Dec 2022 “Phenomenal Feats” Moment #3: AndrewG becomes the first-ever runner to achieve a sub-5 in Super Mario Bros. Any% in 2010.

Welcome to “Phenomenal Feats”, brought to you by the official Speedrun Hall of Fame! These moments will be forever remembered in a special gallery, designed for those moments in time where a specific runner, run, or accomplishment deserves to be forever chronicled. These are the moments in time we want all of speedrunning to remember. This month, December 2022, marks our 2nd class for this gallery, and now it’s time for YOU to pick which of these Phenomenal Feats will be immortalized in the Speedrun Hall of Fame!

Moment #1: Sinister1 & Zallard1 perform a blindfolded race of “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!” at AGDQ 2016

“I hope that I’m accurate,” AndrewG laughed as he talked to us in 2022 about his sub-5, “because it’s been a while.” Laughing as he remembered back, the realization of how fast the flow of time really is. “It… it’s like, it’s been longer than like, I think it has… like, that was something like 4 or 5 years ago… it was (more like) 10 or 11 years ago.”

When you think of a speedrun, there’s likely only a few games that come immediately to mind. For some, titles like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Metroid, or Super Mario 64 come to mind. For others, perhaps it’s Portal, Pokemon, or even GoldenEye. But it’s hard to say that many games out there are as eponymous with speedrunning as “Super Mario Bros.” on the NES. And, when you talk about Mario speedruns, there’s one person that comes to mind when you talk about milestones: Andrew Gardikis.

AndrewG’s 4:59 speedrun from 2010. This speedrun was the first-ever recorded 4:59 in Super Mario Bros.

“It’s always funny when people say that,” AndrewG mentioned, “because that’s kind of cool. (But) I feel like it’s weird being the person that a lot of people, (or) speedrunners you watch, they got started because they watched my stuff. I don’t know, it’s weird to be that person.” But it’s more than true: the vast majority of strategies that Super Mario Bros. speedrunners use in modern runs all derived from AndrewG’s own strats that he came up with over a decade previously.

And that’s no knock on newer runners, not at all! That just goes to show you that the man has been around for a while, despite his young age. And he still has a lot in the tank, but his reputation definitely proceeds him. Without going into the man’s accolades too much here, AndrewG is considered to be the most influential Super Mario Bros. speedrunner of all time. One of the first people to really work on grinding the time down, he was the world record holder for many many years before he was able to finally complete Super Mario Bros. in under 5 minutes, accomplishing this feat on December 24, 2010. After implementing many time saves into his run, including the fast 4-2 setup and wrong warp that made sub-5 possible, as well as his own journey to accomplish what he thought of as the perfect run.

AndrewG meeting a random fan of Super Mario Bros. in 2010. He looks familiar…

“Strategy-wise, it wasn’t even possible or even realistic until 2007, when I got the 5-minute run,” AndrewG recollected. “After that, I thought it seemed like it probably was possible. Because in my 5-minute run, I messed up the wall jump (in 8-4) by just a little bit, about half a second. So, I was like, ‘Ah! So under five minutes is probably possible!’ (even though) that 5-minute run was insane. By today’s standards, in a way it’s not that special, (though) I mean it depends on the context. (But) I mean, for back then, it was crazy.”

He would go on to improve his record many times, paving the way for the reigns of future record holders such as Darbian and Kosmic, and many other Super Mario Bros. speedrunners to come. Today, there are over 300 people with a sub-5 in Super Mario Bros. Any%, and it all started with one man’s desire to see this impressive time barrier fall once, and for all…

“I always think that the run is going to be perfect,” he told us, in regards to his own PBs and previous world records. “For example, when I got my 5:00.06, I know that I messed up the wall jump, but I was like, ‘I don’t even know if a 4:59 is possible!’ But at that point in time, I had gotten all the frame rules that were available. If I improve the last stage, a 4:59 could probably happen. But that was such a big milestone… it was such a big deal.”

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