved for a different strategy including going through a wall, and strict optimization for Bowser. Going through the wall not only saved the time waiting to pass the Fire Bars, but also provided the opportunity to manipulate screen X position and shorten the time the bridge starting to collapse (see HappyLee's comments for more introductions).
166 frames were saved for jumping into the sky stage through a pipe for a shortcut. People already know that dying in the sky stage leads to the exit, and without the vine, Mario's able to kill himself more quickly by throwing himself into the small hole, and the key to that is Mario getting to the sky scene through a pipe (similar to 4-2 of SMB warped run), which makes the whole solution cleverer than usual. I had to give up the thought of getting the star to make it even more interesting because time wouldn't allow it.
Just like the last movie, vine glitch was used and a special ending using the flagpole glitch on the right side of the screen. Mars608 did an extraordinary work on entertainment, including getting "8000" score twice, and the last shell kick near the flagpole was epic.
21 frames were saved for reasons known while making the first warpless walkathon TAS.
Just like the previous movie, Mario went through the ground with the help of a balanced lift to search for a special ending. The movement I first found in the warpless run can actually save lots of time in warpless walkathon.
21 frames were saved for a brand new strategy of repeatedly pushing Mario to the right side of the screen and performing the marginal flagpole glitch. 21 frames can be saved over the warped walkathon TAS in 4-1 using the similar way, but it's a pity that 4-1's the only level which can be saved time in with the particular strategy.
378 frames were saved for a better strategy of kicking the shell, which saved a time waiting for the Koopa's recovering. More time would be saved if it weren't for the fireworks that had to be avoided, so I did an extra walljump at the end to entertain.
The first level in this movie using a Bullet Bill to skip the castle ending. The same old glitch was performed 4 times later in 5-2, 7-1, 8-2 and 8-3, and by coincidence, all 5 Bullet Bills used in this movie are the same height.
21 frames were lost due to lack of luck (see HappyLee's comments for more introductions). Also it's the first SMB TAS submitted here that has ever used a star, for fun.
21 frames were saved, mostly because Mars608 had to slow down to manipulate the Bowser during his last movie, but not this time.
An obscure wall bump was used at the right side of the pipe below the vine to make the vine translate Mario further to the right edge of the screen, but still not enough to preform the marginal flagpole glitch, so Mario performed an extra walljump on a pipe before the vine. Although it's slightly faster to bump into another pipe or the block on the bottom of the flagpole, it's not entertaining enough and won't save time. Also I tried to grab the star as a wall bump but it would waste 21 frames, so it turned out that 5-2 was the only possible level to get a star without time loss.
21 frames were saved for a different strategy similar to 1-4, except more complicated. Mario bumped into the wall twice before actually going into the wall, mostly for manipulating screen X position and having fun while awaiting the Fire Bars. Although the vertical position passing through the wall was chosen 1 brick higher than 1-4 to avoid getting hurt from the Fire Bar, the new route was still faster than the old one.
Mario went through the brick an extra time to manipulate screen X position and to make the castle maze more interesting, with no time loss (though slightly slower).
1 frame was saved in the second stage, at the walljump on the upper pipe, to our surprise. A moonwalk was performed later, just like before.


(Which one above do you think is better for publication? Thanks. )

feos: Judging!!!

feos: Removed the FDS flag from the movie file.

feos: Accstarblishing...

Similar submissions (by title and categories where applicable):