- 1 Introduction
- 2 Personal History and Education
- 3 Sami's SMK History
- 4 Development of the Super Mario Kart Time Trial World Records Site and Activities
- 5 Super Mario Kart European Championship 2008
- 6 Super Mario Kart World Championships 2009
- 7 Super Mario Kart World Championships 2010
- 8 R3PLAY Retro Gaming Event at Blackpool 2010 and live World Record attempt
- 9 Rise in Time Trials again
- 10 SNES Online Tournaments (SNESOT) website
- 11 Super Mario Kart World Championship 2011
- 12 Guinness World Records 2012 Gamer's Edition
- 13 Super Mario Kart World Championship 2012
- 14 Volunteering at more Retro Gaming Events 2013 onwards
- 15 Super Mario Kart PAL Time Trial World Champion for the 2nd time, 10th March 2013
- 16 Losing the PAL Time Trial title to Guillaume Leviach
- 17 Super Mario Kart World Championships 2013
- 18 Sub 58 second Mega-Barrier at PAL Mario Circuit 1 Time Trials
- 19 Mario Kart 8 Promotions for Nintendo UK at EGX
- 20 Super Mario Kart World Championship 2014
- 21 Sub 56 second barrier broken on Mario Circuit 1 NTSC Time Trial
- 22 Involvement in other Mario Kart games
- 23 World Titles and Records in a few other games
- 24 Personal Life
- 25 Sami Cetin's Super Mario Kart PAL Time Trial Videos (Some are current or former World Records)
- 26 Sami Cetin's Super Mario Kart NTSC Time Trial Videos (Some are current or former World Records)
- 27 Sami Cetin's Multiplayer Tournament Achievements
- 28 External Links
Sami Cetin was born in London, UK in October 1982 to Finnish and Turkish parents, and is the Founder and Director of the Super Mario Kart (SMK) Time Trial World Records Site for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System SNES. He was the chief times and news updater of the SMK community since November 1998, and continues this job on the 2006 automated reincarnation of the site as a Global Director. His dedication and long-service to Super Mario Kart have earned him the title 'Godfather of SMK'. Sami is a two time PAL Time Trial World Champion of Super Mario Kart (also holding the title of the longest reigning PAL Time Trial World Champion by cumulative number of days) and is currently 2nd in the World following his rival Guillaume Leviach of France. Sami first held the Time Trial title from September 1998 to April 2004 (at one point holding all 40 WRs) and has also maintained the title as the UK National Champion on SMK for all of the modes from 1998 to present. He is most famous for his achievements on Mario Circuit 1 (the first race track in the entire Mario Kart franchise), by being the first to reach a Non-NBT 1'00"99 in August 2000. This led to an eventual Guinness World Records entry in 2012 with a 58.34 seconds World Record time. On Christmas Day 2013 he became the first person on Earth to break the PAL 58 second barrier with a 57.90 seconds World Record. Sami won the overall Multiplayer Title for the first time at the Super Mario Kart World Championships 2012 held in Thil, near Reims, France during 21st - 26th August 2012. He is also the overall PAL and NTSC Super Mario Kart Online Multiplayer World Champion from 2011 - 2013 on the SNESOT Rankings based on a combined overall points system (not individual years). Sami is a senior moderator of the SMK forum and a popular member of the kart community.
Sami has a BSc in Computing and Business Administration at the University of Kent between 2002-2005 and has been working full time since. His hobbies also include recreational weight training/bodybuilding in the gym, designing and updating the SMK site, producing and editing independent films with his friend Jason Mathoora, growing Sunflowers in the garden, travelling and socialising with friends.
Personal History and Education
Sami Cetin first attended Downsview Primary School in South London in September 1987. He developed an interest in Mathematics, Computers and Designing activities that would forge the skills he would use in the future. He and several others during the later years of Primary School took an interest gaming as consoles became popular. Sami also participated in some Christmas productions that helped develop an interest in acting, one that he would not study in future, but take part in recreationally for Jason Mathoora's films. Due to suffering from asthma since 1984, Sami was unable to perform heavily in sports; this prevented him from participating in football and related activities from a young age. However, as a turn of events, Sami did participate in athletics on some occasions and he even scored 1st in his year and school for the Long Jump event in 1994. He went on to compete at the Croydon athletics vs competitors from other schools but due to lack of time and training he was unable to reach the desired results. He wouldn't participate in any other sporting / physical activity until the end of his teen years.
Secondary school began at Stanley Technical High School in September 1994 where Sami developed his education in many subjects. On his first day there he met friends that he has stayed in contact with until this day, including Jonathan "Biff" Sifleet, John Barber and Neil Skipper. Sami's subjects at school leaned more towards languages, Business and Computing which he would later go on to study at College and eventually University. He had developed a strong interest in civil aviation and wished to become a civil aviation pilot, however this dream was later not fulfilled due to various constraints, so he instead pursued other subjects of study. Sami also attended a Turkish Language School on Saturdays to complete a GCSE course from late 1997 up until Summer 1999 in which he achieved a grade A. He also performed well in all of his other exams at the end of Secondary School and set his sights for his next step.
Sami Cetin attended Coulsdon College to study A-Levels that he performed well in and enjoyed at GCSE; these were Computing, Business Studies and German. Although he had lost contact with his school friends for these few years he met many more people between 2000-2001 and had memorable moments during his A-Level studies. From late 2001 Sami ventured out to bars with a few friends and bumped into his old friends Jonathan "Biff" Sifleet and John Barber from school and since then has stayed in touch with them regularly. He also met Jason Mathoora in College who was one of the few people he kept in touch with from College when leaving in Summer 2002. Sami thought it was time to develop a new hobby and began training in the gym with weights and also to improve his cardiovascular (by inventing his own training methods such as running after buses, his asthma while still present was slightly better than during his childhood). Sami became involved in some small film projects of Jason's to relive some of the brief acting he took part in at primary school.
