If you've ever sat through a session of Games Done Quick, then you know watching speedruns can be spellbinding. Though people have always challenged themselves to finish their favorite games as quickly as possible, the advent of Twitch and social media really turned up the heat and turned speedruns into a kind of spectator sport.
There are hundreds of games that boast a healthy speedrunning community, but Super Mario Odyssey for the Switch is a big one. People literally started speedrunning the game when it was released on October 27, 2017, and they haven't stopped since.
YouTuber Karl Jobst recently released a video that chronicles the history of Super Mario Speedruns. It's a brief but fascinating look at the hobby that starts with a run of under 2 hours on launch day down to times of under an hour months later. Jobst investigates how speedrunners went from learning how to move as efficiently as possible to finding and exploiting glitches that break level barriers. Said glitches are the key to letting Mario quickly collect the Power Moons he needs to unlock the final confrontation with Bowser.
Whereas world records for Super Mario Odyssey speedruns initially changed with the weather, records are much more stable now as veterans fight to gain mere microseconds over each other. Runner Nicroveda was the first to achieve a run under one hour at 59:59.25 on March 23. The current record at the time of this writing is 59:35, registered earlier this week by ChaosPringle. Japanese runner Goryuya currently comes in second with a speed of 59:46.249.
Note these times are for "any %" runs, i.e. runs where players just try to finish Super Mario Odyssey as quickly as possible. There are separate categories for sub-challenges like grabbing every Moon in the game, collecting all the Purple Coins, and a baffling "Nipple Run" that seemingly exists to get Mario shirtless as quickly as possible.
You can find all current and previous Super Mario Odyssey speedrun records at Speedrun.com.