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YouTube / TASVideosChannel

Super Mario Bros. 3 in 3 Minutes

YouTube / TASVideosChannel
YouTube / TASVideosChannel

Super Mario Bros. 3 was one of the best Nintendo games ever released. In this video, we see a bizarre play-through of the game that reaches the Princess in just three minutes...without ever seeing Bowser. It exploits glitches in the game and extremely careful timing to achieve this effect. First, take a look (if you're short on time, just zip to 2:14 and watch for the crazy glitches after Mario jumps up a bit):

And now some context. This is what's called a "tool-assisted speedrun." Let's unpack that. A speedrun is completing a game in the minimum time possible. The "tool-assisted" bit is where this gets interesting; rather than a player sitting there with a Nintendo controller and playing the game live, this game was "played" by carefully scripting all of Mario's moves, frame by frame, and then using digital tools to perform those scripted inputs on a real NES.

The creators of this speedrun, who go by "Lord Tom" and "Tompa," explain their techniques in a long post using a good deal of technical jargon. The most interesting bit is under the heading "Wrong-warping SMB3." Here's a brief sample; note that the dollar-sign values are memory addresses within the game. Yes, this is highly technical:

Touching the glitch tile, an invisible note block, makes the processor try to update memory outside of the normal tile data, at an address ($9c70) that reprograms how the processor interprets addresses. This causes execution to jump to an unintended area of the ROM and execute incorrect instructions. Eventually, the stack overflows and it starts executing RAM instructions starting at address $0081, which is just before the location of the player x value at $0090 and enemy x values $0091-5.

...

To jump to the Princess, we need 3 consecutive x values to read, in order: 32, 225 or 227, 143. This results in the assembly instruction "JSR $8FE1", which reads as "Jump to the subroutine at address $8FE1."

...

Mario can only carry one shell at time. So to grab the ?'s shell, we need to throw the $0095 shell such that it doesn't despawn and also ends up where we can grab it again. There's not much margin for this, but it's just possible to throw the shell so it ends up spinning between the middle pipes down below. This lets Mario grab it after throwing the $0094 shell without breaking stride.

As we fall from the ?'s area, we now have the left piranha plant in $0093, the ?'s shell in $0094, and the first shell from the level entry in $0095. All that remains is to throw the two shells such that they hit the right x values on the same (single) frame the plant's x value hits 32...and then execute the pipe glitch on that same frame.

As Neo said in The Matrix, "Whoa."

(Via Devour.)

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History
Royal Watch 1947: See Queen Elizabeth II Marry Prince Philip
AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

In less than 24 hours, millions of royal enthusiasts will climb out of their beds at an ungodly hour, brew up the strongest pot of coffee they can manage, and watch Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle exchange their “I do”s. While gluing oneself to our personal electronics to witness all the lavish pomp and circumstance that surround a royal affair may seem like a relatively new pastime, the truth is that we’ve been doing it for years. Case in point: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s 1947 wedding.

Though Elizabeth and Philip didn’t have dozens of television networks broadcasting their every step down the aisle, their nuptials did manage to attract more than 200 million earlobes, who listened in on the event via BBC Radio. Shortly thereafter, newsreel footage of the soon-to-be Queen’s big day made its way into movie theaters around the world. Now, thanks to the power of the internet, we can go back in time and tune in, too.

British Pathé has made a handful of videos from the wedding, which took place on November 20, 1947, available for streaming on YouTube. So if you want to start your royal marathon a little early, here’s your chance.

If you want to go back even further in time, The Royal Family’s YouTube channel includes footage of the 1923 wedding of Elizabeth’s parents, The Duke of York (later King George VI) and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother), which also took place at Westminster Abbey.

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entertainment
How to Craft the Perfect Gag, According to Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton seen with Donald O'Connor on the set of a film in 1957
Buster Keaton seen with Donald O'Connor on the set of a film in 1957
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Dubbed “The Great Stone Face” for his ability to hold a deadpan expression even as the world (quite literally) crashed down around him, Buster Keaton was “one of the three great silent comedians” in film history, according to filmmaker Tony Zhou.

A video by Zhou, spotted by The Kid Should See This, explains just how Keaton managed to pull off such memorable stunts, and why his scenes continue to influence modern actors and filmmakers. First, Keaton shunned title cards and subtitles, instead opting to advance the story through action. He disliked repetition and thought each movement should be unique, while also insisting on authenticity and proclaiming that a filmmaker should “never fake a gag.” If a gag couldn’t be captured all in one shot, he wouldn’t do it.

The angle and positioning of the camera was also paramount. Many of Keaton’s vaudeville-esque gags were visual in nature, toying with the viewer’s perspective to create illusions that led to hilarious reveals. But for that to be successful, the camera had to remain stationary, and the joke had to play out entirely onscreen.

A low-speed chase scene in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, where Ralph Fiennes's Gustave H. runs up a long staircase in the background to escape cops, is a modern example of this. “Like Wes Anderson, Buster Keaton found humor in geometry,” Zhou says.

Check out Zhou’s video below.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

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