Mario has seen his share of crossovers with other Nintendo franchises over the years, but one speedrunner has taken it to the next level by using The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time to set a new speed record for Paper Mario. Players have employed all kinds of crazy battle strategies during classic game speedruns, turning heads and gaining internet notoriety as they race to complete a given title as quickly as possible.
Sometimes a player simply rushes through a given speedrun by skipping sidequests and cutscenes, while others try to hack a game’s memory files with special controller inputs or exploit glitches to speed through large portions of the main campaign. Others still have even employed more dangerous methods, like heating a Nintendo Famicom with a hot plate to begin Dragon Quest 3 with the maximum level of experience. A recent speedrun of Paper Mario doesn’t go to quite that extreme, but it does feature a rather unorthodox way of breezing through the classic N64 RPG in record time.
According to Game Rant, noted YouTube speedrunner JCog recently completed a quick run of Paper Mario using one of the most unlikely methods: playing a different game altogether. After reaching a certain point in Paper Mario, he switches over to The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time and plays through the Water Temple dungeon, performing certain movements and button inputs that are stored on an N64 Expansion Pack. He then quickly switches the Ocarina cartridge back out for Paper Mario, which then loads the stored data and, after a few more button inputs by JCog (and a few failed attempts), eventually skips to the end of the game – cutting his playthrough down to just under an hour.
This method, which JCog refers to as “Stop’n’Swop Any%” in reference to a cut cartridge-swapping feature in the original Banjo-Kazooie, uses what is known as Arbitrary Code Execution, which allows knowledgeable players to trigger unusual effects by manipulating the internal memory in older games. Other noted uses of this kind of data manipulation include a recent speedrun of The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess, in which the player would stare at Rupees for over 17 hours to pass through locked gates and gain the ability to carry bombs earlier than usual by completing a large section of the game on a separate playthrough.
One wouldn’t expect players to speedrun their way through Paper Mario by playing a completely different game like The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time, but that is exactly what JCog has managed to do in his impressive playthrough of the former. Arbitrary Code Execution is just one of the many strange tools speedrunners use to set new records and find interesting new aspects of the games they grew up loving.