After passing his A-Levels Sami was able to attend the University of Kent at Canterbury to study his degree course in Computing and Business Administration where he moved away from home for 3 years (returning to visit friends and family during holiday periods or a few weekends). The course began in September 2002 and lasted until June 2005 with his final exams finishing a month early. Sami continued his gym training by taking it more seriously involving a strict diet that lasted the 3 years of his University time. He made several friends during these years and involved some of them into his gym training programmes that he wrote himself. By the 2nd year he had a training group of 5 people. Sami spent time socialising and working on his Uni projects in the computer rooms and the library. He enjoyed evenings out in the main Uni bar and in town on a weekly basis. These were some of the happiest days of his life that will always be remembered. Sami graduated in 2005 after sucessfully completing a 102 page dissertation and the final exams. He shortly after found full time employment in the City of London. Following his graduation he went to see Star Wars Episode III in the cinema which he had been looking forward to see during all of his University years; this was a present for himself for reaching the end of his many years of study. Sami did visit Canterbury a few times the following year to see friends only, but since then everyone he knew there has moved on.
Sami's SMK History
Sami Cetin first played Super Mario Kart following Christmas 1992 and his skills developed very quickly into 1993. During this time he realised very early the correct driving techniques with D.K.Jr to enable him to approach corners with perfect lining up in order to achieve fast times. He started off playing on Grand Prix mode during the first years mainly as the faster speed allowed him to test his skills on reaction time. Although the Internet age would not be popular until some years later, Sami felt he would have been a fast player, however he had little competition at the time.
On the 29th March 1994, it was his father's birthday and several friends and family visited Sami's home. During this time Sami felt it would be a good occasion to organise Super Mario Kart Tournament between the family friends that were attending. 8 players were gathered for a Match Race tournament and were organised into the brackets for single match races. As most of the players were on a beginner to intermediate level at the time it was kept only to Mushroom Cup courses. The participants included Sami's brother Hakan, sister Ayla, cousin Esra, friend Jonathan Cem Pulleine (later ranked on the Time Trial site) and 3 more friends of the family. The Semi-Finals saw a face off between Sami and one of the players with Sami reaching the final. Hakan did really well in his Semi-Final but was overtaken by Cem. The final took place on Mario Circuit 2 with Sami having a bad start after being hit by Cem's red shell. Sami made a comeback in the last lap with a Mushroom to win the Tournament that day. He did not participate in a similar Tournament again until 2006.
During 1994 Sami continued to improves his speed and skills on Grand Prix mode, noting some of his records there on paper to track his progress. During this time he had a vision that one day he would like to know all the best players around the World in SMK and to be able to compete, however without any means to find players, the dream looked seemed a little far fetched. However Sami was unaware that during this year in the Netherlands there were Nintendo Tournaments where several games were played with many competitors. Super Mario Kart was a popular one with the Super Mario Kart PAL World Champion at the time, Steven Zwartjes who competed there on Super Mario Kart and Street Fighter 2; retiring from those two games following winning the tournament, Edwin Peeters then took over as the Dutch front runner. In 1995, French gaming magazines contained a competition on several SNES games including holding some fast Super Mario Kart Records, some of which had reached the level of Steven Zwartjes in 1994, therefore possibly taking the fastest PAL Records at that time, but then retiring a few years afterwards. However, Sami was still unable to find similar activity within the UK.
In 1996 Sami decided to involve a few more family members including Karim Hasso and they started on Time Trial mode. Karim however only really focused on Mario Circuit 1 but Sami focused on the other tracks a fair amount also. By the end of 1996 Sami was at a very strong level on Time Trial but was still unable to find external competition. He spoke to a few friends from his local school who played a bit and were later contacted to join in the competition on the site when it started. Sami continued to improve his times semi-regularly through 1997 although it was not registered on a site as he had not been online yet, he had reached the level of UK Champion on Time Trial after landing ahead of former UK Champion Matt Leech who was active up until this time. Mario Kart 64 arrived and Sami turned to play this for a while but was back to SMK very soon after to continue improving his records.
Development of the Super Mario Kart Time Trial World Records Site and Activities
Before the Summer of 1998, Sami Cetin and Hakan Cetin connected to the Internet for the first time and Sami immediately searched for Time Trial Records on Super Mario Kart. He was very surprised to find sites run by Dirk Wegener of Netherlands and Rene Elsässer of Austria that contained records, however he was disappointed to see that players were inactive on SMK since 1997. He also found an active site for Mario Kart 64 and communicated to a few of those karters. Sami was excited to see that his Time Trial Records were in direct competition with the current PAL Time Trial World Champion from Netherlands, Edwin Peeters. Sami continued to work on his records and then contacted Rene Elsässer regarding his page of SMK WRs. Rene responded and Sami's records were added in on the 18th September 1998 earning him the position as PAL Time Trial World Champion of Super Mario Kart. However this was only the beginning of the fun...
By November 1998 Sami realised that there was no competition in the existing dormant sites available, unlike Mario Kart 64 which was picking up competition very well. He liaised with Rene and decided that he would like to create an expanded site for Super Mario Kart Time Trials that would serve a large number of players. This would be created manually and initially hold World Records and Top times, starting with Top 10 or Top 20 only. He also decided to expand by including NTSC times driven by players in America and Canada as separate pages with their WRs and Top Times. Rene really liked this idea so the project was passed on to Sami which he updated manually for the next 7.5 years. To start off with there were few NTSC players, however Michael Liem of the Netherlands assisted Sami with finding archives of the past Champions from the 1996 - 1997 era including PAL and NTSC players such as David Wonn, Laurens Liem and Michael Liem himself; and also PAL players other than Edwin Peeters such as Australian Champions Ademir Cortes, Martin Bowman, former UK Champion Matt Leech and a couple of others. Sami then decided to put together the times of some of his family members that used to kart and also a few friends at his Secondary School whom he spoke to about the site. The site had about 20 members on PAL at this stage and a few on NTSC including the NTSC retired champion from USA, Travis Nelson. Sami hoped that by early 1999 that many members would join, but only few came to the Super Mario Kart Time Trials. It seemed that players didn't play Super Mario Kart anymore. While it was true that many didn't, Sami was wrong...
