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30 years, 30 memorable facts about Super Mario Bros.

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  • 30 years, 30 memorable facts about Super Mario Bros.

    Diving deep into the game that propelled Nintendo's rise in the home console market.

    By Kyle Orland

    While Mario technically made his debut in 1981's arcade classic Donkey Kong, this weekend marked the Japanese debut of Mario in his most familiar modern-day form: Super Mario Bros. The iconic game went on to sell over 40 million on the Nintendo Entertainment System and Famicom, not to mention millions more through re-releases and ports on other systems. Earlier this year, the game was among the first ten inductees into The World Video Game Hall of Fame.

    As someone who has been unnaturally obsessed with Mario trivia since childhood, I thought I'd use this auspicious anniversary to highlight 30 of my favorite little-known facts about the game that started Mario's glorious run on home consoles. Most Mario fans are probably familiar with some of these little factoids, but if you knew all 30 before reading this article, well...give me a call, because we should probably be friends.


    The Mushroom Kingdom

    1. The original instruction booklet for Super Mario Bros. details how "the quiet, peace-loving Mushroom People were turned into mere stones, bricks and even field horse-hair plants." That means every brick you break in the game is killing an innocent mushroom person that would have been saved once Princess Toadstool "returned them to their normal selves."

    2. In the first seven worlds of Super Mario Bros., killing Bowser with fireballs reveals that he's actually a smaller enemy wearing a "fake" Bowser suit. In order, these hidden enemies are: Goomba, Koopa Troopa, Buzzy Beetle, Spiny, Lakitu, Blooper, and Hammer Bros.



    3. Gears of War developer Cliff Bleszinski is listed in the very first issue of Nintendo Power with a high score of 9,999,950 in Super Mario Bros.

    4. Yuji Naka said in an interview he was inspired to create Sonic the Hedgehog after countless attempts at beating the first level of Super Mario Bros. as quickly as possible.

    5. Shigeru Miyamoto has said Mario eats mushrooms to get bigger in the game "because you see people in folk tales wandering into forests and eating mushrooms all the time."


    6. Early design documents for Super Mario Bros. include a rocket pack that can make Mario dash forward in mid-air, a "beam gun" item, and the option for hand-to-hand combat.



    7. As long as Mario is descending when he hits an enemy from "below," he will bounce off the enemy rather than taking a hit.

    8. In a two-player game, only the first controller can pause the game. This means the player using Mario can pause the game even while player two is controlling Luigi. This bit of trolling was fixed in Super Mario All-Stars.

    9. While many people assume the turtle-hopping trick to get unlimited 1-ups was a glitch, Miyamoto has said it was put in the game intentionally.

    10. If you get more than 128 lives in the game using the infinite-lives trick, you'll get an automatic "Game Over" the next time you die, thanks to a buffer overflow error.

    11. Super Mario Bros. famous "Minus World" appears as "world -1," on-screen, but in internal memory Mario it's actually referenced as "World 36-1." When the game tries to display the 36th entry in the character table, it just happens to be a blank space.

    12. The Famicom Disk System version of Super Mario Bros. actually has a different version of the Minus World. In that game, you play through three levels and then get a Game Over, rather than staying in an infinite underwater loop.

    13. YouTube user GamesHaya seems obsessed with using glitches to achieve infinite 1-ups on just about every level of Super Mario Bros. (and the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2). Some of his methods are truly incredible, including one that requires killing off a second player to create a glitched vine for the first.


    14. The Super Mario Bros. cartridge includes code for an unused "brown ball" object that Mario can climb like a vine.

    15. To save memory, the game recolors the same sprite for the bushes and clouds in the background of most levels.

    16. If you grab a mushroom in mid-air and hold down the A button, Mario will perform a full height double jump after he increases in size.

    17. If you hesitate in place long enough, the Hammer Bros. will leave their post and chase you down.

    18. Collecting all the coins in the third level of a world will activate a hidden 1-up mushroom in the first level of the next world.

    19. When you hop off the top of a vine to the clouds, jump off, and hold up on the d-pad, Mario will do a little dance in place.

    20. That kid in the schoolyard was right: you can jump over the flagpole. It's possible in World 3-3, if you time your jump just right or on other levels using glitches. Your reward? An endless void where you walk aimlessly to the right until time runs out.


    21. The Nintendo 64 is Nintendo's only home console without a version of Super Mario Bros. The game was re-released in Super Mario All-Stars on the Super NES, as a hidden collectible in Animal Crossing on the GameCube, and as a downloadable Virtual Console game on both the Wii and Wii U. The game was also re-released on the Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and 3DS in various forms.

    22. NES Remix 2 on the Wii U contains a version of Super Mario Bros. called Super Luigi Bros. The game scrolls from right-to-left and only lets you control Luigi, who jumps higher and comes to a stop more slowly than Mario.

    23. The Super Mario All-Stars re-release of Super Mario Bros. is slightly easier in a number of ways. You get two extra lives at the start, Podoboo fireballs shoot up higher (giving more time to pass underneath), and sound effects let you know which path is correct in the maze levels.

    24. There was an officially licensed port of Super Mario Bros. for certain computers in the mid-'80s. Super Mario Bros. Special was released in Japan for the NEC PX-8801 and Sharp X1 in 1986. The game features new levels as well as a disgustingly dithered color palette and jerky scrolling that makes it by far the worst official version of the game ever released.

    25. The version of Super Mario Bros. you may have seen in arcades is actually a slightly tougher version of the game Vs. Super Mario Bros. featuring more enemies, fewer items, and no way to warp to world 7 or 8.

    The real world

    26. Super Mario Bros. was originally planned as the swan song for the unadorned NES, preceding the introduction of the Famicom Disk System that would supposedly make plain cartridges obsolete. That add-on never even saw release outside Japan.

    27. No one is entirely sure of the North American release date of Super Mario Bros. There's some evidence it launched alongside the NES on October 12, 1985, but there is plenty of conflicting information out there.

    28. The minimum score that has been achieved on a full run of Super Mario Bros. is 500 points. This is actually quite tough, requiring avoiding all enemies and coins and waiting for the clock to run down to zero at the end of every level with a flagpole.

    The Mushroom Kingdom

    29. Speedrunners have managed to beat the game in under five minutes by making copious use of glitches.

    30. The Super Mario Bros. movie and the Super Mario Bros. Super Show aren't the only embarrassing live-action videos inspired by the game. The Super Mario Bros. Ice Capades, broadcast on ABC in 1989, starred Alyssa Milano and Jason Bateman, with Christopher "Mr. Belvedere" Hewett as King Koopa. It has to be seen to be believed.
    The Hackmaster

  • #2
    Super Mario is my most favorite video game to play from the starting. We all friends and cousins use to play together. So much fun and enjoyment.