Mario Kart Wii Rainbow Road shortcut completed for the first time, almost 13 years later

Mario Kart Wii
(Image credit: Nintendo)

A track shortcut that's been the white whale of the Mario Kart Wii speedrunning community for four years has finally been executed by a human being.

The 2008 game is beloved for the many ways that dedicated players can break its map designs with "ultra shortcuts" that can shave a minute or more off of typical lap times. These involve carefully driving, drifting, and boosting off of the track - sometimes fooling Lakitu into picking you up and dropping you off further along than you were before, and sometimes relying solely on reflexes and nerves to go from track to terrain and back again. 

This ultra shortcut falls into the latter category. It was first discovered by tool-assisted speedrunners in 2016 and finally pulled off by ArthurMKW yesterday. Check out the Twitch clip below to see it happen in real time.

To pull off the shortcut, you first have to turn around and perfectly line up the kart with the tiny edge of the Rainbow Road track that protrudes from beyond the wall. Then you have to start drifting at just the right time, jump off, and wait until the perfect moment to use a mushroom and boost onto the track on the other side of the gap. It's incredibly challenging to execute without the assistance of external tools.

You can learn more about the 12-year history of the Mario Kart Wii speedrunning scene in this YouTube documentary from Summoning Salt. The Mario Kart Wii speedrunning community is ecstatic that the Rainbow Road ultra shortcut is finally in the record books, but it isn't going to waste much time celebrating; now the race is on to start shaving seconds off ArthurMKW's time.

Stare in wonder at the many ways human beings can break video games with our guide to the best speedruns.

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.