In Summer of 1999 Sami travelled to Turkey with an ambition to expand the site. He took several documents with him to help him work on the expansion. He was discussing ideas with the Kart Historian of the Player's site of Mario Kart 64, Kevin Booth and decided that he would like to create a similar format for Super Mario Kart. A full Player's site with more features such as Player Profiles and overall Rankings including Total Times and later on Standard Times. Kevin really liked the idea and advised Sami to pursue this. Sami drew up some blueprints while staying in a small village in the middle of mountains in south Turkey. This allowed him to come up with what he wanted the front page of the site to look like and also the Players list, rankings and later the POW Awards. He implemented the bluprint designs towards the end of August 1999 on his return to London and full Player's site was completed. The site's design remained in that format for nearly 7 years. By the start of 2000 competition started to pick up, particularly more on the NTSC side with some rivalries near the top from new members, this competition continued consistently through the year into the new Millenium.
In 2001 a large community of Super Mario Kart players from France became involved with the Super Mario Kart Time Trials and Players site. Their champion at the time Nicolas Clementy was the first to join, and many followed afterwards. This year saw a boom in the activity on the site which Sami managed with pleasure and enjoyed the competition. In 2002 Sami had his first great threat to his rank by Michael Jongerius of Netherlands (who in recent years became #1 at Mario Kart 64). Sami had joined University at this time but continued to kart into early 2003 where they had an amazing battle of World Record Swapping on PAL. Sami took 11 World Records in one week after solid driving and then retired from competitive Super Mario Kart to pursue other interests and University life. He did however continue recruiting players and maintaining and updating the Super Mario Kart Time Trial World Records site. Michael Jongerius also retired and focused more on Mario Kart 64. Sami didn't realise that there would be more threats to his title.
Site activity continued to climb during Sami's time at University as he updated from the University library, and bit by bit new French Champion Pierre L'Hoëst was inching away towards Sami's rank. Despite players asking Sami to return to defend his title, he refused stating that he was retired from the competition and busy with University, following the introduction of NBT (New Boosting Techniques) that were being used as an advanced form of driving to lower times further. The inevitable happened and in April 2004 Sami lost his title of Super Mario Kart Time Trial World Champion on PAL. However Pierre's title didn't last as long as expected as the Netherlands provided a new secret weapon: Karel van Duijvenboden. Karel started off in the middle of the ranks but picked up on his skills very quickly and before long he rose to the top. Sami was still not considering a return to PAL when Karel reached #2 on PAL pushing Sami down to #3. Pierre tried to defend his rank but Karel proved too strong with NBT and overtook Pierre to become the PAL Time Trial World Champion by the end of 2004.
2005 was another busy year for Sami as he had a lot of projects at University and final exams. After graduating he started full time employment which meant less SMK time but he still worked on updating the site although it was becoming a strain due to the volume of active members each week. Sami's rank on Super Mario Kart declined as he was no longer involved with Time Trial himself but only occasionally met up with #2 and #3 in UK, Matthew McCarthy and Chris Clark respectively for some races which he was still able to perform very well in. Sami was then ranked at his lowest rank of #7 in the World on PAL by the end of 2005 and was set to drop further.
At the beginning of 2006, one of the first World Meets was planned for July of that year. As a result, Sami was forced out of retirement to learn NBT near enough from scratch to be able to take on the French and Dutch players. His return began around April 2006 where he struggled to make any prs as his NBT skills were very weak. He persevered however and gradaully made progress and the players saw him climb back up to #3 in the World on PAL by the time of the meet. Another major development in Sami's SMK World occured in May 2006, Alex Penev helped develop an advanced database and new look for the site with more automation as it moved to a new location at http://www.mariokartplayers.com/smk/ (original server URL http://www.mariokart64.com/smk/) with more automation and several filters and stats. This assisted in the updating time greatly and provided many exciting targets for the players including new members.
Sami was finally able to meet more International karters from the site when they visited London in the July 2006 and raced against the Dutch karters Karel van Duijvenboden, Gerard Roodhorst and Michael Jongerius with success in Match Race. Sami's toughest battle was vs One of the top French racers, Florent Lecoanet which had a crowd watching and went neck to neck until Sami took the win at 12-8. Sami won a few more Match Races and GPs vs the French players and then lost to Pierre on Match Race when he visited for a day during this time. It was a very enjoyable meet and the players took part in other activities including a game of football in the park.
In early 2007 the French Players organised their annual Fun Cup in Paris where they hold a big meeting. Dutch, British and Swiss karters and other gamers were also invited where Sami took part in further match races. He lost once again to Pierre, however successfully won vs all the other players of France and Switzerland. One of the tough new matches was vs Paris Champion Harold Christensen for a London vs Paris showdown. Sami struggled on a few tracks as Harold took the lead on wins. Then when they reached Bowser Castle 1 disaster struck as the R button on Sami's snes pad broke internally and collapsed on the inside causing him to lose his lead and the race on that course. Sami was 3-1 down at this point, but the karters provided him with a tempoarary pad until his one got repaired. On the other cups Sami made a comeback to win 13-7 on this match race. He watched several other matches between the players there and they were also able to visit the city in Paris and play another game of football as part of extra activities.
