The image you see above is the second Malleo, (TASer) found a trick in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door that has been tested and wanted for about 1-2 years.  The trick wasn’t only found by him actually, it’s the result of a collaboration of him, SolidifiedGaming and Really_Tall who has been glitch hunting this game.  I wasn’t there when they began to work on it, but I was there for some months before the finding so I could hear enough about it to make a post about it.

The trick itself

If you are interested by how the trick works, this video pretty much explains it:

If you want a summary, basically, with a surprising amount of steps that are as of this post only possible to do with tool assisted (like frame advance), you can get on top of a ground that leads to a map skipping a huge portion of the last chapter of the game.  This skips also several requirements to beat the game which is why speedrunners put a lot of effort and research on finding a way to get to this ground.  At last, a concrete scenario has been done.

However, this post won’t be about explaining why and how this trick works, the video above just did it for me.  It will be more about how its very complex structure became in my opinion one of the most interesting glitch setup I have seen.

Explanation of what is the core of “glitch hunting”

As someone who worked on this game (the English version at least 🙂 ) for several months and still glitch hunting Super Paper Mario, I can already tell you how this trick became to be quite representative of what a glitch hunter tries to do.

Because in itself, it might be confusing to get how this works.  We all know a bug in a program is an error that leads to illogical effects so glitch hunting these effect……seems like you are trying to find something that doesn’t make sense so……why is it even possible to search them???

Well, here’s the irony: from my experience, glitch hunters don’t actually try to find what’s wrong with the game first.  They would more try or at least attempt to determine what is right about the game in other words, try to determine how the game works logically.  It involves a tons of tests to see how the game works in its depth of the mechanics or basically, they try to reverse engineer the game enough to understand it.  Eventually, what’s going to happen is they would try to test……improbable or maybe even impossible scenarios that you wouldn’t expect to try at first if you were just enjoying the game for the first time…..maybe even AT ALL!  These tests would reveal how the game handles strange, erratic or even wrong scenario, if this thing happens, how the game will take it?  What;s going to happen if I try this?  These information might seem at first glance useless, but they are still kept in memory (and sometime documented for references) so that they might eventually help.

Which is where the core of glitch hunting is because eventually, you would know so much about how the game reacts to several scenarios that it would be possible at one point to piece them together and form a glitch.

Sure, some glitches can be found by luck because as I said earlier, they most likely don;t make sense so you might not even be trying this and eventually find a random glitch, but glitch hunting as the point of at least making it more likely that more complex glitches can be found be testing the game.  This is why these tests helps, you will eventually find something that could save a lot of time for speedrunners, but the idea is based on originally, trivial facts about the game.

The complexity of palace skip is due to the amount of steps, not the steps themselves

This is where my interest of palace skips comes in.  The trick as you may have noticed from the video is very complicated to perform, even if you had the tools to do it, it has a feel of being really complex as a whole.  However, the reality is that the trick is actually very simple to understand (the video does an excellent job at explaining it so it helps).  This is because all the steps were found at different moment, different person even and the most interesting things about them: almost none of the findings required to do this trick are related each other.

Let me break down what the explanation video says in order.  I will point out each little facts that was found prior and each of them are going to sound like they would have no use or at least, have limited uses.

Breaking down the structure

The first thing the video brings up is text storage and due to how recent it was found (literally days before the finding), it was the one piece that lead to the finding along with the others.  Though, text storage itself was found by noticing a really weird facts: closing the item text box allows enemies to move again.  That fact alone is….interesting, but doesn’t do much.  Other fact: you can delay the Goombella’s activation by having her away from you.  Still fine, but not interesting.  Last fact: the game path find the Goombella’s position by getting what input you do on the ground, but you can move in the air only.  Then everything comes together, you go away from her in the air, activate her textbox which will be delayed while picking up the items which when closed, allows enemies to move again..  The end: her textbox appears while enemies can move which shouldn’t; happen and it allows encounter while you have text……  As you can notice, nothing was useful about it until everything came together and before that, everything was just a bunch of info that had no meaning.

The next step is quite trivial, you just redo the same thing so you have 2 text boxes (it will be more relevant where I explain why you even want these text boxes).  The point here is that so far, text storage is still an interesting fact in itself, but useless, you just have a text box.

