Unless you’re speedrunning the Super Mario 3D All-Stars version of the game, it will be absolutely necessary to learn how and where to use the backwards long jump.
The backwards long jump is, on the surface, exactly what it sounds like: doing a long jump while holding backwards. The devil is in the details, however, and understanding why this glitch does the things it does is crucial to becoming a good Super Mario 64 speedrunner.
What Is The Backwards Long Jump?
The backwards long jump (BLJ) is a glitch that manipulates the long jump against an obstacle (oftentimes stairs, slopes or walls) to gain hyperspeed, which allows Mario to clip through doors and avoid loading zones, cross large gaps or just zoom through areas with a large amount of speed.
The BLJ is a staple tool for lower Star speedruns in Super Mario 64. It’s used to clip through Star Doors in Peach’s Castle that would otherwise require a certain amount of stars to get through; this skips huge portions of the game, which has led to the incredibly low times we see in the lower Star categories.
BLJs can be used in other areas besides skipping Star Doors; it can allow players to speed through larger levels and also clip through gated areas (an example of this would be the Star behind the Chain Chomp’s gate in Bob-omb Battlefield.)
How Does The BLJ Work?
The BLJ glitch is caused by a lack of a negative cap on Mario’s speed. Normally when Mario does a long jump, his velocity increases by 1.5. Mario’s speed will slow down due to drag, which is why a normal long jump will behave normally.
However, by using a slope, staircase or other obstacle, and doing backwards long jumps into them, Mario can perform a series of rapid BLJs that aren’t slowed down due to drag (since Mario immediately is on the ground upon performing each long jump) and, because of the lack of a negative limit on his speed, the long jumps can build a tremendous amount of speed. Once the player stops doing BLJs, Mario will begin moving with hyperspeed.
How Do To The BLJ
To do a BLJ, you want to do a long jump against one of the aforementioned obstacles (staircases might be a good start.) Make sure Mario is facing away from the obstacle when you long jump, and then immediately hold the directional stick in the opposite direction (into the obstacle.)
If you do the BLJ correctly, you should be able to mash A and do a series of jumps to gain hyperspeed. There are only a few frames in which the speed from the long jumps can be retained, so be sure to play around and get a feel for how the technique works. You’ll want to start at the bottom of the stairs to give yourself enough room to get hyperspeed. Additionally, depending on where you’re trying to BLJ, there may be “markers” that you can use as a visual guide to setup a BLJ.
(This video by Greg MacD helps demonstrate how to do a backwards long jump)
The backwards long jump is a necessary technique to learn; put in the time to understand how it works and how to perform it consistently, and you’ll be on your way to getting incredible speedrun times in Super Mario 64.