Sami attended the Next Level Gaming (NLG) meeting in Orkanger, Norway in July 2007 where he entered several competitions/activities including SMK and other games; an international football tournament with the other visitors, bowling, go-karting and a mountain hike in the middle of a night during poor weather conditions. The SMK tournament was set on Match Race which chose the Top 16 based on 3-try Time Trial attempts of MC1. The Top 16 included players from France, UK, USA, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Australia. Sami made it to the final but lost to then current Match Race World Champion, Florent Lecoanet of France who later that year went on to win the CDF/CDE in France; it was a disappointment as Sami had won a friendly vs Florent 13-7 a few days earlier, however it was great to travel and meet many people and reach 2nd place. The football Tournament was a success as Sami created designs for Team UK with the slogan "Team UK - Feel no Way" in honour of Biff's success with the Street Fighter Alpha 3 and other activities at the Paris meet earlier that year. The Teams wore the t-shirts for the first time in the football tournament on a hot summer's day in Norway and later for most of the games. Three teams were constructed to divide the numbers evenly; Norway/Sweden (Scandinavian Team), the France/Holland team and the UK/USA/Australia team. The Scandinavia Team made a surprising attack on France and Holland with a 9-2 win. Team UK joined with Aus and UK struggled a little more but secured a smaller victory against France and Holland. The odds were against Team UK with injured and tired players for the final against the Scandinavian hosts. However with great teamwork they were able to prevail and managed to win the match 4-1 vs the younger crowd; they went on to enjoy the rest of the gaming and acitivites during the week.
October saw another opportunity for Sami to organise a games meet; his 25th Birthday involved a room hire in Fairfield Halls, Croydon, South London with several tvs and games available. The event had several UK visitors including friends and famil members, the Dutch, French and one from Norway. One of the highlights that Sami organised was a Tournament on SMK for 150cc Grand Prix mode on Mushroom Cup for the Beginner/Intermediate Level karters, featuring some of the Dutch and French Karters. The final was between Vincent van der Fluit and Sami's niece, making her first International Tournament debut, Leyla Hasso who was 8 years old at the time. Leyla wore her Team UK T-Shirt in the same design template as those created for the Norway meet and was able to win the tournament after some skilled driving. Leyla shortly after went into retirement from SMK to pursue Nintendo DS and other interests. The weekend was a success and the players looked forward to future meets.
Super Mario Kart European Championship 2008
Following the yearly successes of the Championship of France in Super Mario Kart; the French Federation of SMK (FFSMK) decided to reform their yearly tournaments for SMK into the first European Championship (CDE). This tournament involved 8 countries (7 from Europe and one USA representative), accounting for a total of 43 visitors, where 39 took part. Although Sami had some unlucky match results on Semi-Finals and 3rd Place matches, he reached 4th place overall and performed exceptionally well on Battle Mode as it was previously not a strong mode for him. His Time Trial result at the CDE brought him up to a strong position, but he lost the 3rd place match to Matthias Boucher on Vanilla Lake 2 (a track which he earlier won in the group stage). Match Race again went very strong with a flawless 18-0-0 win for Sami in the group league stage, however a Semi-Final landing with Florent as Florent didn't reach top in his group caused an unfortunate early exit with a 9-5 loss. Battle mode was his first time to compete on a professional level there and he did exceptionally well reaching the Top 5, very close to the Top 4 after losing 7-6 to Harold Christensen. By GP mode the tiredness started kicking in, with a 4-2 loss to Florent on Semi-Final, however he picked up the pace in the 3rd Place match vs Karel where he gained his medal. Had he reached those few wins he could have certainly been 3rd and probably 2nd at the CDE.
His final results also made him the official UK Champion for all the multiplayer modes of SMK. Sami was joined by a strong Team UK (altogether 8 members). Other tournaments were set up where a few competitors were involved in other game tournaments during the time, with John Barber winning a Gold Medal on the Pro Evo 2008 Tournament and good prize money. Sami won a Nintendo Wii and a Bronze Medal on the 150cc part of the tournament; also including a 2nd Place trophy for the alternative SMK Master Cup Tournament after dethroning French rival Harold Christensen in some close battles.
Super Mario Kart World Championships 2009
Sami attended the first World Championship of Super Mario Kart 2009 (renamed Championnat du Monde (CDM) from Championnat d'Europe (CDE)) which was held at Allenjoie, a small town in the East side of France. The village locals were very friendly and even visited for the opening day and closing ceremony. Sami turned up in his new trademark "Godfather of SMK" suit but later it got too hot (very hot summer that year) so he changed into the Team UK outfit. He was joined by Ben Allen, Sean Billingsley and Chris Clark on this year, and he had come prepared, allegedly with a few things to show on Match Race. After Daniel Guemy (FFVIMan) fixed a damaged d-pad, Sami went on fire to win his first Gold Medal at a World Championship. The next day Match Race was a struggle in the early stages and Sami had a near loss to Karel in the Semi-Final. Willing to fulfill a prophecy of sorts he made a comeback to win 9-7 there and enter the final vs current Match Race Champion, Florent Lecoanet.
The Match Race Final was the most tense and albeit controversial Final seen. Florent took a comfortable lead at the first part with 6-3 and the pattern looked as though it would end in an 11-5 or 11-6 loss for Sami, similar to the norway result from 2 years before and the Semi-Final last year. However, after this Sami gained several lightnings, 5 in total for the match which turned the score around to 9-6 in Sami's favour. Florent had one lightning on Mario Circuit 3 and bagged a few more wins while Sami took one more. The score was 10-10, the tension in the room was crazy. And Florent's World Record track, VL1 was next. Perhaps out of nerves he missed the zoom start and the risky driving caused him to crash more. Driving steadily Sami then cruised to the finish and turned round in shock for winning the Match Race Final and first Gold medal.
Sami fared well on Battle Mode this year and managed to defeat Harold in the Quarter Finals but lost severely in the Semi. The Grand Prix mode was next and Sami had a chance for the overall title! He drove really well, pushing his way through to the Final after reaching 1st and 2nd in the Group stage with his team mate Ben Allen. He tried in the Final but couldn't progress vs the consistency of Lecoanet and took a Silver Medal there plus 2nd overall in the Championship.
Super Mario Kart World Championships 2010
Sami also confirmed attendance at the SMK World Championship 2010 held in the Village of Thil near Reims, France again as per the 2008 European Championship. Sami entered this year alone as the only member of Team UK. Big pressure was on from last year's Match Race Final and the other competitors were aware that competition would only get sharper this time. Sami found refuge and guidance from Dutch gaming Legend Patrick Wessels for the most of this week and this helped as he didn't have his team around this time. Former CDF Champion Pierre L'Hoest returned this time without training to see where he could reach. It was a struggle but he managed 3rd overall which was am amazing achievement.