After, that step is a bit interesting.  Well, the fact it not, partners spawns behind you in the JP version when ending a battle…….pretty useless to know at first.  When it becomes slightly, but not much more useful is that if you are against a wall facing the opposite direction of the wall, it goes out-of-bounds.  Ok, but still useless because it;s the partner only…..

Then the next part is…….intriguing tbh (seriously I talked with he other glitch hunters and it was hard to know why this happens), but if you close a text box with another partner…….it causes the usage of the partner.  I don’t remember all the effects, but as said in the video, the part here is that on yoshi, it causes a hover.  That had to be tested (and it was of course), but if i recall, that was a competently random find.  Having a textbox while being able to move is already abnormal and wasn’t possible before, might as well try to do stuff with it so that’s how it got found.  So this does VERY interesting things: you teleport to yoshi and you can hover.  Alone it sounds cool, but because you can put yoshi out-of-bounds (a useless fact until now)……well you can teleport underneath the ground.

But EVEN that is useless in itself, it was found forever ago that if you get too low out-of-bounds (-1000 units in coordinates), it just respawns you to where you loaded the room….how can you even get to that ground if you HAD to be on the extreme side of the room?

Well, again, different finding, different time and different meaning, it was found that there’s a spring loaded in the room even though you shouldn’t be able to use it because you would normally have stairs that goes down to a bottom floor in the room.  Well guess what, the floor isn’t loaded, but the spring is……weird, interesting, but still useless on its own.

However, now you can go underneath the room on the edge which just happens to be where the spring is so domino effect, you can use it so you can go up and since you are out-of-bounds, travel just enough to land on the front seam of the room while still out of bounds…..wow.

I just want to emphasise that so far, everything that was found was useless at first on their own, but glitch hunters found a way to give them a use by simply piecing them together.  it’s kind of a puzzle if you think about it, except you don’t know what fits with what and you don’t even know if there’s a possible end to begin with, you just try to find one.

The next part however broke possibly most people belief in how the glitch has been theorised.  See, that theory got so much attention that several research was done and it led to multiple theories.  Using a moon jump hack code, being forced to travel while a door is opening, getting on top of the save block, even using an unused partner index that is an incomplete partner in features,, etc… I heard multiple and diverse theory, but they all had a very similar goal: get to the back seam to you drop down to reach the ground in front of the loading zone.

None of them had in mind using the FRONT seam.  This trick so far can ONLY allow you to arrive on the front seam and not the back……how can you even travel to the back?  In fact, the best case here is that you got close to get to that infamous ground, but it’s very easy to have the most tiny obstacle shatter an entire theory done with effort and tests.

What made the trick here is a combination of again, useless facts, but the differences is one of them had a HUGE meaning before: double jump.  It’s a trick that allows (with very precise inputs) to jump and essentially resume your previous jump trajectory after an encounter.  It has a huge meaning because it’s used elsewhere in the game to skip quite a lot of the game.  What is interesting about it being in there is that this was found nearly A YEAR AGO!  So that finding existed, but is so far unrelated……

Except that you are out-of-bounds so is yoshi meaning he is very close to fall and you do have another text box so you could potentially make him fall then get under the floor.  Knowing the (again useless until now) fact that yoshi follows your previous inputs, you could just do the same delay method as you did with Goombella earlier while making yoshi go down.  The rest is a matter of being close enough to the back then teleport and because an enemy just happens to be there, you get the encounter while still underneath the floor.  Then the last step should be obvious: you just double jump and you land to that floor that took ALL of this to even get there.

What does this trick tells about the process of glitch hunting?

It basically tells that for this trick to have been found, it had to be started by very useless information on their own that people just theorised about them and eventually pieced them together to make a giant goal that when put together is very complex and just allows you to do something that you shouldn’t but skip a ton of the game.

It also tells another thing I find quite important: you have to be open-minded to multiple outcome because no one had a theory about using the front seam.  it just became a theory after messing with the info people knew.  Glitch hunting can really lead to unexpected results, in fact, it’s even hard to say that all glitches has been found, how can you know that?  It’s a very vague and mostly unknown because at the core, you don’t know concretely what you are looking for, but you have the idea of what it would look like.

And this is because of this complex structure, after multiple unrelated tests, unrelated findings found in the course of 1-2 years by multiple people that I find this trick very interesting.  A gorgeous setup for a desperately wanted outcome, it just fits.

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One thought on “Palace skip: where everything just fits together

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