Cosmic Ray Flips Bit, Assists Mario 64 Speedrunner

We’ve all heard about cosmic rays flipping bits here and there, but by and large, it occurs rarely enough that we don’t worry too much about it on a day-to-day basis. However, it seems just such a ray happened to flip a crucial bit that assisted a speedrunner in the middle of a competition.

The flip happened to [DOTA_Teabag], who suddenly found Mario flying upward to a higher part of a level, completely unexpectedly. Testing by [pannenkoek12] seems to indicate that this may have been due to a single-bit change to Mario’s height value, from C5837800 to C4837800, leading to the plucky Italian plumber warping upwards through the level. The leading theory is that this bit flip was caused by a cosmic ray event, though the likelihood of such an event is exceedingly rare.

It’s possible that there remains another cause for the flip, though after much work from the community replicating the situation in emulation, none has been found. Other suggestions involve electrical noise or other malfunctions causing the flip, though one would rarely expect such an occurrence to change just one bit of RAM. For now, the jury remains out, but who knows – maybe in the future we’ll find out it was a hidden, undiscovered exploit all along. Of course, if Nintendo doesn’t get you going, try speedrunning Windows 95.  Video after the break.

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Super Mario 64 As Experienced By Mario

Microsoft’s Kinect, a motion-sensing peripherial originally for the Xbox 360, is almost exactly a decade old now. And in that decade it has expanded from its limited existence tied to a console to a widely-used tool for effective and detailed motion sensing, without breaking the bank. While it’s seen use well outside of video games, it’s still being used to reimagine some classic games. In this project, Reddit user [SuperLouis64] has used it to control Mario with his own body.

While the build still involves some use of a hand controller, most of Mario’s movements are controlled by making analogous movements on a small trampoline, including the famed triple jump. The kinect is able to sense all of these movements and translate them into the game using software that [SuperLouis64] built as well. The trickiest movement seems to be Mario’s spin movement, which appears to have taken some practice to get right.

We appreciate the build quality on this one, and [SuperLouis64]’s excitement in playing the game with his creation. It truly looks like a blast to play, and he even mentions in the Reddit thread that he’s gotten a lot of productive excercise with his various VR and augumented reality games in the past few months. Of course if this is too much physical activity, you could always switch to using your car as the unique game controller instead.

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