The Time Trial was up first and it went relatively well despite some mistakes. The Semi-Final went slightly wrong and Sami landed in a 3rd place match vs Pierre which was set on Koopa Beach 1. Both players unaware that they made the exact same mistake on one of the laps. They pushed ahead adding pressure then Sami made one more mistake, costing him the one try and Bronze medal as he was actually nearly a second in the lead but then dropped a few seconds back.
Match Race was the mode everyone was waiting for; Florent would have his chance for revenge after last year's encounter with Sami's lightnings. Sami would have to prove himself to again try to reach the Final and prove if he can win the Gold without a lucky item draw. Pressure was on from the get go... and the group stage Sami had a lot of problems, quite a few players got lightnings vs Sami and he barely got a load of 3-1 wins which could have placed him in a bad place in the bracket. The later stages his form picked up and he was in good shape by the Quarters and Semi. Florent encountered Karel in a Quarter Final which almost ended in disaster for Florent as Karel was about to win 7-6 when Florent this time took a lighting to get the win. Sami comfortably took Harold down in the Semi-Final and then mentally prepared for the final which Florent reached also. The Match started and this time Sami put a lot of pressure on with a 4 or 5-0 lead. Florent caught most of the way back after this and they continued about 1 or 2 wins apart for the duration of the match. The score was 10-9 to Sami and then Mario Circuit 1 appeared as the final track where Sami took the win with a lucky star to defend from Florent's Red shell. Both players only had 1 lightning each at the most and the remainder was clean so Sami was pleased to show that both competitors were at a strong level and had a close match.
Battle Mode group stage went well in Sami's favour with a few good players having earlier exits, so Sami faced Matthias Boucher in the Quarter Final who was a very tough opponent but Sami advanced to the Semi-Final. He then met destruction again at the hands of Geoffrey Label who advanced to the Final to take on USA's Drew Blumfield. Drew won the Battle Mode for a Gold Medal. Florent had a slightly better lead this time on points so Sami would have to eliminate Florent in the Semi's on Grand Prix 150cc. Not wanting to do this with the system in the poules he just played the standard way and reached top of the group. Both Sami and Florent had clean wins through the bracket with Florent again winning the overall title by the time he reached the Final. Sami however had one last fight up his sleeve. The GP 150cc final started off and Sami sneaked the first cup win. Florent then went on a path of destruction winning 4 cups in a row; one more and he would win the GP. Then miracle happened and Sami fought back taking it to the wire. He managed to bag wins on 3 more cups to make the cup score 4-4. The last and Final cup started and some mistakes cost Sami the cup, allowing Florent to narrowly win 5-4. This was one of the closest someone ever was to eliminate Florent Lecoanet in a GP Bracket round since he has had the title.
R3PLAY Retro Gaming Event at Blackpool 2010 and live World Record attempt
In November 2010 Sami attended the R3PLAY Retro Gaming event in Norbreck Castle, Blackpool, UK. The event catered for gaming on all consoles old and new that was prepared by a large team who hosted. There were around 2000 visitors during the weekend. Representatives from Nintendo, Sony, Sega, Microsoft were present and various other celebrity figures in the industry. All proceeds towards the event would go towards charity and Sami participated in a Match Race challenge for casual players by giving a large head start on two Super Mario Kart tracks; any challengers would contribute a small fee towards charity and if they finished the race before Sami caught up they would win a small Nintendo related prize. Sami raced a few hundred challengers and 4 players were able to reach the finish line.
The second challenge presented to Sami was to do a World Record attempt for Mario Circuit 1 fastlap on PAL Time Trials. The previous World Record of 11.34 seconds by Pierre would be tough to take down, but after many close shaves he was able to reach a new World Record of 11.32 seconds live at the event. He also tried to attempt the 5-lap World Record but due to time constraints was only able to improve the British Record that weekend. A few weeks later he took the course World Record and also did the same on NTSC for 5-lap and 1-lap.
Rise in Time Trials again
Sami participated more in Time Trials in late 2010 and into the first half of 2011 hitting some goals on weaker tracks. Mario Circuit 1 became his strong point again and he also landed a World Record for Mario Circuit 3 on PAL. He improved his times to near World Record level or thereabouts on tracks such as Koopa Beach 1 and Vanilla Lake 1, more recently taking World Records for Ghost Valley 3 on PAL. He hopes to continue to lower some of his weaker times in future.
SNES Online Tournaments (SNESOT) website
A number of former zbattle players set up a community called SNESOT, in which players can link up to play online Tournaments in various SNES games. Super Mario Kart was a large feature and there has been some fierce competition, in particular due to the slight delay nature of online gaming. Sami however was able to win his first Battle Mode NTSC Tournament after a close bout vs some of the Top US Battle Mode Specialists. He has since placed 1st in the NTSC Match Race for two years in a row and also won the NTSC 150cc GP in 2012. Some PAL competitions took place and Sami is usually a Quarter finalist on Battle Mode as per the CDMs. He was unable to win the PAL Match Race and GP 150cc Tournaments online but was still a strong contender finishing in the top few. Sami is still the overall leader on Super Mario Kart online tournaments overall. The community may adjust the tournaments to focus on NTSC online in future as the PAL appears to be less smooth, with the exception of Battle Mode which doesn't require as much on cornering and driving precision.
Super Mario Kart World Championship 2011
Sami also confirmed attendance at the SMK World Championship 2011 to be held in the town of Santeny in the suburbs of Paris, France. He is also attended with 4 other members of Team UK. Sami placed in 3rd in the Time Trial one try after an unfortunate Semi-Final elimination on Ghost Valley 1, and subsequently won the Mario Circuit 4. He faced Karel van Duijvenboden in the Match Race final instead of Florent Lecoanet this year due to Karel eliminating Florent for the first time in a Semi Final. Sami won Match Race to make it 3 years in a row. Sami performed steadily in the Battle Mode league but was eliminated in the Quarter Final by Harold Christensen and then on the final day had a tough path through the 150cc Grand Prix league, but managed to reach the final and come 2nd on that mode. Sami placed 2nd overall in the 2011 Championship, which was his 3rd time achieving this rank.
