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I can’t stop playing Super Mario Maker 2. A combination of factors keep pulling me back. Having it on the Switch makes is easy to play anywhere, obviously. But the quality of the levels is also really high. Most importantly, however, is that community creators are putting a lot of effort into ensuring those levels make you feel great.

One of the most popular types of courses right now is something called “20s speedrun.” These are fast, challenging platforming levels that you need to finish in almost exactly 20 seconds. If a mistake delays you, you’ll run out of time. They seem like cruel gauntlets that only exist to torment unskilled players. But the truth is that many of them are soft and kind. These stages want to welcome everyone into the speedrunning club.

In most of these stages, you often need to string together precision jumps, item throws, and other techniques to overcome obstacles while running as fast as possible. The key difference in many of the “20s speedrun” levels is that they give clear visual indicators of when to do each maneuver. And that makes all the difference.

Just execute

Almost any player can execute the moves required for basic speedrunning in a game like Mario. The difficulty is in the timing. The “20s speedruns” demystifies the when and enables players to focus on simply pressing the right buttons.


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The best thing is that the visual indicators don’t exist natively in the game, and it’s not like Nintendo put a text tool in Super Mario Maker 2. Instead, players have begun developing common shorthand that is spreading. The indicators usually use the rail tool. The “Z” symbol means you need to do a spin jump in the Super Mario World theme. A box with an open side means you need to throw an object aimed at the open end.

It’s a brilliant system, and it enables someone as bad as me to pull off something like this:

And that’s another great aspect of the “20s speedrun” stages. They are the ideal length for recording and sharing with the Nintendo Switch’s share button.

Unfortunately, I have discovered that few people care about watching you run through these stages anymore. I get a lot more traction on social media when I share a classical troll stage.

Schadenfreude is just our nature.

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