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In Super Mario Bros, there is a glitch, where a certain set of frame-perfect presses allow you to jump directly into the bottom block of the flagpole at the end of the level. In this article on the Mario Wiki, it describes the glitch as:

The player must jump right next to the block that holds the Flagpole and then jump again. If done correctly, Mario or Luigi will jump onto the flagpole normally, but the flag will remain raised.

The article also provides an animation for reference:


TASVideos describes the glitch as:

Complete the level without lowering the flag by glitching into the base block of the flagpole and touch the flapole from inside. Doing so is faster than lowering the flag. The points you get from the flagpole will be only 100. This trick isn't used in 8-3 of the warped run, since the timer would turn 343 which results in fireworks. The flagpole glitch was originally found by klmz.


Unfortunately, I cannot find a better explanation of how to cause the glitch than either of these articles. Any help on how to trigger this glitch would be greatly appreciated.

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    @TimmyJim Thanks, but that is a different glitch. I specifically would like to know about this one for creating a Tool-Assisted Speedrun (TAS). – Julian Lachniet Feb 13 '17 at 21:51
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    @JulianLachniet - I really don't think there's more to say from a purely gaming or TAS-related perspective. The glitch occurs because of how the collision detection was programmed. We could maybe expand on collision boxes in general, but we can't say for certain how it was programmed in SMB or why it results in this specific glitch when you hit the corner of a box.. – Robotnik Feb 17 '17 at 1:44
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    @Robotnik If that is the case, then I'm not going to find an answer here. However, this glitch is well known, which leads me to believe that there is at least some of an idea of how the collisions work. – Julian Lachniet Feb 17 '17 at 1:47
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    @JulianLachniet I'm pretty sure the person who understands the mechanics the most is the person who defied all expectations by pulling off the glitch with his own hands (and not on a keyboard, programming a TAS). If his explanation does not satisfy you, then I'm not sure anyone's will. – Vemonus Feb 17 '17 at 1:51
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    It almost sounds as if you're asking for the collision detection code itself and exactly why this code is failing. If that's the case, I don't think we can really help you, as I think that's a little "out of bounds" for this site. – Mage Xy Feb 20 '17 at 17:40
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I've found a pretty good explanation of how to pull off this glitch in this thread:

Okay so, to start off with, you need to have as close as possible to a perfect room 1 and room 2, you can still get a 380 that's too slow. Example here, first ever time the trick was done on real cart. Check chat replay to see how I handled it

Then, you need to jump off the stairs and while in the air press left then right for a very specific amount of frames. Which will change depending on where you jumped off the block. Then if you happened to get inputs in the air correct, you need to hope you land on a very specific pixel on the block. If you land anywhere else apart from that pixel then the trick won't work.

Then comes actually doing the trick. This part isn't very hard but there's a lot of variance. The basic inputs are, hold left for 4 frames and jump on the 4th, releasing left at the same time. That's not the only way that works though.

Sounds decently simple right? Well not so, as sub-pixels also play into account. Even if you managed to do the set up and your lined up correct, your sub-pixel could be as such where the trick just isn't possible.

I found an attempted explanation by the first person to successfully pull off a flagpole glitch in this thread. The explanation is for the flagpole glitch on 8-2, so it mentions a Bullet Bill, but the rest applies to the flagpole glitch in 1-1.

Normally when completing a level Mario will grab the pole, slide to the bottom, hop off and walk to the castle. Once he reaches the castle the timer countdown begins. There's actually an invisible block just to the right of the door to the castle that Mario ends up walking into. This block prevents Mario from walking past the castle door, and also triggers the game to hide Mario behind the background making it look like he entered the castle. So the game is constantly checking to see when Mario is walking into a block to do 2 things: hide Mario and start the timer countdown. The trick used in speedruns is to jump on the bullet bill at a specific position in order to temporarily clip into the block that the flag pole is sitting on, allowing Mario to grab the pole and then immediately get forced OUT of the block to the left. Thus, Mario is immediately touching a block, tricking the game into hiding Mario behind the background and to start the timer countdown without any delay, skipping the entire animation of the flag coming down and Mario walking to the castle.

I also found a tutorial of how to do this in a TAS and it even includes a video.

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  • While I appreciate the information, it doesn't really solve my problem. I am looking for a detailed explanation of how the glitch works in a more detailed, technical explanation. – Julian Lachniet Feb 15 '17 at 23:38
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    @JulianLachniet I'm not quite sure what you mean by that. The glitch seems to be due to Mario's pixels being considered inside the flagpole base and not activating the flag to be lowered, which you basically said in the question and which was described in layman's terms in my answer. I'll see if I can't find some more information for you, but I don't know how much more detailed information I can find describing the mechanics. – Vemonus Feb 16 '17 at 1:21
  • That comment is a good summary of how the glitch works, but wouldn't help me recreate it. For example, what are the [sub-]pixel perfect locations and what is an example setup? – Julian Lachniet Feb 16 '17 at 1:23
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    @JulianLachniet I managed to not only find an explanation by the guy who originally pulled it off in person and set a new world record, but also somehow found a video tutorial of how to make a TAS that accomplishes it, which I think was your goal anyways. Hopefully, something in my answer helps you! – Vemonus Feb 16 '17 at 1:40
  • Is this glitch specific to 1-1? – Stevoisiak Jul 17 '17 at 15:54
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I have a bit of an explanation on how to do the glitch in a TAS. First, on the first frame Mario can jump, hold left+right to get him to accelerate faster, then do a jump immediately while holding B+right. Kill one enemy, wait a few frames and do a high jump. You should be able to do another jump right after, so do it while still holding B+right. If done correctly, one more full jump will get you to the flagpole and end the level. However, on the 22nd or 23rd frame of holding the jump button and nothing else, press Left for one frame. Wait until pressing right won't get the flag to come down, and when the music stops after the A but before the F, press left for 4 frames. On the 4th frame, press jump and you've done the glitch! Hopefully that helps!

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