Strategy Guides

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Newcomers frequently ask for advice on how to play well. This page gathers resources that give strategy advice.

For now, almost all of the resources discuss speedrunning on the NES, but only because those are the resources we know; if you find something that talks about other modes (like vs. or high scoring) and platforms (like SNES or N64) please feel free to add links here and we can categorize as appropriate.

The Four Pillars of Dr. Mario
This is probably the first document that beginners should check out. It discusses the most fundamental strategy thinking points and some of the terminology that has become common in the community.
Speedrunning Reviews by dmwit
This video playlist takes intermediate-level speedruns and reviews them, pulling out various lessons and patterns that speedrunners can think about and incorporate into their play.
Slow Thoughts
One of the top NES speedrunners discusses their thoughts as they replay several levels in slow motion to give you a peek into their head as they play.
Dr. Mario (GB) Run Explanation
The GameBoy and NES world records holder discusses what they were thinking as they played each move of their PB run.
Thinker run, 0-4
Several community members spend 3 hours together thinking about each move in a playthrough of levels 0-4. (See also the at-speed playback if you want to see the results of the thoughts without the pesky delays associated with thinking.)
Sweet T Guide
The GameBoy and NES world records holder discusses setting up for a particular class of clear, including discussions of when and when not to make the setup attempt.