I previously described tool-assisted speedruns in this post. To summarize, this breed of speedrunners use special emulation tools which alter the speed of the game; anything from slowing the game down to play it frame-by-frame to rewinding a live game is possible -- the latter mechanic has been adapted into games like Prince of Persia and Braid. Combining these abilities with glitches let the user create a speedrun far faster than any human being playing the game in real-time.
These speedrun is not recorded as a video, but rather a series of button presses timed to the game. These recording can be used to replicate the speedrun on any computer with an emulator capable of reading it. Now, an Instructables member named pjgat has taken speedruns into the real world. Using an Arduino board wired into the controller, the speedrun's button presses are sent directly into the NES hardware. The game is in no way modified; there's just a robot at the wheel.
As you can see by the comments, there is some talk about this being a hoax. Most of the weirdness can be attribute to faulty collision detection -- it is, in fact, a game from 1985, a commenter helpfully points out -- but I'm still not sure why the NES boots so fast. So here is the video:
...and a Super Mario Bros. 3 which is slightly faster than the one mentioned in the previous post:
Today is the 25th anniversary of Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. franchise. So let’s take a quick look at the Super Mario games we all know and love… like Mario Clash for the Virtual Boy. Can you remember that first time you took your Virtual Boy out of its box? The long Sunday afternoons you spent with that red doohickey strapped to your face? Playing it in the schoolyard while all your friends looked on? Taking it on those long family vacation drives? Yeah, those are the Mario memories I’m talking about.
And who can forget the classic Mario is Missing? That NES adventure every kid has nothing but the fondest memories of. I sure should’ve put more hours into studying than I did into this game, but how could I resist its charms?
Remember how sad you were when you found out that Super Mario’s Wacky Worlds got cancelled? That CD-i of yours (and don’t forget about your friends, that CD-i was as much a household staple as the microwave) sitting empty, robbed of anticipation for another amazing CD-i classic?