- This article is about the normal Goal Pole with a black flag. For the Goal Pole with a red flag used to indicate a secret exit, see Goal Pole (secret). For the goal from Super Mario World, see Giant Gate.
Artwork of a pole from New Super Mario Bros. Wii
|First appearance||Super Mario Bros. (1985)|
|Latest appearance||Super Mario Bros. Wonder (2023)|
A Goal Pole (also known as a flagpole, Flag Pole, Goal Post, or pole) is an object that appears at the end of every normal level in most of the mainstream Super Mario games. Mario, Luigi, or any other playable character has to jump and grab the Goal Pole to finish the level. The number of points the player earns from grabbing the Goal Pole depends on how high they landed on it.
Goal Poles first appeared in Super Mario Bros., and the flags on them come in many colors, though red Goal Poles usually indicate alternate exits in the New Super Mario Bros. games. Since then, if the player manages to grab the top of a Goal Pole, they will usually earn an extra life. Goal Poles were replaced by boxed roulette-like goals in Super Mario Bros. 3 and Giant Gates in Super Mario World. A Goal Pole symbolizes Mario and friends taking over or claiming that area—taking down Bowser's flag and/or replacing it with their own.
Super Mario series
Super Mario Bros. / Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels
In Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, flagpoles feature a green pole (which can sometimes be orange or gray in certain levels due to palette limitations) and a white flag with a green skull on them, which is reversed in Super Mario All-Stars. Mario can jump over the flagpole in certain levels (such as World 3-3 of Super Mario Bros.). However, this will only result in Mario/Luigi being trapped in an empty, endlessly looping void once the flagpole disappears offscreen until they run out of time. In Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Luigi can do so more easily due to his better jumping abilities. In order to still finish the level, the brother has to jump at it from the other side. It is unknown whether this is a glitch, as it does not cause any errors, and it was not fixed in Super Mario All-Stars (however, the player this time cannot venture beyond the fortress/castle and is simply just stopped by an invisible barrier on the right side of the screen), though Super Mario Bros. Deluxe makes it impossible; Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels actually hides a few Warp Zones behind them. If the player gets a 1, 3, or 6 on the timer in Super Mario Bros., they can get one, three, or six fireworks, each worth 500 points, depending on which number the last digit is. Grabbing the top of the flagpole in these games only rewards the player with 5000 points, rather than with an extra life as is the case in later games of the series. However, in Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, the player can receive an extra life from a flagpole, but only if both digits of the coin counter and the last digit of the timer match when the player's character touches the flagpole. Mario and Luigi slide down the flagpole the same side from which they grabbed it.
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3
In Super Mario Advance 4, flagpoles return, after a long absence, in the remakes of Worlds 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, and 2-2 from Super Mario Bros. These flagpoles do not mark the end of the level, as the true goal comes after the flagpole; the player can still gain points (or an extra life from touching the very top); from lowest to highest, the points are as follows: 100 - 200 - 400 - 800 - 1000 - 2000 - 4000 - 8000 - 1-Up. Fireworks also appear in the same fashion as in Super Mario Bros. The area between the flagpole and the true Goal is usually empty, however. The sprite for these flagpoles is reused from Super Mario All-Stars.
New Super Mario Bros.
Starting with New Super Mario Bros., the pole now has a black flag with a clearer skull symbol; it also now sits on a fortress-styled base, rather than a Hard Block. It works as it did in Super Mario Advance 4, though it once again marks the levels' end. Also, if the last two digits of the time limit are the same (except 00) when the level is cleared, the "Course Clear" theme from Super Mario Bros. plays instead of the normal one, fireworks go off (1 for ending in 11, 2 for ending in 22, and so on, awarding 4,000 points per explosion, for a maximum of 36,000), and a one-time use bonus Toad House appears at the map's starting point. Time limits ending in 11, 22, or 33 yield a Power-Up Toad House; 44, 55, and 66 yield a 1-Up Toad House; and 77, 88, and 99 yield a Mega Mushroom Toad House. Additionally, Mega Mario can even destroy the pole, awarding 8000 points for doing so, and filling up one-fifth of the meter above them, ensuring at least one extra life is gained. They shrink into Super form and head into the fortress afterwards. However, the time limit does not go into the player's score when this happens.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Poles reappear in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Starting with this game, the finial is yellow (or red for hidden goals), and Bowser's emblem replaces the skull on the flag. Like in New Super Mario Bros., the one-time bonus Toad Houses can appear at the starting points of worlds via the same method as before. In multi-player mode, Star Toad Houses appear when the time limit's last two digits show 77, 88, or 99 (since the Mega Mushroom is absent), and the times for the Power-Up Toad House and 1-Up Mushroom Toad House are flipped. In single-player mode, if Mario or Luigi saves a helpless Toad in a level and takes him to the end, the last digit is counted towards the bonus (e.g. 1, 2, and 3 make a 1-Up Toad House appear instead of 11, 22, and 33). Unlike in previous games, the character slides down the right side of the pole instead of the left.
