Last month, long-time Mario Kart 64 racer Daniel Burbank came within two records of nabbing every fastest time in the game. Yesterday he grabbed the final two, becoming the first player in the game’s history to hold all 32 fastest times simultaneously. While that’s impressive on its own, it’s also a historic moment for the community. Not only have people been trying (and failing) this feat for years now, stories of the rivalries that sprouted around the attempts have even gone viral thanks to all the drama surrounding it.
“I did it man let’s go,” Burbank exploded afterwards on his Twitch stream in a clip shared by speedrunning YouTuber SummoningSalt. “32 out of 32 records. It happened. It’s over. It’s over. It’s over. It’s over.”
Mario Kart 64 has 16 courses. The speedrunning community tracks the fastest single lap and three lap times for each of them, resulting in 32 separate categories for racing on the courses without shortcuts. After finally earning a time of 1'55"07 on Sherbet Land yesterday, Burbank was able to tie the course’s existing record set by Matthias Rustemeyer. He was also able to add the last top-score he needed on his unprecedented journey. While 13 out of the 32 records are ties, the rest are controlled outright by Burbank, giving him the coveted 1.0 rating (your average record placement in each category) among over 1,000 other competitive Mario Kart 64’s players.
But it was a long and occasionally controversial road for the 32/32 champion. Just a couple of years ago, the Mario Kart 64 speedrunning community had Matthias Rustemeyer trying to become the chosen one. For years, Rustemeyer attempted to lock in every record for himself, often coming within 31 of the 32 best times needed to have the entire slate of records. But notoriously, Rustemeyer kept getting thwarted at the last second by one of the community’s other top players.
As documented at length in a seminal video by SummoningSalt last year, part of what made getting the achievement possible was that a number of other Mario Kart 64 players formed an alliance back in 2013 to try and prevent Rustemeyer from becoming the first person to achieve a full-slate of best times. It proved more than effective, with rivals specializing in certain courses pulling back world records faster than Rustemeyer could break them.
The tables were reversed in 2020 when Burbank began making his own run at time trials and other record categories. Controversially, Burbank started hoarding times for various Mario Kart 64 speedrunning categories offline, not uploading them as they happened. That way, instead of rivals being able to see his progress and challenge him as he went along grabbing WRs, he could unclear recorded times all at once and overwhelm the leaderboards.
A video by Abyssoft documenting Burbank and Rustemeyer’s years-long rivalry discusses the mini-scandal at length. While it’s not technically cheating, some in the community have criticized it for going against the spirit of transparency and fair competition. Burbank published his own extensive apology for the hoarding times on the Mario Kart 64 forum.
“Is Dan gonna be able to do what Matthias couldn’t and get the 32/32?” SummoningSalt wrote on Twitter last month. “Or is it time for Matthias to take revenge and stop him?” In the end nobody could stop him. Rustemeyer’s last posted record was 1’55”07 on July 23, the same one Burbank tied last night to become a Mario Kart 64 legend.