When Banjo-Kazooie was released in 1998, it was largely compared to the game two years its elder, Super Mario 64. Despite the period in between, these two games helped define what 3D platformers could be given the new technology. It is easy enough to acknowledge their similarities (vs. older 2D games), both games have a central hub branching to new worlds where the goal is not a linear adventure but instead depends on the player to collect items within the levels. These similarities are not a coincidence- years before the release of Super Mario 64 developers at Rare got a very special opportunity to play it. Rare immediately felt that this was the future of games and began developing their own version with a couple twists.
One of the most notable changes was that of not being ejected from the world after getting jiggies, which was a conscious decision. In an interview with TheRinger, Gregg Mayles, Rare cofounder, talked about how Super Mario 64 ejected players– “Personally, I really didn’t like that. I think it ruined the sense of immersion in the world, so that was one of the very first things, was, ‘Let’s keep players immersed in the world. Don’t throw them out. Make sure players can complete everything while they’re in there.’”
Nearly 20 years later, Nintendo seemingly took a page out of Rare’s book and finally implemented this idea in the highly acclaimed Super Mario Odyssey. Although this gaming was not applied by Nintendo until recently, it has had a history in Super Mario 64 through gameshark codes and a version of the game referred to as “Nonstop.”
Forced level exit certainly has a large impact on Super Mario 64, with the full star dance, exit, and reentry taking around 15 seconds each time. With this time totaled up, it added roughly 30 minutes to a full 120 star run. Nonstop removes all star dances, forced level exits, as well as the fairly long intro. What’s left is a pretty “nonstop” action version of Super Mario 64.
The origins of nonstop are fairly vague- they originate from a simple gameshark code on the since deleted marioruns.com. The site had categories for 120 star and 70 star (speedrun.com has leaderboards for both of these, as well as a 16 star category). The first 120 star run was done in by Sigotu in 2014 with a time of 1:28:23. There was a brief period of renewal in 2016 which was most likely when the category started to get a little attention from the community.
Nonstop is certainly not a “major” category for Super Mario 64, but it plays its part. Its the only category in either the main (or extended) speedrun.com SM64 leaderboards to either be a romhack or utilize gameshark codes, showing its relevance to the base game. 2018 has been fairly active year for the category, with all three speedrun.com categories having new world records. Even more recently, there’s been more activity than normal in these categories- about half of the runs submitted all time for the 70 star nonstop category have come within the last month.
TriforceTK and lunarjump have recently been doing their own parts to lower the 70 star nonstop world record. In August, lunar dropped the time by nearly a minute, and another 10 seconds in October. The latter update was beat almost immediately by TriforceTK, who dropped 20 seconds off the next day. Since then, he has dropped another 30 seconds off that time to bring it to a time of 29:20 (in a period of about a month, Triforce dropped his PB by about 3 minutes in a 30 minute category). Worth noting, speedrun.com does not have split console categories for nonstop. In this case, lunar has been running on console while Triforce runs on emulators. Although this would benefit Triforce, this is both the rules for the category and not enough to account for the near minute of gap that now exists between Triforce and lunarjump.
Triforce TK’s Lastest 70 Star Nonstop WR
Both TriforceTK and lunarjump are still competing for new and better times, with both recently having spent some extra time running 16 star. If you tune in to their runs, expect a more continual action gameplay than vanilla runs. Routing is significantly different from normal gameplay, requiring extra planning for how you exit a level (typically a pause exit or death) and the subsequent castle movement. Nonstop is certainly entertaining as a category itself, moreso with world records coming continually. Hopefully this trend of new world records continues, even in different nonstop categories.
In Other News
- pannenkoek2012 published a number of ABC time improvements and managed to lure Koopa the Quick to his death in Tiny-Huge Island.
- In week 22 of the TAS Competition, TASers had to collect a number of red coins in the rolling rocks room. MKDasher took first, Rush57 took second, and Krithalith took third. Congratulations to all competitors, the results can be seen here.
- Superdavo0001 finished his any% of Ztar Attack 2 in 20.52.
- Iwer Sonsch published a number of speed ABC WRs TASes, all of which can be found on his channel.
- MKDasher demonstrated how he goes about TASing a task to show the processes a TASer goes about in the process of winning first in the TASing competition.