Guinness World Records 2012 Gamer's Edition
Sami Cetin was called to do a photoshoot for the Guinness World Records 2012 Gamer's Edition book; while dressed as Mario in a go kart and a racing track, along with a few other Guinness World Records members dressed up as other Mario characters. This was featured in the Guinness World Records 2012 Gamer's Edition book in January 2012 along with Sami's Time Trial World Records for Mario Circuit 1.
Super Mario Kart World Championship 2012
Sami was asked to bring the largest Team UK for this year's special 20th anniversary celebration year. 8 of the Top UK players attended including a first time appearance of Sami's niece Leyla Hasso. This year would feature an exhibition NTSC Tournament set around the usual main PAL Tournament. An NTSC Time Trial one try was on for the first night. The crowds were surprised to see why Sami refused to enter it, but instead he helped with the scoring along with Patrick Wessels.
The PAL competition got off to a good start with some fairly consistent driving by Sami on the Time Trial One tries; big rival Florent Lecoanet was unfortunately eliminated in the Quarter Final and Sami succeeded to the final vs Karel with a very close Choco Island 2 in which both competitors made a minor error and Sami won the first Gold Medal by 0.20 seconds. Sami dominated at Match Race again and had to face his main rival Florent in the Semi-Final. His form was solid and was 8-2 up at one point, finishing in a 9-4 win. Sami went on to face Geoffrey Label in the Final to win 11-6 and gain his 4th Match Race Gold Medal in a row. Sami now had a large lead on the overall points, so this was maybe his chance for the overall title. Battle Mode went very well in the group stages but after suffering some poor form he was eliminated swiftly in the Quarter Final by Florent Lecoanet. Florent however was unable to reach a medal so he didn't catch up much on the points. 150cc Grand Prix was next and Sami managed to push through with a few minor errors along the way. Unfortunately he ended up facing Lecoanet who has been an unstoppable force on this mode and Sami lost 4-0 on cups to him due to missed zoom starts and some random item hits that cost him key races. However Sami secured a Bronze Medal here after a 4-0 cup win vs Karel and for the first time won the overall Multiplayer World Championship on PAL.
A 2nd exhibition Tournament took place on the final day for the NTSC mode based on the shorter Belgian Tournament System. This comprised of Match Race, Battle Mode and GP. Although not all players entered, it had a long list of top competitors. Match Race went very well and after lots of SNESOT experience here Sami won it 5-1. Sami was eliminated in Semi-Finals on Battle Mode but won 4-1 vs Team mate Conor Wood to reach his first Battle Mode medal on a console. Sami later managed to with the GP 150cc for consistent driving and therefore managed to win the overall NTSC Open Tournament for 2012.
Winning both PAL and NTSC Tournaments in 2012 was a dream come true for Sami and he hopes to see other competitors push to do the similar achievements for the future, not just in SMK but other game competitions.
Volunteering at more Retro Gaming Events 2013 onwards
Sami Cetin has become more involved in Retro Gaming Events in the UK by teaming up with his niece Leyla Hasso to help run Super Mario Kart Tournaments for the casual gaming visitors (non Time Trial and SNESOT members only). These have been successful with a a wide age range of guests taking part showing that this retro title can still be enjoyed to this day even if players are not professional level. Events such as Play Expo and Games Expo East Kent were large venues where Sami and Leyla have helped out in, and look forward to continue this for the future.
Super Mario Kart PAL Time Trial World Champion for the 2nd time, 10th March 2013
After nearly 9 years, Sami finally reached the PAL Time Trial World Title on Super Mario Kart on Sunday 10th March 2013. He passed Pierre L'Hoest towards the end of 2012 for 2nd Place, the title was not far in front and it was predicted that this would happen in 2013. Then after challenging a few tracks and finally Vanilla Lake 2's 0'48"41 held by Karel van Duijvenboden since 2007, Sami landed a new Vanilla Lake 2 World Record of 0'48"33 to help him gain the average finish lead for the overall title. He has plans to work on more tracks this year.
Losing the PAL Time Trial title to Guillaume Leviach
On Sunday 4th August 2013, long time rising star of Time Trial, also known as "The Rainbow God" for his powerful Non-NBT performances there, Guillaume Leviach of France made a rise to the Top of the Time Trial Charts. He passed Pierre L'Hoest to reach the French Time Trial title on both PAL and NTSC and also Dutch Champion Karel van Duijvenboden by the end of July. Sami had a brief battle earlier in the month but has been relatively inactive on Time Trial for personal reasons in the summer. Guillaume Leviach along with countless strong new World Records reached his greatest goal yet which was to take the Time Trial World Title on PAL from Sami on this date. Sami has plans to challenge some of these World Records later but no specific plans have been set as of yet.
Super Mario Kart World Championships 2013
Sami attended the Super Mario Kart World Championship 2013 in the town of La Suze-sur-Sarthe near Le Mans in France between 20th - 25th August 2013. He was joined with 8 other members of Team UK including his niece Leyla Hasso who was on her 2nd visit there and performed exceptionally well reaching the Top 16 overall. There were 35 competitors in all and Sami placed 2nd on the overall Grand Ranking combining the 4 modes, narrowly losing to his main rival Florent Lecoanet whom he beat and won the title from in the previous year.
The Time Trial one try mode was tough this year but Sami performed generally well. He unfortunately had a small slip on Ghost Valley 2 in the Semi-Final but then in the sudden death 3rd Place Match he won on Bowser Castle 2 vs Matthias Boucher to get a Bronze Medal. The final was won by Guillaume Leviach who recently got the PAL Time Trial title.