Super Mario 3D Land
The poles, now called Goal Poles, appear in Super Mario 3D Land; this is their first appearance in a 3D Super Mario game. Unlike in 2D Super Mario games, Goal Poles appear in every level, even in castles and airships. After defeating the boss of an airship or castle, Mario has to keep walking to the Goal Pole instead of ending the level immediately after defeating the boss, as in previous games. Big Goal Poles appear in castles, airships, and Special 8-, which use a larger, rectangular flag with a red Bowser emblem and yellow borders on the top and bottom, rather than the usual triangular flag. When Mario grabs any part of a Goal Pole, he earns coins rather than points (as the game lacks a scoring system), and a red flag with Mario's emblem (or a green flag with Luigi's emblem if playing as Luigi) replaces the one with Bowser's emblem. However, if Mario grabs the top of a Goal Pole, he performs a trick, earns an extra life, and the flag turns golden instead. These golden flags are required for 100% completion for the entire game.
If Mario grabs the pole when the last digit on the timer is a 1, 3, or 6, streamers, fireworks, or balloons appear, respectively, as "COURSE CLEAR!" is displayed, similar to Super Mario Bros. Also, in World 2-3 and Special 1-3, the level clear theme from Super Mario Bros. is played instead of the normal one.
In this game, New Super Mario Bros. 2, and Super Mario 3D World, the Bowser flag vanishes instead of being pulled down, and a flag with the character's emblem appears at the base, which rises up to where they landed on the pole.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
In New Super Mario Bros. 2, getting double digits the same as the world number (e.g. the timer has to be x11 when in World 1) at the end of the timer means that a Rainbow Course will appear on the map. The Goal Pole can still be destroyed by Mega Mario, but only in World 5-6 and the player only gains three extra lives for doing so. If Mario is in his Gold form, he gains coins upon grabbing the Goal Pole instead of points, like in Super Mario 3D Land; in turn, this adds even more points to the score. Additionally, hitting the top of the Goal Pole in Coin Rush mode doubles the round's accumulated coin total. If the game is played in Co-op, either Mario or Luigi's flag will appear depending on whoever is higher on the Goal Pole.
New Super Mario Bros. U / New Super Luigi U
In New Super Mario Bros. U, completing a level with the last two digits being matching non-zero numbers will give a reserve power-up; a Super Mushroom is given for a time ending in 11, 22, or 33; a Fire Flower is given for 44; an Ice Flower is granted for 55; the Mini Mushroom is given for 66; the Super Acorn is received for 77; and a Super Star is awarded for 88 or 99. In New Super Luigi U, when the player grabs the Goal Pole as Nabbit, they will receive 1-Up Mushrooms based on the amount of power-ups they collected. In certain Challenge Mode missions, the goal ring appears as the endpoint instead. In this game and its variations, the Bowser flag is pulled down to the base before disappearing while the flag with the character's emblem is raised to where they landed.
Super Mario 3D World / Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury
Goal Poles return in Super Mario 3D World and the port, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury. They function the same as in Super Mario 3D Land. However, they once again give points in this game, and hitting the top of a Goal Pole gives the player 10,000 points instead of an extra life. Again, hitting the pole will make a flag with a character's color and emblem appear (red for Mario with the letter M, green for Luigi with the letter L, pink for Peach with her crown, blue for Toad with his face, turquoise for Rosalina with a Grand Star, or gold for hitting the top), depending on who reaches the highest on the pole first. If the timer ends in 1, 3, or 6, the corresponding amount of fireworks appear in addition to the "COURSE CLEAR!" message (except for The Great Tower of Bowser Land), acting like they did in Super Mario Bros., though the firework points have changed from 500 to 1000.
Fake Goal Poles can be found in Ghost Houses; touching these reveals that they are actually swarms of Boos, which promptly disappear. Flying Goal Poles appear in The Great Goal Pole and Back to Hands-On Hall.
Super Mario Maker / Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS
In Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS, Goal Poles appear at the end of levels in the Super Mario Bros. and New Super Mario Bros. U styles, working as they do in the latter game. In the Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World styles, they are replaced with square goals and Giant Gates respectively, while in any given castle theme, they are replaced with an Axe. When designing a stage, the player is able to adjust the location of the Goal Pole with a slider at the bottom of the screen, making the level longer or shorter. Magikoopas are capable of temporarily removing the Goal Pole, forcing the player to defeat them to make it appear again.
