Speedrunning goes mainstream as Mitch “FlowerPower” Fowler goes on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to show off his world-record holding skills in Super Mario Bros. 3.
Stephen Colbert has always taken great pride in being a geek, regularly spending entire segments of his old show on Comedy Central, The Colbert Report, discussing everything from Star Wars to Lord of the Rings. But when it was announced that Colbert would replace David Letterman on The Late Show on CBS, some industry watchers said the late night host would have to tone down his love of nerdy things for the more mainstream audience.
Luckily for gamers, that hasn’t been the case, with Colbert inviting everyone from YouTuber Pewdiepie to Sean Murray, the creator of No Man’s Sky, to his set. This trend continued last week when Colbert invited speedrunner Mitch Fowler to show off his world-record holding skills in Super Mario Bros. 3.
Colbert started the interview by having Fowler give a quick definition of speedrunning and then talked about his world-record run in SMB 3. Fowler told the audience that he could beat the game in three minutes and 8 seconds, which is information Colbert used to set up a pretty funny segment. Colbert asked Fowler if he thought he could beat the game faster than it would take a track team to run a 4 x 400 relay race.
After Fowler said yes, Colbert then asked if he could complete a Mario 3 run faster than the time it takes to cook and eat a Hot Pocket. Fowler, who streams on Twitch under the name MitchFlowerPower, again answered yes and the competition was on. Colbert dubbed it The Late Show 3-Legged Race: Video Game Speedrunner Edition.
The program used a split screen format to show Fowler playing Super Mario Bros. 3 at the same that Colbert was sitting next to a microwave, cooking and eating a Hot Pocket. Also technically in the competition was the Columbia University men’s 4 x 400 team, although it looked like that video was pre-recorded. Fowler obtained both warp whistles in World 1 and then used a glitch in World 7-1 to skip directly to the end of the game without completing any of World 8. The run took 3 minutes and 25 seconds, but Colbert ended up eating the Hot Pocket just a bit faster, in what may have been a rigged outcome.
At any rate, it was then revealed that Fowler’s appearance was a promotion for Summer Games Done Quick, the popular Twitch speedrunning event. This year’s stream began on July 3 and ends on July 10. Last year, Summer Games Done Quick raised $1.2 million for charity, so it’s nice to see the 2016 event getting some free advertising from a mainstream TV show.
Speedrunning does appear to be getting more and more attention both in and outside of the gaming press these days, thanks to speedrunners like Fowler and Darbian, who recently broke the world record for the original Super Mario Bros. That’s a good sign for those who think that eSports are one day going to be as big as athletic sports.
Source: The Late Show