bus edited over the castle at the end of a super mario game level

Imagine a Bus Stop

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Updated Mar 01, 2020 at 04:13PM EST by Philipp.

Added Feb 28, 2020 at 12:43PM EST by Philipp.

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Imagine a Bus Stop, also known as Bus Analogy, is a popular analogy used by Super Mario Bros speedrunners to explain the "frame rule," a limitation of Super Mario Bros. timing system. Created by prolific Super Mario Bros. speedrunner darbian and often used by speedrunners and speedrunning channels, the analogy became a popular subject of jokes in the community due to its frequent use.


In Super Mario Bros, the timing system of the game measures whether the player has completed a given level in 21-frame (.35 second) increments. If the player fails to finish a level within any given increment, his level completion time will increase by .35 seconds even if they only were late by a single frame.

On February 1st, 2016, Super Mario Bros. speedrunner darbian uploaded a YouTube[1] tutorial for any% category speedrun of the game.[2] In the video, darbian uses an analogy to explain the rule.

Imagine that the castle Mario walks into at the end of each stage is a bus station, and that Mario must take a bus to the next stage. In the Mushroom Kingdom, buses operate on an oddly specific schedule, such that every 0.35 seconds a bus departs. When Mario reaches the end of a stage, he must wait for the next bus to depart.
When it comes to speedrunning this game, the frame rule means that you don't have to play each level perfectly to get a perfect time, you just need to play each level fast enough to get on the same bus as someone who did play it perfectly.


On April 7th, 2016, Kotaku[3] quoted the analogy in its article about the Super Mario Bros. any% world record.

The analogy saw extensive used in Super Mario Bros. speedrunning community in the following years, used by darbian and other speedrunners to clarify the "frame rule." For example, on January 18th, 2017, speedrunning history YouTube[4] channel Summoning Salt used the analogy in its Super Mario Bros. any% video, with the video accumulating over 1.8 million views in three years (shown below, left). On September 9th, 2019, Summoning Salt[5] again used the analogy in its video on Super Mario Bros. Warpless category progression that received over 1.5 million views in six months (shown below, right).

Due to its excessive use on YouTube and Twitch, the Bus Analogy gained popularity as a meme in the speedrunning community, being referenced in comments and memes. For example, Starter Pack meme posted by Redditor[6] Camwood7 in /r/speedrun on September 15th, 2019, received over 1,800 upvotes in six months (shown below).

SMB1 Speedrunner explaining framerules starter pack Creanree JACE'S WIN de cabris 4ELECTRICSUS EETRIC 21

On October 31st, 2019, Scratch[7] user Miniland333 uploaded a minigame parodying the analogy, also posting several speedrunning videos of it on their YouTube[8][9] channel.

Various Examples

AK @Akfamilyhome Bad Mario jokes: haha what if super mario got HIGH on mushrooms XDD and what if he is secretly an abusive sociopath Good Mario jokes: You wanna know how the pipe sent him to the 4-2 Warp Zone? Well first imagine a bus stop 9:50 PM Β· Jul 6, 2018 Β· Twitter for Android Marenthyu @marenthyu Replying to @Acelister and @TheSphericalCat To understand a speedrun of smb1, we first need to talk about frame rules. I always like to imagine it like a bus at the flagpole . <queue @summoningsalt -like explanation> 7:48 AM Β· Apr 4, 2019 Β· Twitter Web App
Highlighted comment ClimateAdam 1 month ago In 2020: "so what's a bus stop? well imagine a frame rule." 74 1 REPLY Highlighted comment Badspot 1 week ago I can't imagine a fridge, all my imagination got used up imagining a bus. 121 1 REPLY Highlighted comment ownerfate 8 months ago .. I will now think of Mario trying to catch a bus every time.. lol 12 11 REPLY

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