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Super Mario Bros.

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Super Mario Bros.
Developer(s) Nintendo
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Designer(s) Shigeru Miyamoto
Release date October 1, 1985 (U.S.)
Genre Platform game
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Rating(s) N/A
Platform(s) Famicom/NES
Media 320-kilobit cartridge

Super Mario Bros. is a video game produced by Nintendo in 1985. Universally considered a classic of the medium, Super Mario Bros. was one of the first side-scrolling platform games of its kind, introducing players to huge, bright, expansive worlds that changed the way video games were created, played, and perceived. The popularity of the game was unprecedented; it ushered in a new era of console-based gaming (wresting domination from Atari), and solidified the character of Mario as Nintendo's official mascot and an international icon.

The game was originally released as a cartridge for the Nintendo Family Computer (Famicom) in Japan and the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America and Europe. Upright and table-top arcade cabinet machines were also produced.

The game was directed by Shigeru Miyamoto, who created the Mario character. He has created many other famous Nintendo titles including Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, F-Zero, and Star Fox, among others. The famous music including the classic Mario theme was composed by Koji Kondo.

Table of contents

Game mechanics

Mario jumps on a Goomba in World 8–1.

The player takes the role of Mario, or in the case of a second player, Mario's brother Luigi. The ultimate object is to race through the Mushroom Kingdom, evade or eliminate Bowser's forces, and save Princess Toadstool.

Mario's primary attack is simply jumping on top of his enemies, which kills the mushroom traitors, Goombas, and sends the turtle soldiers known as Koopa Troopas into their shells. Mario can then kick these shells into other enemies, which conveniently dispatch them; but conversely, can also bounce back and hit him. Jumping on enough enemies in succession, or kicking a shell into enough enemies in succession, double points earned with each enemy killed, eventually earning Mario a 1-up, an extra life and another chance to pass the level.

The Super Mushroom slides toward Mario. When it touches him, it disappears, causing him to earn 1000 points and double in size.

Aiding him in his quest are several power-ups, including the Super Mushroom, which would turn Mario into Super Mario, doubling his size; the Fire Flower, which turns Super Mario into Fiery Mario, allowing him to throw fireballs; Starman, which gives him temporary invincibility; and the 1-up Mushroom.

If Mario takes a hit from an enemy as Super Mario or Fiery Mario, he simply reverts back to regular Mario and the game continues. However, if he takes a hit as regular Mario, falls down a pit (regardless of status), or if the time clock runs out, he loses a life, and starts again. The point where Mario continues depends on how far he ran through the level before dying; either from the very beginning, or a set location approximately halfway through the level.

Grey Goombas in world 8–4.
The game consists of eight worlds with four sub-worlds, or levels, in each. Though there are some differences as the game progresses, typically the first sub-world is a generic above-ground (overworld) level, the second takes place below ground (within a dungeon or underwater), the third is a sky level, and the fourth is a castle. At the end of each castle level, Mario fights Bowser across a bridge over a pool of lava. Bowser may be defeated in one of two ways; either by touching the axe at the edge of the bridge (thereby dropping Bowser into the lava), or, as Fiery Mario, throwing fireballs at him to defeat him directly.

The third and sixth worlds take place at night, and all other worlds take place during the day.

After beating the game, the player is given the option to start the game again in "Hard Mode," where all Goombas are replaced by Buzzy Beetles (Koopa Troopa-like enemies who cannot be killed by fireballs), and all enemies walk faster.

In an effort to require players to spend more money, the arcade version of the game was made considerably more difficult than the home version. In particular, many of the hidden power-ups, 1-ups, and coin boxes were removed from the levels.


The game sold approximately 40 million copies in North America alone. It has been estimated that this game, next to Tetris, is the bestselling game of all time [1]. However, although the game was popular enough on its own, this is more attributable to the popularity of the NES itself, as Super Mario Bros. was most often packaged along with the console. Super Mario Bros. 3 is often cited as the best selling game of all time, which, as far as stand-alone releases go, is likely true.

The title screen of Super Mario Bros. has gone down in video game history.

The game's popularity eventually led to dozens of sequels and spinoffs; there are three direct sequels to this game on the NES platform: Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 2 (Japanese, also called "The Lost Levels"), and Super Mario Bros. 3.

There was even a TV series and a movie based on it. Mario has since been known as Nintendo's mascot and one of the most popular video game characters of all time.

Enhanced remakes

Two enhanced remakes of the game have been produced. In 1993, Super Mario Bros. was released with enhanced graphics for the Super Famicom and Super Nintendo Entertainment System as Super Mario Collection and Super Mario All-Stars, respectively. It was later released with additional features (but not enhanced graphics) for the Game Boy Color as Super Mario Bros. Deluxe. In early 2004, Nintendo rereleased the game on the Game Boy Advance in Japan as part of their Famicom Minis collection and in the U.S. as part of the Classic NES Series. Unlike previous re-releases, these versions contain no graphical updates. Differences between this and the original are that the screen images appear a bit squished, due to the smaller GBA screen, and the high score is saved to the cartridge. In addition, there is an option that allows linked play.

