How Two Pro Mario Bros. Players Broke a World Record During Quarantine

Today, we’ve come to talk about how hard effort, skill, and perseverance can lead people to achieve some amazing feats. With games as old as the original Mario Bros., you’d think that there are no more ways they can possibly surprise us. However, we were proven wrong earlier this month when Steven Kleisath and Stephen Boyer, two veteran gamers of no small renown in the Marios Bros. community, destroyed the standing unofficial world record in the game’s cooperative mode in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

Mario Bros. was originally released in 1983 following the huge success that was the original Donkey Kong for arcades. This came before Mario was “Super,” landing two years before the platformer that we all know and love stormed the world. In this outing, it had the famous plumber and his brother squaring off against nasty beasties in a sewer arena. The objective of this game was to get rid of the wandering enemies, while avoiding the stage hazards, and collecting the coins that float by to score bonus points. However, instead of jumping on the enemies as modern Mario does, players would have to walk to a level below them, strike the ground beneath their feet to flip them over, and then walking up and kicking them into the sewer water below. 

This style of single-screen gaming was still quite popular at the time. Back then, we didn’t need any fancy CGI cutscenes nor over-the-top drama sequences; all we had was these very simple game mechanics, and our skills, which were tempered by sheer will and determination. But enough sounding like petulant old men stuck in the past; this article is about two awesome gamers that managed to set a new record in one of the most popular classic platformers!

Steven Kleisath and Stephen Boyer are long-time gamers and professional Marios Bros. players. They each have their own high scores set in different versions of the game: Kleisath’s is 5.424.920 in the original arcade version, while Boyer’s is 4.260.210 in the WolfMAME emulator version. This is only to say that these dudes are definitely not messing around when it comes to this game. 


Now, what do you get when you take two of the world’s greatest Mario Bros. players and have them work together in 2-player mode? If you guessed “magical things” would happen, then you’re not really too far off the mark. And when it comes to these fellas co-oping in the game, sparks definitely did fly as they set a new unofficial world record for the title. This feat was made possible thanks to the newly-released version of the WolfMAME emulator, which allowed remote co-op play through the internet. However, aside from the difficulty of playing on Hard, the duo had to overcome the inherent restrictions imposed by online play. Namely, they had to account for the input delay that comes from playing online.

Nevertheless, despite all the odds, the couple set out to break the dreaded million-point barrier, which they did swimmingly. In a Twitter interview shared by Kotaku, Kleisath mentioned that they had set out to score at least a million points, but ended up achieving a little over 1.2 million points before they were overwhelmed; no small feat indeed, considering that they also added self-imposed restrictions such as forbidding the use of the POW block. In order to coordinate their efforts, the pair would have an open line of communication through speakerphone, which they maintained throughout the entire 70-minute ordeal. 

While there’s no footage (that we know of) of the event, here’s a clip of Kleisath setting his personal high score back in 2015. Imagine that the duo event was like this, but with two players and much more chaotic.

Thanks for reading! Here at PrimeTime Amusements, we like to keep ahead of the curve in arcade game rental and sales and pride ourselves in providing the best service in the country. If you’re looking for a game in particular, or have a few questions about the industry, feel free to give us a call at 1.800.550.0090 or to swing by at 5300 Powerline Rd. Suite 210, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 33309.

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