Andrew Gardikis is sitting on the edge of his twin bed on the second floor of his family’s house in Quincy, a boxy old video game controller in his left hand, ready to go. He reaches down with his free hand and starts a DVD recorder, hits the reset button on the Nintendo Entertainment System that came out a few years before he did, and starts playing “Super Mario Bros.” Again.
For the past 10 years, beginning when he was 14, Gardikis has been on a very particular quest. He doesn’t just want to play “Super Mario Bros.” better than anyone else in the world. He’s already done that. At 24, he has long been considered the best to ever play “Mario,” one of the most popular video games of all time. Since 2007, he’s held the world record for the fastest time.