Release dates

The re-release of Super Mario Bros. on the Super NES featured enhanced graphics and sound.


For a more complete list of bugs and glitches in Super Mario Bros., see Bisqwit's "Super Mario Bros. tricks" page.

World -1

There exists a method to reach World -1 (the Minus World). This level is sometimes claimed to be a myth but it does exist, although it can be difficult to reach. The Minus World is an infinite water level, only accessible through World 1–2, and was not an intentionally designed level but the result of a coding glitch. Once World -1 is reached, it is almost impossible to escape, and Mario is destined to die by running out of time (assuming he survives the standard water-level obstacles as well). The name was created by a glitch, and since it is not a normal level, the name is literally (nothing)-1, creating the effect of -1.

World -1 can be reached if Super Mario uses another glitch to pass through the bricks to the left of the warp zone area, and then enters one of the warp pipes quickly before the "Welcome to Warp Zone" message appears. More "glitch" levels are available, but only through special memory-modifying tools such as the Game Genie.

In 2005, David Victor Gehrke discovered the only known exit to World -1 thus far. It involves running into both a Blooper enemy character and a red fish enemy character at the same time, near the pipe at the end of the level. If this is achieved, Mario will die and restart at the middle of World 1–2. This feat was witnessed by many, but has not yet been videorecorded.

The Minus World in the Japanese Famicom Disk System version of the game is considerably different and has three levels, after which the player is returned to the title screen as though he or she completed the game.

Jumping the flag

Dating from the time of the original Super Mario Bros. release, urban legend claimed that in levels 3–3 and 7–2 it is possible to jump over the flag at the end of the level by exploiting pulleys. The claim was for the most part unsubstantiated until 1999 when a NESticle movie demonstrating the capability was publicly released. [2] When the engine was redone for the SNES game Super Mario All-Stars, this ability was retained while found less difficult to perform (and, interestingly, the -1 bug was removed). Creators of tool-assisted console videos have also demonstrated (in the original NES game) that the flagpole can be surmounted on several other levels including 1–1. This is done by exploiting a glitch to induce a Koopa Troopa to walk across the bottom edge of the screen and then using it for an extra bounce over the pole. However, jumping the flag is not very useful as the level goes on forever and is completely empty after this. There is nothing to do but to keep running forward until Mario dies from Time Over. There are also many levels in Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels in which jumping over the flag is possible.

Little Fiery Mario

Another interesting trick that can be done through a glitch is to have a Fiery Mario that is the "small" size of Mario before he gains any powerups. This is very tricky to do, but is accomplished by allowing Bowser to touch Super Mario or Fiery Mario at the same time you grab the hatchet that drops him into the lava. This begins the power down process, but doesn't complete it, as Mario clears the level and meets the Mushroom retainer to the right. So Mario is still super size, but is flashing, like he does when he has just been hit. On the next level, the first powerup gained will be a mushroom, instead of a fire flower. This will make Mario solid again. Even though he now looks like Super Mario, watch out, because one touch from something deadly will kill him, just like little Mario. (He can still break through bricks, though). The next power up will then be a Fire Flower. When you grab it, you now shrink to little Mario size; but turn into the Fiery Mario colors, and can shoot fireballs! (He flashes to a big size every time a fireball is shot). When he touches something deadly, he turns back into the big "weak" Mario, who dies if hit again after that. This trick is very useful in some obstacles where it is easier for little Mario to pass or reach items in blocks from beneath. In Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, there are some places where you must be small to pass, and thus must power down by touching an enemy. With the little fiery Mario, you can remain fully powered and pass these areas. The only drawback is that you can no longer break through bricks in this state.


The NES version of Super Mario Bros. was re-released in 2004 on the Game Boy Advance as part of the Classic NES Series.

Super Mario and the Game Genie

It is a well-known phenomenon among those who possessed a real Game Genie that by some quirk in how the original Super Mario Bros. was programmed, the game has proven to be extremely receptive to Game Genie codes, responding with far more effects than any other known NES game. Hundreds (possibly thousands) of codes have been generated, and although large lists of them exist, none of them has proven truly comprehensive.

Current World Record

The current world record time for this game has been set by Trevor Seguin with a time of 5 minutes and 9 seconds. This claim has been confirmed by Twin Galaxies. This is only 9 seconds slower than the fastest known tool-assisted speedrun, which currently measures at just under 5 minutes.

See also

External links

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