It’s usually pretty obvious that video game speedruns are things of finesse and precision. But sometimes, they just look like a guy is running into a wall over and over again before completely demolishing a single-track record in Mario Kart 64.
Beck “abney317” Abney has long been considered one of the best present-day Mario Kart 64 speedrunners. He holds (and has held) a variety of records, including both All Cups categories (skips and no skips).
So when a new technique was discovered to push times on the Luigi Raceway course way, way down, Abney set about learning and executing the record-breaking tricks. It turns out that by running into a wall with a precise angle and speed, players can fool the game into thinking they’ve completed a full lap. The final result may look simple, but as with most speedrunning techniques, it’s the result of hard work and dedication.
We’ve timestamped his current three-lap world record above (8:15 if that doesn’t work for whatever reason), but Abney’s video documents his entire process as well as the various benchmarks he achieved along the way.
The technique Abney used to set a world record on Luigi Raceway came about thanks to a new wall-clipping exploit. Mario Kart 64 players recently found that, under the right circumstances, it’s possible to simply pass through walls and corners, which is technically the phenomenon Abney’s latest run takes advantage of. A full breakdown on how these tricks are achieved can be found in the following explanatory video. It’s wild, and involves complex knowledge of the game’s geometry.
While Mario Kart 64 is already so broken that wall-clipping isn’t the most useful strategy on every course, sometimes it can lead to great things, like Abney’s incredible times on Luigi Raceway. It’s been years since that course’s world records were updated, which just goes to show how important research and experimentation can be to the art of speedrunning.