Super Mario Run
In Super Mario Run, Goal Poles appear in the first three levels of each world in World Tour. They also appear in most courses in Remix 10 mode (except for underground courses, tower levels, inside ghost houses and boss levels). They do not appear in Toad Rally. Upon touching the Goal Pole, the player earns up to ten coins (depending on their landing height), and Bowser's flag is lowered and replaced with a colored flag (red for Mario, green for Luigi, blue for Toad, pink for Peach and Toadette, and orange for the Yoshis and Daisy) with their respective emblem on it. Grabbing the Goal Pole also turns all enemies currently on-screen into coins; if the player defeats an enemy and touches the Goal Pole as the enemy is still seen falling off-screen, the enemy is still converted into coins. Character-themed Goal Poles are also usable as decorations in Kingdom Builder mode.
Super Mario Maker 2
The Goal Pole reappears in Super Mario Maker 2, serving the same function as in its predecessor. In the Super Mario 3D World style, Cat Mario can once again climb up the Goal Pole, though this time, an extra life is granted if he reaches the top. In castle levels in the Super Mario 3D World style, the regular Goal Pole is replaced by the Goal Pole seen at the end of castle levels in the original game and Super Mario 3D Land, except with a yellow pole instead of a white one, and with a brown tower instead of a gray one. In levels with clear conditions, the Goal Pole appears as a dashed outline and is only fully revealed after the condition has been met; it will disappear if the clear condition is lost (e.g. a player required to clear a stage with a specific powerup loses that form).
If the player successfully reaches and activates the Goal Pole, but is blocked from moving forward, the player character will eventually stop running, turn around and crouch before the level ends.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Goal Poles reappear in Super Mario Bros. Wonder in two designs: the standard modern design from previous games, and one with a blue flag with a emblem of a four-petaled flower designed in four layers: dark blue from the outside, then light blue, then white, and then pink in the middle; all within a white circle. In the level, Bulrush Coming Through!, the regular Goal Pole can be knocked down by a herd of Bulrushes during the level's Wonder Effect. In the same level, the hidden goal pole is noticeably taller than usual, being thrice as tall.
Once after a Goal Pole had been reached for the first time in a course, there is a fortress that has a Poplin imprisoned in it, that will transforms back to the Poplin's house from which the Poplin comes out and will reward the player a Wonder Seed. Some Goal Poles do not have a fortress after it, resulting in no Wonder Seed given and a message that says "Course...clear?" instead of the usual "Course clear!" when meeting a Poplin at the end of a course.
If the character grabs the top of the Goal Pole, they receive a "Wonderful" rating with a golden flag icon marked next to the level on the level selection screen as in Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario 3D World, although the flag itself does not turn golden. These golden flags are required for 100% completion for the entire game.
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!
Super Smash Bros. series
Goal Poles appear in the background of the Mushroom Kingdom stage in Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and the Super Smash Bros. Melee stage of the same name. One is also seen in Mushroomy Kingdom in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, in the same place that it was in World 1-1 of Super Mario Bros. However, it is in the background, so fighters cannot slide down it; additionally, the Hard Block that it stood on is missing from the stage (but only in Brawl and for 3DS; it is in the background in Ultimate), and the pole is completely removed in the Final Destination version in for 3DS. The flag is now worn out, and the Goal Pole in general is a withered realistic brown, to fit with the stage's ruined look.
Mario & Luigi series
In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and its remake, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions, there is a flagpole in front of Little Fungitown that can be slid down on in the Beanbean Kingdom. A flagpole is also seen in the Super Mario Bros. picture behind the Border Bros.
As of Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, when Mario, Luigi, Bowser (in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story), or Paper Mario (in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam) gain Experience Points, Goal Poles appear as the EXP meter; when the flag gets to the top of the pole, they level up. However, in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, Mario and Luigi do not have their flags. Instead, they have flags with mushroom emblems. These flags were changed back to their usual appearances as of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, and have reappeared in following Mario & Luigi games.
Paper Mario series
Goal Poles also appear in the Bowser intermissions in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door; Bowser can knock the flagpole completely off screen if he is large enough after eating enough meat, like Mega Mario.
In Paper Mario: Color Splash, Super Mario Bros.-styled Goal Poles are used to exit the Super Mario Bros. 3-themed area in the Green Energy Plant. A modern-styled version (though with the flag's original color scheme) also appears in Black Bowser's Castle, which is used to get off a conveyor belt Mario is riding on.
