The Journey from Casual to WR Holder – New Super Mario Bros. Wii Low% by BMAN_03

New Super Mario Bros. Wii was one of my (BMAN_03) favorite childhood games. I was originally a Nintendo DS kid around the mid to late 2000’s, until I received the Wii for Christmas of 2009. Playing games like Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros. Wii (NSMB Wii), Super Smash Bros Brawl, Skylanders, Super Mario Galaxy, and many more. I just really loved Wii games. Eventually I got into Minecraft and such, so I started to drift away from the Wii. I got a bit older and it wasn’t until 2018 that I felt the urge to play some childhood classics. At the time, I was also aware that speedrunning exists.

My ideas clashed. I thought I was good enough at these Wii games to give speedrunning a try, so with very little practice, I jumped right into it. On the 23rd of September of 2018, I attempted my first ever speedrun. I complete New Super Mario Bros. Wii in 46 minutes and 32 seconds, which to today’s standards is very bad. I then sort of.. forgot about speedrunning. School and personal life kind of got in the way and I thought my speedrunning career was just going to be a one off for a bit of fun. But oh how I was very wrong.

These childhood games are very special to me. I was born in Cumbria, England and then moved to the sunshine state of Queensland, Australia when I was around 10 years old. This also meant I had to leave majority of my family and my friends to start a brand new life, with completely different cultures. After that small phase of nostalgia trips in September 2018, it made me realize that the childhood games I know and love make me remember the good times with my family, and with my friends. It helped me escape from any homesickness I had. After almost a year later, I came back to speedrunning.

During October 2019, I picked up New Super Mario Bros. Wii again and decided that this was going to be my speedgame. I speedran Any% for a while and I improved fairly quickly. My first goal was sub 30 — until I smashed that with a 26:56 (unverified). After many months I got what is considered a top time by the community — a 24:48 with loads. During these months, however, I decide to experiment with my skill. I tried different categories and immediately found a category which intrigued me… Low%. To some, just beating the game without any deaths is a big accomplishment, but beating the game without any power-ups, checkpoints, or Yoshi? This would be a category for the elite.. or so I thought. There aren’t many runs of low% because of its difficult entails, think of it like 0 and 1 star in SM64.

I pondered, to get to the world 1 cannon to warp to world 5 you need Yoshi or a propeller suit in 1-3, but obviously this was banned. I watched the world record and was stunned, you needed to do a shell jump off the secret exit cliff. I really wanted to try this category, but first I had to learn this crazy strategy. It took a while, but I eventually got the feel for it so I decided to do some runs. On the 24th of Jan 2020, I completed my first ever low% run in 34 minutes and 17 seconds. Just minutes later, I did a second run of 30 minutes and 39 seconds.

My first ever run:

It’s nothing too special, I was just enjoying the new experience. I was switching between a few categories at the time and I came back to low% on the 14th of March 2020 with a time of 28:43, which was 3rd place at the time. I was pretty happy. Until a few weeks later a speedrunning friend of mine, Brammyson, streamed a few attempts of low% and he then decided he was going for the world record. After, he helped me realize how not optimal the world record was, so I decided to hop on the train as well.

Defeating the world record wasn’t going to be an easy feat, it was held by the one and only FadeVanity. His low% run, according to him, was the “God Run”, beating second place by over 30 seconds with a time of 27:28. His world record stood for 2 whole years.

Fade’s Low% World Record:

Now Fade wasn’t just a one shot in this game, he is considered a legend and, at the time, held the any% world record as well — no one had even came close to him. Me and Brammyson rivalled. It was a race between the B’s, who will dethrone the king? Well, on the 8th of April 2020, the 2 year old world record had been broken.

The person to break it would be.. me. I was ecstatic! The second person to ever beat Fade in a category! I was now a World Record holder with a time of 27:24.

