Mario Kart Double Dash’s Hidden Shortcuts
As explained at the beginning of the video below, Mario Kart games have a long history of being a bit broken! At least as far as speedrunning is concerned. They are perfectly fine for us to play casually and we would never notice anything, but most of them have huge gaps in their code that have allowed speedrunning players to do everything from cutting into their maps to running fast bumps around the finish line to record impossible search times.
Throughout all this exploration and exploitation, however, since almost the day of its release, one game has stood out above the others, seemingly insensitive to any attempt to cut corners: Mario Kart: Double Dash.
Although only one shortcut was discovered early on, it remained the only shortcut a player would ever find for more than a decade. The reason for this is what, in my opinion, makes this story an awesome story; there are some impressive feats of hole selection speedrunners here, of course, but Nintendo’s development team also deserves credit for doing a hell of a job supporting this game out of exploitation, coding each track with rules and conditions that meant it took until 2018 for a player to find a way to break them.
I should note here that the definition of a “shortcut” used in this video does not mean the obvious, intentional ones, with which Nintendo always scatters its tracks. Rather, it is an unintentional shortcut, which relies on monitoring or exploiting the code to make serious time savings.
Something that, as you will see in the video below, has required serious work from players like GoombaNL. But when that first domino fell in 2018, with a boost from the Mushroom Bridge, it was only a matter of time before shortcuts were discovered on other tracks, from Bowser’s Castle to Mushroom City.