A Challenge is a self-imposed restriction of performing certain tasks, making the completion of the game harder. Restrictions include the use of a certain button (the A Button, for example), the use of cannons, collecting coins, and the use of caps, etc.
Often, these challenges lead to the discovery of many glitches, while some must be utilized to make up for a loss of a certain function. For example, restricting the A button forces Mario to use techniques such as frame-walking, enemy manipulation, and cloning to complete the tasks. Collecting the 5 secrets in Bob-omb Battlefield coinless requires making a Premature Clone of the top coin and landing at the 30-unit high area to collect the secret without interacting with the center coin.
- Main Article: UBER Challenge
The challenge was created by Mario64Masters. The name of the UBER challenge was borrowed from Manocheese's Über Challenge for Ocarina of Time. Basically, this challenge forbids any coins and collectibles (except chests), switches, cannons, teleporting, caps, opening boxes (except a star), damage (except falling), and activating movable platforms. Additionally, enemies must not be interacted (including Lakitu, but except Bowser and MIPS).
There are 39 stars that can be collected RTA, and 46 stars are possible in a TAS run.
The Pacifist Challenge forbids any combat with enemies except for Bowser. Any non-killing actions are allowed. The number of stars that can be collected is 97 glitchless, and 101 for TAS runs. In a full game run, however, killing the Boo for entering Big Boo's Haunt is considered nonpacifist, cutting off the available 2 stars, and therefore the actual number of stars that can be collected is 95 glitchless and 99 with TAS.
The following stars cannot be collected in the RTA pacifist run.
- BoB (3): Big Bob-Omb on the Summit (enemy), Footrace with Koopa The Quick (requires the previous star)
- WF (2): Chip Off Whomp's Block (enemy), To the Top of the Fortress (requires the previous star)
- BBH (7): All stars are cut off due to entering the course requiring killing a Boo.
- If entering the stage is allowed, then only two stars (Secret of the Haunted Books and Seek the 8 Red Coins) can be collected.
- HMC (1): HMC 100 coins (only 92 non-enemy coins)
- LLL (2): Boil the Big Bully (enemy), Bully the Bullies (enemy)
- SSL (3): In the Talons of the Big Bird (Klepto), Stand Tall on the Four Pillars (enemy)
- SL (1): Chill with the Bully (enemy),
- THI (4): Pluck the Piranha Flower (enemy), Rematch with Koopa the Quick (requiring Star 1), Make Wiggler Squirm (enemy), THI 100 coins (infinite coin glitch requires killing Piranhas)
The following stars can be circumvented if glitches or TAS strategies are allowed:
- BoB - Mario Wings to the Sky: BLJ with Wing Cap (TAS only), due to the cannonless requirement, as Bob-omb buddy can never be unlocked
- WF - Blast Away the Wall: A wall clip can be performed to reach the star cannonless.
- SSL - SSL 100 coins: 100 coins can be collected using infinite coin glitch, done by disappearing cork box glitch in the course. 86 non-enemy coins otherwise.
- SL - SL 100 coins: 100 coins can be collected with an infinite coin glitch, by activating Time Stop from the snowman and repeatedly collecting a nearby coin. 58 non-enemy coins otherwise.
A Button Challenge
- Main Article: A Button Challenge
The challenge aims to reduce the use of A Button in courses, first documented in Curtis Bright's website. Since then, many techniques are applied in an attempt to bring down the A Press count, with pannenkoek2012 being the biggest contributor to the challenge. There are 96 stars that can be collected on a full game basis without the A Button using TAS.
The only rule is that the player cannot collect any coins. Specifically, no yellow, red, or blue coins can be collected. Techniques where Mario saves 0 coins into the game by collecting multiples of 256, or pause buffering to prevent the coin counter from going up, are not allowed.
Mario is able to collect 81 stars in a full game run, and 82 stars on a single star basis. The remaining 38 stars require collecting coins and therefore not allowed.
To qualify as capless, Mario cannot use any special caps except the cap effects obtained from the start of a course. To qualify as cannonless, Mario cannot use any cannons.
