Oh man, this guy. For a bit of context, for people who haven’t seen it before: this is pannenkoek2012, a Youtuber and member of the Super Mario 64 TAS (tool-assisted speedrun/superplay) community, where they use emulators, computer-controlled inputs, and other tools such as advancing the game frame-by-frame to play the game at a level impossible for humans but still theoretically possible on the original N64 hardware using only the controller inputs.
Rather than focusing on beating the game as fast as possible (which the speedrunners do, and which is an area that has already been pretty thoroughly explored), pannenkoek instead takes on different challenges, like beating the game with the minimum number of presses of the jump button (a tall order for a game that’s all about jumping), or collecting coins that are hidden in the level geometry.
Doing this ends up requiring some ridiculously deep knowledge of the game’s internal systems. If you’ve got a half-hour to kill, you should watch his most famous video, where he explains how to beat the “Watch for Rolling Rocks” level while only using “half” a press of the jump button. You’ll know you’re in for a trip around ten minutes in when he says, “But first, we need to talk about parallel universes.”
This guy deserves so much credit for immediately engrossing me in a topic I have no experience or interest in. It’s obvious why he’s picked such an obscure area to explore so thoroughly; whatever fascination with careful analysis and knowledge for its own sake that drives him to make these videos immediately snagged me when I clicked on one of them.
Nice to see that someone else has also discovered this channel!
I hope this guy gets an honourary doctorate. He has obviously spent more time researching and writing a thesis on Mariosixtyfourology than most people out there who are walking with a PhD, and his research is about as useful if not more useful than most PhD theses.