The original Nintendo 64 Super Smash Bros. has a few challenge modes for players to test their skills. These include a mini-game to break small targets and a movement challenge to touch special platforms in a stage. The world record time for completing Pikachu’s platform challenge has stood since 2005 — but after over a decade, it’s finally been broken by a tiny fraction of a second.
The new record for Pikachu’s “Board the Platforms” challenge was achieved by a player called KM yesterday. The previous record for the stage was held by semi-retired Smash Bros. tournament competitor Joel “Isai” Alvarado. Alvarado’s record, at 16.95 seconds, stood since 2005, and KM beat it with a new time of 16.93.
In a detailed explanation on YouTube, KM states that the improved time is thanks to a few specific strategies. Among them is landing on the final block of a moving series and simply dropping off instead of jumping, as well as “fast-falling” to the moving seventh platform.
These small changes allowed KM to break a record that’s stood for nearly 14 years. If you’re interested in the strategies right down to the button press and directions, KM breaks those down on YouTube as well.
The thing is that it’s actually still possible to get a better time than this; it simply might require the kind of perfect performance reserved for “tool-assisted” runs. Tool assisted speedruns use emulation, save states, and the ability to move through the game frame by frame to achieve near-perfect results.
In this particular challenge, it enables players to warp through a series of waving platforms in the middle. It’s a hefty skip that would save time, held back by the fact that it’s extremely difficult for a human to perform.
You need to get lucky and smash through the platforms by dashing at a highly specific angle. Without a consistent setup, KM’s record could stand for some time. Achievements like this are a good reminder that even old games with longstanding records can see changes and improvements so long as players are dedicated.
Clearing Pikachu’s Board the Platforms has sent small ripples through Smash’s leaderboards. It’s a small but undeniably impressive piece of speedrunning that’s worth celebrating.