Using the capless and cannonless ruleset from the UBER Challenge, all except one star (Wing Mario over the Rainbow) can be collected, resulting 119 stars that can be collected.
The most difficult stars to collect include:
- BoB - Shoot to the Island in the Sky, 100 Coins, Find the 8 Red Coins: Going to the island can be done by long jumping from the top of the mountain.
- SSL - Free Flying for 8 Red Coins: Tornadoes, Fly Guys, and Klepto can help Mario collect the 4 aerial coins without the wing cap.
- Vanish Cap under the Moat: The cage can be reached by performing a side flip to a wall kick, removing the need of using a vanish cap.
- Main Article: CCC Challenge
The CCC Challenge combines Coinless with Capless/Cannonless. The restriction is extremely heavy, leaving very few stars that can be collected, as some of them inadvertently collect coins during the process.
Mario is able to collect 81 stars in a full game run, and 82 stars on a single star basis. While this is the same number of stars collectible as Coinless Challenge, the workarounds are much harder to achieve.
No Buttons Allowed/Buttonless Challenge
- Main Article: No Buttons Allowed Challenge
The No Buttons Allowed Challenge (also known as the Buttonless Challenge) forbids the use of A, B, Z, Start, L, R, and (to some extent) C buttons. This challenge was created by pannenkoek2012 to push the game to its limits.
The C buttons are only allowed when they only affect the camera and don't affect actual gameplay. For example, the C^ Hyperspeed glitch is not allowed.
The challenge is more difficult than simply restricting the A button, since this disables many maneuvering options that Mario can use, such as jumping, diving, sliding, and more. The challenge cannot be done as a full game run as there is in-game text that cannot be advanced without the use of buttons.
There are only 33 stars that can be collected, many of which require complicated strategies.
- Main Article: ABZ Challenge
The ABZ Challenge is similar to Buttonless, but instead of restricting all buttons only restricts the three primary buttons, A B and Z. Instead of requiring that they don't be used at all, it allows simply using the minimum number of buttons possible.
It was created by Ethan White as an alternative to the Buttonless challenge, since the Buttonless challenge did not allow the start button, and consequently did not allow changing languages on PAL version to minimize text box button presses.
Low Doors Challenge
Beat the game while opening as few doors as possible. The door is considered used when the door opening cutscene occurs. Doors are skipped using BLJs and HSWKs, pause exiting, and routing to avoid moving between castle floors unnecessarily.
Any% needs to open only 2 doors to complete: one door to enter the basement (using either the key door or moat door), one door to enter the upper floors.
120 Stars needs to open 4 doors to complete: one to enter the basement (using either the key door or moat door), one to enter the upper floors, one to enter the courtyard for BBH, one to exit the CCM slide level through the cabin. Unconfirmed door skips exist in BBH, HMC, and skipping the door to the endless stairs using HSWKs. The 50 star door stairs BLJ cannot be used for the latter, as Mario needs to stop at the 3rd floor to get all stars, and cannot pause exit out from the 3rd floor.
No Joystick Allowed Challenge
- Main Article: No Joystick Allowed Challenge
The No Joystick Allowed Challenge forbids the use of Joystick inputs, considered to be the inverse of No Buttons Allowed Challenge.
As the joystick provides the vital function for Mario to change directions and run, the challenge takes route planning to the extreme. The challenge can only be done on a single star basis and not a full game run due to absurd limitations.
There are only 46 stars that can be collected, many of which require complicated strategies.
Floor is Lava Challenge
- Main Article: Floor is Lava Challenge
The Floor is Lava Challenge is a challenge created by Timestoppa that disallows standing on floors that aren't part of objects.
Some challenges have been created as jokes, and then actually been executed, such as Plush% (collecting specific stars to make the STROOP file menu spell out "PLUSH."
These are single goal very hard challenges "Impossible" Single-Goal Challenges
- How many stars can you get in a Pacifist Run of the game? Recounted to include infinite coin glitch with box