Grand Prix 150cc was moved to be the 2nd mode for the first time. It started off a little rough for a number of competitors but the zoom starts later picked up. Sami had a tough Quarter Final vs Geoffrey Label winning 3-1 on cups then forced out a 4-0 Semi Final win vs Dutch Champion Karel van Duijvenboden with a number of green and red shells. The Final however was the most unexpected event, where Florent who had not been defeated in 7 years had a match to the end. Sami was two cups down then eventually 4-3 up and lost one more to make 4-4. The Final Special Cup went to the wire with Sami winning KB2, GV3 and driving dangerously on VL2. He only needed to place 2nd in Rainbow Road to win. Florent and Sami had a battle mode round literally on Rainbow Road, but Sami pulled through and continued on for the safe win, taking the Gold Medal on 150cc Grand Prix for the first time and ending Florent's 7 year reign there.
Battle Mode wasn't as successful this year for Sami, as he struggled in the group stage but managed to just about reach the Quarter Finals, but losing to Geoffrey Label 7-1 afterwards. Sami's team mate, Conor Wood reached a higher Quarter Final position thus holding the UK Battle Mode Title by points for the first time.
Match Race was traditionally one of Sami's favorite modes, and he won the group stage with flying colours. However he was on a path to face Florent Lecoanet in the Semi-Final again, like last year. Unfortunately the items that happened and some crashes didn't go completely in Sami's favour this time and he was defeated 9-6 by Florent, ending his 4 year Match Race reign. Florent went on to win the Final 11-7 vs Julien Holmiere, while Sami comfortably wins the 3rd Place Match 9-3 vs Geoffrey Label for another Bronze Medal.
Sami and his team also met a Japanese player this year, Takashi Ogasawara who holds the fastest 150cc Records of the World on NTSC. They all had some good races with him and hope that this will widen the community more. Sami finished his World Championship 2013 unveiling a new Mario Circuit 1 PAL Time Trial World Record which he will improve again soon.
Sub 58 second Mega-Barrier at PAL Mario Circuit 1 Time Trials
Sami has also been working on Mario Circuit 1 Time Trials on PAL in the latter half of 2013. His 58.34 second Guinness World Record was beaten by his main Time Trial rival and current overall #1, Guillaume Leviach with a 0'58"26. On the final day of the 2013 World Championships, Sami revealed a 0'58"24 World Record. In September he lowered this to 0'58"12 and 0'58"06. After that he was stranded for a while due to the difficulty level and approaching sub 58 barrier that he was after.
On Christmas Day 2013, just an hour or so into the day, which was also 21 years exactly after he first played SMK, it happened. Sami Cetin landed PAL Mario Circuit 1 Course in 57.90 seconds which marks the first person on earth to go sub 58 seconds there, plus completely destroying his old Guinness World Record from a few years ago.
Mario Kart 8 Promotions for Nintendo UK at EGX
With the release of Mario Kart 8 due on the Nintendo Wii U in 2014, Sami has also partaken in some interviews along with his niece Leyla Hasso, filmed by Nintendo UK. This was also a good promotion of the upcoming new release and they were asked to have a demonstration of the game. This had taken place at EGX in London in late 2013 and the video was prepared for March 2014: Sami Cetin and Leyla Hasso try out Mario Kart 8
Super Mario Kart World Championship 2014
The Super Mario Kart World Championship 2014 took place between 12th to 17th August 2014 at the same venue as the previous year; in La Suze-sur-Sarthe, near Le Mans in France. NintendoLife have kindly written up a good article detailing the event: NintendoLife article on the Super Mario Kart World Championships
Sami Cetin is attended once again, along with 6 other members of Team UK with a wider range of skill sets; his niece Leyla Hasso, making her 3rd appearance, Conor Wood and David Moll with their 4th appearance, returning racing specialist from Watford, Hertfordshire, Chris Clark, and two newcomers, Ashraf Khan and Darren Gian. Large promotions have been done at Expos in France and the UK. His team performed well with three of the players, Sami, Conor and Leyla landing within the Top 16 overall; 2nd, 11th and 13th respectively.
Sami's overall performance was strong considering the heightened level of play from all of the competitors and the new system used in the group stages meaning more rival competitors. Sami managed to reach the Final in the Time Trial one tries, losing to Florent Lecoanet narrowly on Mario Circuit 2 due to lack of longboost usage. The Match Race group stage was a disaster for Sami as he tied and lost to many rivals setting him in a difficult position in the bracket. He managed to pull through, facing rival Julien "Scoub" Holmiere in the Quarter Final and later Geoffrey Label in the Semi to land in the final. A close match vs Florent Lecoanet happened and Sami lost 11-7, due to a few minor mistakes towards the latter part and a couple of lightnings that assisted Flo. Battle Mode went well in the group stages with Sami reaching a height of 3rd seed, to later go out in the Quarter Finals with a 7-2 loss to Drew Blumfield of USA. 150cc Grand Prix was solid with a good performance during the day and evening with Sami and Florent proving to be the top contenders there once again. Sami lost 5-0 on cups to Florent in the final but won some close races in between. Sami Cetin reached the 2nd Place Trophy overall, with Florent in 1st, and Julien Holmiere 3rd on the overall podium. Each of the 3 competitors plus 4th Place Geoffrey Label and 5th Place Karel van Duijvenboden were treated to Nintendo Wii U's as prizes, courtesy of Nintendo of France.
The Super Mario Kart World Championship 2014 was a big success with the competitors, twitch tv, media and the players are hoping to expand further in the coming years and invite more players.
Sub 56 second barrier broken on Mario Circuit 1 NTSC Time Trial
Following' Sami's PAL Mario Circuit 1 goal achieved in 2013 of the World's first sub 58 second time, Sami wanted to extend his goal with a further one to go for the first sub 56 second time on NTSC. This would be a challenging effort, as it was the track with a lot of competition from the 1990s and through the previous 10 years on NBT. On Sunday 23rd November 2014 he achieved this result finally with a 55.97 World Record time for Mario Circuit 1 Time Trial on NTSC.
