Cheese‘s Legendary Super Mario 64 Speedrun: Anatomy of Perfection

When expert speedrunner "Cheese" ripped through the classic Super Mario 64 in just 97 minutes during a heart-stopping 2018 run, he captivated the gaming world by claiming a World Record – if only briefly – in this hyper-competitive category. Let‘s dive deep into Cheese‘s accomplishment to understand what it takes to set world-class speedrunning times even veterans call superhuman.

An Open-World Pioneer That Still Thrills

Before analyzing Cheese‘s run, we must highlight why Super Mario 64 remains such a legendary speedrunning benchmark 26 years after its release. As Nintendo‘s first 3D Mario platformer, SM64 pioneered traversal concepts that developers still utilize today:

  • 360-degree analogue control: Analog sticks granted far more precise movement than old-school D-pads.
  • Dynamic camera system: Players could actively control the camera for the first time.
  • Multi-directional movement: Vaulting, crawling, tip-toeing – SM64 let players move like never before.
  • Massive moveset: Between jumping, diving, climbing, and more, Mario has an astonishing 65+ moves.
  • Interactive environments: Levels stuffed with secrets that begged to be explored.

These innovations established a new paradigm for 3D game worlds. Simply put, almost every 3D platformer since – from Banjo Kazooie to Fortnite – borrows core DNA from SM64.

But beyond pioneering 3D level design, SM64 crucially retains the pixel-perfect precision platforming the series is known for. Plus, with 15 massive stages and over 30 game-breaking glitches, SM64 offers nearly limitless routes for cunning speedrunners – if they can master Mario‘s eclectic abilities.

Understanding The Obsession With Speedrunning

Before dissecting Cheese‘s run, we must spotlight why SM64 remains such a legendary speedrunning benchmark.

Defining Speedrunning

Speedrunning is the practice of completing video games as fast as possible using any means necessary within the rules. The most common categories include:

  • Any%: Finish the game with minimal requirements. No glitch restrictions.
  • 100%: Complete all content available. What Cheese targeted.
  • Glitchless: No game-breaking exploits allowed.

While glitches dominate strategies today, they were originally seen as taboo in the 1990s and 2000s. According to former world record holder Smunix, "glitchless was…considered the more respectable category." As glitches became accepted, expectations and times dropped exponentially.

Top runners stream their record attempts through sites like Twitch and YouTube to excited audiences. Live crowd engagement adds thrilling unpredictability to each run.

Why Super Mario 64 Dominates Speedrunning

Thanks to its open level design and precise controls, SM64 emerged as arguably the defining speedrun game. Players adore routing new sequences through these interactive worlds. In fact, after 16 years, speedrunner Sockfolder set a new record in 2020 – proving mastery is still advancing.

SM64 also hosts a shocking number of beneficial glitches that shatter conventional gameplay. Between parallel universes and sequence breaking, TASVideos documents 30+ major glitches that enable ludicrous new feats. This glitch treasury ensures top players always have new tactics to uncover.

Profile: Legendary SM64 Speedrunners

To appreciate Cheese‘s excellence, let‘s overview previous SM64 speedrunning legends:


  • Pioneered and popularized SM64 speedrunning from 2010 onward.
  • Known as the "King of SM64," with numerous records.
  • Career ended after 5 years following real-life issues.


  • Set an untouchable 1:39:28 120-star record in May 2014.
  • Featured in popular GDQ speedrunning events.
  • Still streams but no longer competes seriously.


  • Current world record holder for 0, 1, and 16 star categories.
  • First player to break 1 hour barrier in the demanding 70 star category.
  • Watch Suigi‘s insane 1-star run here.


  • Holds the current 70-star record: an awe-inspiring 49:59.
  • Also competes in categories like glitchless and Big Penguin races.
  • Famous for calm and consistent performance under pressure.

Competition remains incredibly tight, with records still falling. In this arena, Cheese would need to demonstrate truly peerless skill to triumph.

Who Is The Speedrunner Cheese?

Before analyzing his accomplishments, let‘s overview the speedrunner known as Cheese.


