Seven years ago, the internet's collective mind was blown by a Super Mario 64 speedrunning video which proposed a method to collect one particular star without ever pressing the A button - or rather, only half-pressing A. Now, the creator of that video has put together a new method that cuts out the half-press and saves a whopping 14 hours from the original version.
The original video, SM64 - Watch for Rolling Rocks - 0.5x A Presses (Commentated), was uploaded by pannenkoek2012 way back on January 12, 2016, as part of a still-running series in which pannenkoek figures out how to complete Super Mario 64 while pressing the A button - jump - as little as possible.
In that video, pannenkoek took viewers on a journey of unbelievable scope, detailing a tool-assisted speedrun for Watch for Rolling Rocks, the sixth mission of the Hazy Maze Cave level in Super Mario 64. I do not have the space to explain the whole thing here, but the method involved manipulating a scuttlebug into a specific position, then building up Mario's speed for some 12 hours in order to send him through a series of parallel universes that would eventually deposit him back in position to bounce off the enemy and collect the star.
The video quickly became legendary even beyond the Super Mario speedrunning scene, racking up nearly five million views over the years. The line "we need to talk about parallel universes" generated its own Know Your Meme page, and the debate over what actually constitutes a press of the A button raged on, despite pannenkoek's infamous callout of a user named TJ "Henry" Yoshi.
In 2017, pannenkoek put together a faster method for getting through Watch for Rolling Rocks that shaved the time down from 14.8 to just 5.4 hours, but the basics were all the same: manipulate scuttlebug, build up speed, and move through parallel universes. Now, however, there's finally a better way.
On October 1, pannenkoek posted a new Watch for Rolling Rocks video with a brand-new route. With the assistance of other speedrunners, a new glitch was discovered that essentially lets you glitch an elevator out of bounds and ride it to gain the height that you otherwise would've journeyed through parallel universes to achieve. The scuttlebug is still there, but without dimension-hopping the time has been cut down from the original 14.8 hours to just six minutes.
Unfortunately, since the original method only featured a half A press, there aren't actually any A press saves for the full 120 star run. For now, you still need to press A at least 13 times in Super Mario 64, but I'll never doubt the ability of the Mario speedrunning community to get that number even lower.
Oh, and if you're wondering if TJ "Henry" Yoshi has learned about these developments, well… Yes. He knows.
Hello yes, I know about watch for rolling being done in 0 a presses. You can stop flooding my notifs about it, thanksOctober 1, 2023