On Wednesday, speedrunner Skilloz came incredibly close to an ideal time in Mario Kart 8 DX’s “blue yourself” challenge, which requires the player to intentionally detonate themself with a blue shell. This meme category, which refers to any speedrunning category that showcases something ridiculous outside of normal gameplay, has been around since March of 2021, and Skilloz has set the record twice.
Blowing yourself up in Mario Kart is easy: Just throw a bomb in front of your kart. I do it all the time. Hitting yourself with a blue shell though is another story entirely. The blue shell locks onto whoever is in first place, but only spawns after 30 seconds for someone at least 2000 units away from whoever is in first. This means that to hit yourself with a blue shell you have to successfully move from damn near last place, to first, before actually throwing the shell on the exact frame you take the lead.
The above run showcases the basic strategy, which has the player drive backwards into 12th place in order to spawn a Star and three mushrooms. The player then uses these to catch up to the rest of the racers. Once the player is properly primed at an item box, they wait for the 30 second mark and hope a blue shell spawns. If the shell spawns they boost up a ramp, activate their glider, fly across the map into first place, and throw the blue shell for a near instant detonation.
This particular run is so impressive because most of it is basically frame perfect, which refers to an input that happens on the first possible frame. When speedrunners develop routes, they often determine theoretical milestones that, while possible, require an incredible amount of precision. Even when speedrunners achieve that precision, it’s still extremely hard to consistently repeat the achievement, because human reflexes are fallible. Mario Kart 8 DX renders at 60 frames a second, so a frame perfect input on frame 30 would happen at .5 seconds.
In this case, we know that Skilloz has to open an item box that will hopefully contain the needed item. During the world record run, Skilloz manages to open the item box at 30.000 seconds, which, combined with the nearly-perfect flight path and shell throw, means that anything potentially better than this pushes against the edges of human capacity. After thousands of attempts, Skilloz has effectively perfected the form of blueing himself. His world-record time of 34.867s is less than 10 frames removed from the projected perfect time of 34.700s.
Skilloz told Kotaku that he’s satisfied with this time for now, but if he continues running, it’ll only be a matter of time (probably a few thousand more attempts) before the ideal run materializes. To give you an idea of the dedication required here, a run is dependent on the blue shell actually spawning in the first place. To quit a race and load in again if the shell fails to spawn takes about 30 seconds of real world time. Skilloz told us the perfect run has between a 1/5000 and 1/7500 chance of actually happening, so I hope any upcoming Switch models significantly improve loading times, for his sake if no one else.