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Game Resources / N64 / Super Mario 64

The purpose of this page is to document all of the known tricks of the game Super Mario 64, one of two launch titles for the N64 system.
Because of the nature of this site, we concentrate on tricks that are most useful in the making of tool-assisted speedruns. Many of these tricks are difficult to reproduce in real time, so a TAS-capable emulator is a must-have.

BLJ (Backwards Long Jump)

See also: List of BLJ Locations

The BLJ has puzzled many gamers and glitch finders ever since its discovery, and it can be used in various ways. It is a result of a minor oversight by the game's programmers: there is no reasonable cap on Mario's speed when it goes negative. BLJs can only be done while standing next to certain slopes, stairways, and obstacles. Do a long jump facing away from the obstacle but moving backwards towards it. Mario will collide with it, leaving him on the ground and enabling him to backwards long jump again. This causes a speed increase of approximately 45-50% of Mario's currently stored speed each time it is repeated. Once the desired speed is reached, simply stop jumping and Mario will zoom off backwards at incredibly high speed. If you continue BLJing long enough, Mario's speed, stored in a float, will eventually reach -229399772256808620000000000000000000000, then tick over to -1.#INF, and then stop increasing.

You can use BLJs to:

Types of BLJ

While all BLJs work by the same principal, there are many different methods of pulling it off. There are numerous places where a BLJ is possible throughout the game (virtually every level contains at least one), and it is unlikely that all such locations have been discovered.

Slope BLJ

Possible on very steep slopes that do not cause Mario to slide. Most of the slopes on the roof of the castle are suitable for this kind of BLJ.

Elevator BLJ

This probably the easiest one to do. BLJs are possible on rising elevators because the elevator will catch up to Mario as soon as he leaves the ground, interrupting the first jump and allowing him to jump again. The elevators in Hazy Maze Cave and Bob-omb Battlefield are good places to practice.

Low Ceiling BLJ

These are probably the trickiest locations to find because some of them are invisible or are just plain easy to overlook. Mario doesn't even have to get jammed in order for it to work since in a tight space Mario's speed does not return back to normal before he can BLJ again. One example of a low ceiling BLJ is under either of the Lobby pillars.

Stair BLJ

The first kind of BLJ to be discovered. A stair BLJ involves using tiny ledges, getting Mario trapped inside and BLJing. This makes Mario appear on top of the stair. This effect must be prolonged to build up Mario's speed. This can be done going up a stairway, thus using a multitude of tiny ledges to build up speed, or by facing sideways and by just using one stair or ledge. To achieve this effect, Mario must first be almost parallel with the stair, then land on it and slide onto the lower stair. It should be noted that some stairs are actually slopes thus cannot be BLJed on. Two classic areas featuring this BLJ opportunity include the stairs leading to the 50 star door and the endless stairs leading to Bowser in the Sky.

Pause BLJ

This trick is allows Mario to BLJ 30 times per second instead of 15. While BLJing, do the following sequence:

  1. First frame: (Start), (Z), (A).
  2. Second frame: (Z).
  3. Third frame: (Start), (Z), (A).
  4. And so on!

Basically, the start button acts like a frame buffer and adds 1 more BLJ while saving 1 frame. This works on slope, stair, and elevator BLJs but does not work on side or low ceiling BLJs.

BLJ to "Walk" on Slopes

Basically, get into close up Mario camera and BLJ somewhere. While in the process of running, press C^. This will cause Mario to go in the direction his back is facing until he hits a "wall" or runs out of speed. This enables Mario to do strange things such as flying up random slopes as long as a "wall" or super steep slope doesn't get in the way. This trick might be useful for improving some stars, and will be a great freerun trick.


Grinding is when Mario repeatedly falls off and continually catches a ledge, which leads to him being able to repeatedly dive along an edge or double jump. This can be both the fastest way for Mario to climb up some slopes, and occasionally a method of accessing normally inaccessible areas, such as the deserted city area in Wet Dry World while holding Chuckya. In order to do this Mario needs to be at a slight angle, preferably inwards facing the ledge; if he faces too far outwards, he may dive or jump off and not catch the ledge. He needs to land on the surface and be moving towards a seam; this will cause a collision detection where Mario can jump or dive again.

Wind Hyperspeed Glitch

This glitch works in THI and TTM. It requires a few minutes to get enough speed, so it isn't useful. To do this glitch, just get Mario stuck under a slope with the wind pushing him up.

Dust frames

Dust frames are present when you don't execute a dive on the first frame possible. It considerably slows down Mario. When doing optimized dives, you shouldn't see any dust; to do so, press "A" or "B" on the first frame possible when hitting the ground; Mario will recover as soon as possible, without leaving dust.