My 27:24:

But I forgot about my rival, Brammyson. A few strategies were discovered shortly after I got the world record and then he beat my time with a 27:20 merely 3 hours later, and kept going…

After I got my first world record I went back to any%, while Brammyson continued to lower the record in the following week. However, our rivalry brought attention to other top runners. TheCodingBoy and Pidgey, the ones to find new tricks and strategies, would also take interest in the category. On the 10th of April 2020, Brammyson would go on to beat his time with a 27:10. The next day, TheCodingBoy would clock in a time of 27:14 and Pidgey would become the next World Record holder with a time of 27:06. Low% was now getting pretty optimized,  and Pidgey would go onto beat the World Record in every other category while we speculated that sub 27 was just barely possible. Pidgey’s sum of best was a 26:57 with some spectacular golds. Brammyson and TheCodingBoy lost interest in the category and would take a break from the game, while I played any% and Pidgey went on to grind for the cannonless world record.

The category laid dormant for quite some time.

3 months later, a 10 second timesave that was actually discovered 5 years ago was brought back up under light. The trick was called Piranha Plant skip. The overworld piranha plant “ambush level” which was thought to be impossible to avoid and not loose time was actually avoidable in low%. If the Piranha Plant spawned at the top of its path when entering world 5 it would mean dying in 5-1 and it would move to the bottom after completing 5-1, skipping it and going straight to 5-2. However it was RNG (essentially meaning it was random) where the piranha plant spawned. If it spawned in the middle, the player would have a 50/50 chance of avoiding it, and if it was on the bottom there is a 0% chance. So essentially, with this trick, runs wouldn’t initially start until world 5, that also meant after shell jump. This wasn’t the only RNG in low%. 8-1 depends on RNG and its easy to lose upwards of 5 seconds at a top level, in 8-C Bowser jump is also RNG and can kill the run on the very last section. Although it meant even more RNG, a 26 minute time was now realistic.

On the 29th of July 2020, the first person to achieve the first sub 27 was none other than Brammyson with a time of 26:56, 10 seconds faster than Pidgey’s World Record.

Brammyson’s 26:56:

A monumental moment in Low% speedrunning and the game as a whole. After I got my any% personal best of 24:48, I came back to low% in the hopes of sub 27 and possibly the world record… but after a few weeks of practicing I surprised myself with getting consistent at these hard tricks — and I actually got times on levels that have never been done before. My hopes were up and I started running low% again.

On the 23rd of August I got a 27:07 with the Piranha Plant skip, it wasn’t a great run so I practiced more and streamed my attempts on Twitch. Finally, on the 16th of September I got my first sub 27 and reclaimed the world record with a time of 26 minutes and 53 seconds… but I wasn’t done yet. It still felt quite suboptimal, with some bad 8-1 RNG as well. My practice payed off. My world 5 was the best pace ever. I knew I could get better, so I kept going. 10 days later, I got the first ever 26:4x with a time of 26:49, a time that was seen as impossible 2 or 3 months ago. But that still wasn’t the end. I was improving quickly and surprising myself every time. 3 days later on the 29th of September 2020, I got 26m 46s in a race, a time that’s seen as almost flawless. The run had good RNG and every level was optimal or less than a second off, but, I missed a really hard jump in 8-Castle which costed 2 seconds…

Because I’m improving so fast and I’m enjoying the category, my goal is now to get the perfect run, the “God Run”. Around 26:42 or 43 is perfect. I will be going for this time on my Twitch in hopes of pushing this category further than anyone has ever imagined. However, the category won’t exactly be dead. See, 5-Tower is cycle based and there is a faster cycle possible in low% which saves about 7 seconds. But it has only been done two people ever, it’s extremely hard. Could we see it implemented in runs long after I’m gone? Maybe, only time can tell.

This article was written by BMAN_03. Please check them out on Twitch, give them a follow, and enjoy their journey to their next PB!

Us at Speed Gaming News hope this inspires you to always push through and give it your all! Best of luck, and we will see you around.

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