After discovering SM64 speedruns on YouTube in 2014, Cheese decided to take up speedrunning himself. While SM64 remains his central focus, Cheese has set records across multiple genres – including top times in punishing platformer Celeste. His consistency and nerves of steel during runs have earned him over 300,000 Twitch followers.


As a Spaniard streaming late into European nights, Cheese hits peak North American viewing hours. Between his streaming antics and gaming skills, Cheese has built a sizable transnational audience. Despite his fame, Cheese stays grounded in local communities as a hair salon owner and recreational volleyball player.


Cheese is considered one of the modern SM64 speedrunning greats thanks to his creativity and consistency. He‘s long been a top-3 runner but struggled to claim that coveted world record slot. Could this attempt finally be his time to shine?

Breaking Down The Run: Near Perfection

On September 24, 2018, Cheese cemented his legend by blazing through SM64‘s daunting 120 star category in just 1 hour, 37 minutes and 47 seconds. Let‘s break down his incredible feat.

The Good:

  • Nabbed first 2 stars in Hazy Maze Cave with pixel-perfect optimization. Dropped almost 5 seconds off the splits here alone:
  • Skipped massive chunks of levels via precise wall clipping and pixel-walking.
  • Displayed genius real-time problem solving without losing composure.
  • Did not exploit the BLJ hyper-speed glitch utilized by most top runners.

The Bad:

  • Lost over 30 seconds cumulatively on execution errors:
    • Missed multiple wall jumps
    • Grabbed wrong red coins
    • Misaimed cannons
  • death abuse

Considering these mistakes, experts estimate Cheese could save potentially 30+ seconds with tighter execution. We‘ll breakdown these miscues and how they cost our hero time.

Mistake Analysis

Like any world-class athlete, Cheese‘s mistakes mostly stemmed from nerves or fatigue in the run‘s final stretches. Let‘s pinpoint areas that cost him seconds.

Precarious Wall Jumps

Cheese narrowly pulled off multiple wall jumps that more conservative runners would intentionally avoid because missing even once spells doom. Check out this tense sequence:

Botching these frame-precise jumps forces a level restart, easily losing 10+ seconds versus collecting the star normally. Here, Cheese gambled – and won.

Cannon Disorientation

When nerves struck on Lethal Lava Land‘s precarious 100 coin star, Cheese temporarily lost his sense of direction and fired cannons inaccurately:

Wasting shots cycling through cannons costs several seconds. But Cheese admirably kept momentum thanks to backup strats.

Red Coin Misfires

Cheese fumbled some tricky red coin pickups due to fatigue, including missing the same coin twice here:

Since every coin grabbed removes a second from the timer, each flubbed grab carries a real cost.

Despite these errors on micro tasks, Cheese‘s trademark level familiarity and quick thinking minimized lost time demonstrating speedrunning mastery. Players with less mental fortitude would crumble on global errors rather than isolated coins.

Current Records: Cheese Still Contender

In the years since, Cheese‘s record fell twice more by a mere 13 seconds total – proof of his unprecedented optimization given the limited room left to improve. Let‘s see the current record progression:

1:36:47 – Weegee (September 2019)

Weegee toppled Cheese‘s record using smarter camera manipulation, not performing new tricks. With much respect between the two legends, Cheese demonstrated exceptional sportsmanship, tweeting congratulations:

"Very well played Weegee!!! Enjoy"

1:35:53: Guishark (June 2022)

Rather than executing radically new techniques, Guishark surpassed Weegee primarily by building consistency through practice while attempting runs most would consider too ambitious. Of course, his gambles paid off handsomely – edging the dream time into the 1:35 realm.

Can the ever-innovative Cheese reclaim his title in 2023? With such tight margins, speedrunning comes down to perfection on both marco routing and micro execution. Top runners exhibit almost superhuman improvisational abilities while speeding through nostalgic levels many grew up with. It‘s this blend of childhood joy, creative expression against the clock, and display of peak cognitive performance that makes speedrunning endlessly watchable.

By analyzing Cheese‘s accomplishments here, newcomers can better grasp the immense dedication needed to reach such rarified gaming air. Will Cheese push the limits of human capability even further next time? For now, we can rewatch his 2018 triumph and appreciate a masterclass in both brilliance and resilience under unrelenting pressure.

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