MIPS (The Rabbit)

Though now an obsolete trick, MIPS was once necessary in any low% run. MIPS is a rabbit who appears in the basement once Mario collects 15 (and later, 50) stars; usually, Mario grabs him, takes his star, then goes on with the rest of the game. The rabbit was not meant to go anywhere outside the "green" part of the basement: Mario could not open a door and carry MIPS at the same time. However, a glitch was discovered that allowed Mario to merge MIPS with any "normal sized" door. This would put MIPS on both sides of the door, and Mario could jump out and grab him from the "wrong" side. When used with the entry to the part of the basement with the 30 star door, MIPS could actually be taken right up to that place. A second, similar glitch allowed Mario to get through the 30 star door: as Mario walked up to the side of the door using MIPS, letting him go while pressing Z gave Mario a sort of push, which put him on the other side of the door (an alternative, harder, and slower method was to let go of MIPS just before the door, and jump between it and the door, which would also push Mario through). This discovery led to the completion of the game with only 16 stars.

HSWK (Hyper Speed Wall Kicks)

This trick is similar to BLJing, but instead of abusing Mario's unlimited negative speed, it utilizes another oversight by the game's programmers; unlimited forward speed via wall kicks. By wall kicking over and over again on the first frame possible, Mario gains speed. Repeatedly wall kicking for long periods of time can get you enough forward speed to pass through walls, star doors, and even the endless stairs!

Parallel Universes

The ability to enter the moat door underwater comes from a glitch that has long been known, but poorly understood. Many players have noticed that by BLJing in certain spots, such as on an elevator, it's possible to get strange behavior to occur. On console, the game typically freezes, but on emulators and even Nintendo Virtual Console, Mario can warp to a weird invisible area. This behavior is often confused with Mario going out of bounds, but that's actually not the case. It turns out that in addition to the collision map present in the level, there are also an infinite number of invisible copies of the collision map spaced out in a 2D grid, extending to infinity. These copies, which we've been calling Parallel Universes (PUs), contain the exact same layout of floor and ceiling collision triangles as in the real map, but most everything else is missing. In addition to being invisible, there are no walls, no water, and most loaded objects are gone as well. Some things are still present however, like paintings in the castle.

The missing water is especially significant here, because the water is what prevents Mario from opening the moat door in the first place. Now, it's not enough to simply go to a PU, because even though the moat is empty, the door isn't there either. Instead, the empty moat allows Mario to approach the door in the real map simply by running into it. The problem with doing this in the real map is that the water prevents Mario from getting low enough to do this. There is only 1 frame to open the door underwater before he enters a swimming state, and landing from the air prevents him from opening a door for 3 frames due to dust, so he HAS to run into the door. The empty moat in PU allows us to do just that, but it's not a trivial task.

In order to access PUs and control Mario's position within them, it's important that Mario's speed is an integer multiple of 2^18, or 1 QPU (2^18 is equivalent to a point 4 PUs away, so we refer to it as 1 quadruple parallel universe -> QPU). Unfortunately, this speed can't be quickly obtained in the castle grounds becasue there's no good BLJ spot. There is another trick named hyperspeed walking that we're almost certain works, but it takes far too long to be useful in a speedrun. Instead, we make use of an obscure glitch in the Vanish Cap Under the Moat course. When Mario falls through the death barrier at the bottom of VCUtM, he spawns in water at the base of the waterfall in castle grounds. This is important because it preserves Mario's speed, which can be restored by pressing Z when exiting water (common SM64 TAS trick). Since VCUtM has elevators, we can build the necessary speed there, and use it outside of the castle! Getting a speed that works for both VCUtM and Castle Grounds was very tricky, however I'm not going to go into too much detail about that here.

Although going to PU has been known to pretty much always crash on console, we figured out a way to prevent it (Shoutout to Kyman for confirming this on console)! Simply switching R Camera to Fixed Camera Mode and holding R before going to PU is enough to prevent the crash. Because of this (and another glitch that will be revealed soon), we anticipate some significant improvements in multiple categories. Although the only proven way at this time to enter VCUtM with the moat raised is with hyperspeed flying (which requires 10 stars for the wing cap), we're working on a faster 0-star method that will hopefully make this strat viable for an updated 0 stars TAS. Even without this, a sub 5 0 star times is possible due to BitFS!

Finally, for those who want to know why the PUs exist at all, it comes down to an integer overflow glitch. Even though Mario's position coordinates are floating point decimal numbers, not integers, the game's code typecasts them to signed short (16-bit) integers for the floor and ceiling collision calculations. Short ints have a limited value range: they can be as low as -32768 and no higher than 32767. So if a number goes outside of this range it will "overflow" back to the other end of the range. For example, if Mario's X coordinate was 40000.0, when converted to a short int it would become -25536, as being larger than 32767 causes it to wrap around to the negative side. So for the purposes of the floor and ceiling collision calcs, adding or subtracting an integer multiple of 2^16 to a position coordinate has no effect!

See also

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GameResources/N64/SuperMario64 last edited by jlun2 on 2015-08-02 17:49:38
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