Involvement in other Mario Kart games
Sami's prowess extends to the other kart games, and he is one of the best all-round Mario Kart players: currently ranking in 9th in the Combined Mario Kart Rankings which were created as a fun side statistic combining all Mario Kart games. He was briefly in 1st place years ago. He was formerly the Non-Shortcut Time Trial World Champion in Mario Kart 64, where he had many impressive WRs and broke milestone barriers such as Wario Stadium 3lap in which he got 3:39.99 as an NTSC time. He was also world champion of Mario Kart Super Circuit for the first few months of competition including taking many former World Records during a visit to Germany in early 2002 before retiring from the GBA title. He has spent a bit of time on Mario Kart Double Dash and a little more on Mario Kart DS. He competed on Mario Kart DS becoming UK Champion during the start of 2007 but retired within a few months to make a return to Super Mario Kart where World Multiplayer Competition was picking up. Following winning a Nintendo Wii U at the SMK World Championships 2014, Sami has acquired a copy of Mario Kart 8, but has no plans to play this to a professional level. He may look to run some tournaments for fun at events on this game for others to compete in.
World Titles and Records in a few other games
Sami is often asked at gaming events if he competes in other games for records. This was true as he did back in the day used to play a few other titles. These were mainly SNES games... Stunt Race FX (Wild Trax on SFC) was released in 1994 and Sami is known for being the current unanimous Time Trial World Champion there on both PAL and NTSC versions of the game holding all 32 respective Free Trax Time Trial World Records. He had a couple of rivals in Canada to compare with but none have been able to surpass his records since.
F-Zero SNES was also a big favorite for Sami where he also enjoyed PAL Time Attack competition, and he holds the UK Records for Mute City 1 and Big Blue, amongst many other strong times that are some of the best in the country. The competition on this game has been huge around the globe, making it tough; nevertheless Sami has reached 12th in the World on F-Zero Combined PAL and NTSC World Rankings not taking into account some additional professional F-Zero players from Japan who are unranked. Combining these it is expected that Sami would be in the Top 16 overall at the most. His Mute City 1 time is officially joint Top 16 in the World ever (with the Brazilian Champion and 3rd fastest in USA). Above them in the Top 15 are the Canadian, Dutch, German and Swedish records, plus the two fastest in the USA. And as National Competition was so great here; a great 9 players in Japan hold records in the Top 15, including the Official World Record Holder, Legend.
Street Racer for the SNES was a Super Mario Kart clone (although had different handling) but still followed the same Mode 7 graphics. It had a Time Attack mode aswell where you could specify how long a course time you wanted to do and a system to do Best Laps primarily. Sami is the unanimous Time Trial World Champion of NTSC on this game and holds most of the World Records on PAL (17 out of 24). His main rival being Pierre L'Hoëst of France who holds the other 7. However on an overall basis this makes Sami the Time Trial World Champion of both PAL and NTSC versions.
Sami has also competed on Micro Machines 2 : Turbo Tournament for the SNES for Time Trials. But didn't favour the game for Multiplayer as much. To add another racing game to his list of professional competition from the 16 Bit era, Sami was able to be the Time Trial World leader here officially since November 2011 with 22 World Records out of a possible 54. He has other rivals though including Harold Christensen who are more skilled on some of the other tracks and haven't entered competition on all of them yet. Should this happen they are likely to rise to the title. He has expressed interest in competing with the World Records there as well as a side project for the future.
Micro Machines V4 for Playstation 2 was well enjoyed and introduced to Sami around the Norway 2007 meet time. The current Time Trial World Champion based on full completions average finish is Marius Hukkelas of Norway. However a faster player currently holds 29 World Records out of a possible 51 and is considered to be a Champion on this category; Super Mario Kart's Multiple Championship winner Florent Lecoanet of France. Sami doesn't have any World Records here but is the UK Champion of this game.
Sami was a keen player of many Nintendo 64 Titles, although mainly for recreational purposes such as Banjo-Kazooie. However prior to that, a racing game called Diddy Kong Racing was released which was a huge hit. Time Trial competition was also fierce here and he is the London overall Time Trial Champion on combined charts.
Another game which Sami had some moderate success in was Banjo-Pilot on the Game Boy Advance. He is currently the 2nd fastest player in the UK on Time Trials following Ben Bayntun.
Sami likes to keep himself healthy and has never smoked in his life nor does he drink any alcohol. He has suffered from moderate asthma since childhood but keeping active with a training programme at the gym has helped to ease this a lot. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with friends and family, travelling to new countries, movies, civil-aviation, reading, and growing Sunflowers in the garden.
Sami is not married and has no children. He is single since 2012 with no further plans for any future relationships at this time.
Sami Cetin's Super Mario Kart PAL Time Trial Videos (Some are current or former World Records)
- PAL NBT Mario Circuit 1 Course - 0'57"90
- PAL NBT Mario Circuit 1 Lap - 0'11"23
- PAL NBT Donut Plains 1 Lap - 0'13"67
- PAL NBT Donut Plains 2 Course - 1'25"55
- PAL NBT Donut Plains 2 Lap - 0'16"79
- PAL NBT Bowser Castle 2 Course - 1'41"21
- PAL NBT Bowser Castle 2 Lap - 0'19"86
- PAL NBT Mario Circuit 3 Course - 1'26"98
- PAL NBT Mario Circuit 3 Lap - 0'17"05
- PAL NBT Bowser Castle 3 Course - 1'29"41
- PAL NBT Bowser Castle 3 Lap - 0'17"61
- PAL NBT Ghost Valley 3 Course - 1'14"66
- PAL NBT Ghost Valley 3 Lap - 0'14"69
- PAL NBT Vanilla Lake 2 Course - 0'48"33
- PAL NBT Rainbow Road Course - 1'26"64
Sami Cetin's Super Mario Kart NTSC Time Trial Videos (Some are current or former World Records)
- NTSC Mario Circuit 1 Course - 0'55"97
- NTSC Mario Circuit 1 Lap - 0'10"85
- NTSC Ghost Valley 3 Course - 1'12"27
- NTSC Ghost Valley 3 Lap - 0'14"28
- NTSC Vanilla Lake 2 Course - 0'46"29
Sami Cetin's Multiplayer Tournament Achievements
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