A Button Challenge

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A Button Challenge
Abbreviation ABC
Individual stars collectible 107
Overall stars collectible 96
Is beatable Yes(WiiVC) No(N64)
Presses required for Any% 0(WiiVC) 1(N64)
Presses required for 120-Star 20
Star Details
BOB

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WF

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JRB

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CCM

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BBH

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HMC

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LLL

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SSL

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DDD

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SL

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WDW

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TTM

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THI

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TTC

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RR

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Secret

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Castle

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Bowser

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The A Button Challenge, ABC for short, is a challenge in which the number of presses of the A button is minimized, whether on a per-mission or a per-file basis. Because the A button makes Mario jump, great creativity and precision are required to progress in the game without using this "vital" function. The ABC is often connected to the discoveries of new glitches and techniques that can be used more generally throughout the game. Much of the material on the pannenkoek2012 and UncommentatedPannen channels is related to the A Button Challenge, with only 20 remaining A presses (15 unique A presses) left to optimize[1].

History

Although much of the progress in the ABC has been made since 2013, the ABC existed for over a decade earlier. Pieces of what would become the ABC were present in different terms, as early as 2001 on Walton Dell's site on multiple level pages.[2] Curtis Bright, who runs sm64.com, was keeping track of ABC at least as early as December of 2006.[3] Thiago Trujillo had what is the earliest, nearly complete count for the game (that we have access to) with a total count of about 263 presses.[4] (This list is missing all navigation presses, two of the DDD stars, three of the TTC stars, one star in RR, and BitS.)

Pannenkoek's first ABC video was for 5 Itty Bitty Secrets, and was released in August 2013.[5] The count at this point was about 212 presses, although this number dropped fairly quickly. Within the first 4 months, the count had fallen nearly 100 presses, and was down to 118. Over the next five years, many different people have worked on removing as many counts as possible, and the number has dropped to only 20 A presses in a 120 star run (as well as 0 in any% on WiiVC).

A Presses Left

A unique A press refers to a single circumstance under which the A button must be pressed during a run. This circumstance may occur multiple times, leading to multiple A presses; if a workaround is found for the unique A press, all of those individual A presses may be saved.

For example, if entering a course requires an A press, the case of entering the course is a unique A press, even if said course must be visited multiple times over the course of a run.

Below is a table of unique A presses in the A Button Challenge.

A Press # Multiplicity Stage Purpose
#1 1 JRB To collect the chest star
#2 1 LLL To get to the Elevator Tour star platform
#3 2 SSL To get out of the pyramid elevator
#4 1 THI To double jump to a higher platform and collect red coins
#5 1 THI To dive to the upper platform and grab the high red coin
#6 3 TTC To get out of the treadmill grinding spot
#7 1 TTC To get out of the pendulum box pedro spot with vertical speed
#8 1 PSS To collect the star
#9 1 WMotR To shoot out of the cannon after talking to the Bob-omb Buddy to reach the next cannon
#10 1 WMotR To shoot out of the second cannon, fly around, and collect the eight red coins
#11 1 BitFS To get past the pole (saved on Wii VC)
#12 4 Castle To enter TTC (6 except on JP N64)
#13 1 Castle To go to RR
#14 1 Castle To go to WMotR

Additionally, some levels require the A button to be held for the level, but not started on that specific star necessarily. These presses can be tied to earlier presses to lower counts in longer runs.

Below is a table of all levels that require half an A-Press.

A Press # Multiplicity Stage Purpose
#1 1 HMC To do kicks on the elevator
#2 1 DDD To clone the whirlpool and poles
#3 1 DDD To clone coin spawners for 100 coins

References