In Paper Mario: The Origami King, a Goal Pole can be found sticking out of the hole of the putting green on Picnic Road. If Mario hammers the left side of the green, a series of Hard Blocks in the form of a staircase leading to the top of the Goal Pole appear, similar to the endings of most levels in the 2D Super Mario games. If Mario climbs up the stairs and grabs the top of the Goal Pole, after he slides down the pole with the flag, an arrangement of the "Course Clear" fanfare from Super Mario Bros. plays, while the top of the pole flies into the air and explodes into fireworks while releasing coins and seven Toads. Hitting the flag itself reveals another Toad. The flag appears as the ninth origami Toad in the Musée Champignon. Both the Hard Blocks' and Goal Pole's designs are based on those from Super Mario Bros.
Flagpoles from Super Mario Bros. appear at the end of each level of the Super Mario Bros. microgame in WarioWare: Twisted!, with levels 2 and 3 taking place in underground and castle levels, respectively, where flagpoles are not found in the original game.
Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix
Mario Party 8
Mario Kart series
In the course Piranha Plant Slide in Mario Kart 7, several black and red Goal Poles can be seen on each side of the road just before the finish line. These poles are removed in the course's reappearance in Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, though they are re-added in Mario Kart Tour.
Mario Tennis Open
Goal Poles are also used in Mario Tennis Open, where they appear in the Super Mario Tennis mode. The Goal Pole can be hit by a tennis ball, and will end the mode in success, also offering a varying amount of coins dependent on how high the Goal Pole was struck, similar to Super Mario 3D Land.
Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge
In Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge, a Goal Pole can be seen in Mini Mario's Boost Pad Bonanza section.
Dr. Mario World
In Dr. Mario World, Goal Poles appear in the stage map, representing the end of each world. They resemble their appearance from the Super Mario games, though the pole is shorter. The Goal Pole features a purple flag with an emblem of a virus. Upon clearing the world's final stage, it is replaced with a flag with a character's color and emblem, depending on the doctor used to clear the stage.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie
In The Super Mario Bros. Movie, a Goal Pole is featured as part of the Training Course. It resembles its modern appearance but with a red flag with a Mushroom emblem on it. Baby Luigi also carries a small flag that resembles those of the flagpoles in Super Mario Bros.
In Animal Crossing, Animal Crossing: Wild World, Animal Crossing: City Folk, and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, the Flagpole as it appears in Super Mario Bros. appears as a furniture item. In Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it uses its modern name and appearance, while in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, it is named "8-bit Goal Pole." The Goal Pole in New Horizons was added as part of the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary.
In the Wii U and Nintendo Switch versions of Lego City Undercover, one of the flags on the castle is the Goal Pole. In all other releases of the game, the flagpole is changed to a generic one.
In the Japanese version of EarthBound, one of the default names for Ness' favorite thing is Goal. This coincides with several other default names in the game that make Ness' party members named after Super Mario characters.
Super Mario 3D Land
- Instruction manual description: "Grab on to the Goal Pole to clear the course. The remaining time will be converted into coins, and you will return to the course-selections screen."
- "Note: Grab the very top of the Goal Pole to earn an extra life and have a Golden Flag displayed on the course-selection screen."
- European website bio: "Goal Poles mark the end of every course. The aim of the game is to guide Mario through various obstacles so that he can get to that pole!"
New Super Mario Bros. 2
- Instruction manual description: "Grab the Goal Pole to complete the course. The higher Mario grabs on the pole, the more points you'll earn."
New Super Mario Bros. U
- Instruction manual description: "Grab on this to clear the course."
Super Mario 3D World
- Instruction manual description: "Grab on the Goal Pole to clear a course and return to the world screen. You earn points according to the number of seconds left on the timer and the height at which you land on the Goal Pole."
Super Mario Run
- Mario Goal Pole: "A pole with a red flag on it. This will rise up when Mario reaches the goal."
- Luigi Goal Pole: "A pole with a green flag on it. This will rise up when Luigi reaches the goal."
- Peach Goal Pole: "A pole with a pink flag on it. This will rise up when Peach reaches the goal."
- Yoshi Goal Pole: "A pole with a orange flag on it. This will rise up when Yoshi reaches the goal."
- Toad Goal Pole: "A pole with a blue flag on it. This will rise up when Toad reaches the goal."
- Toadette Goal Pole: "A pole with a pink flag on it. This will rise up when Toadette reaches the goal."
Background image for Super Mario Maker 2
Sprites and models
A Goal Pole-like flag with Bowser Jr.'s emblem on it at Super Nintendo World
Names in other languages
Asta della Bandiera
- Big Goal Pole
Deka Gōru Pōru
|Big Goal Pole|
- The sound effect that plays when Mario/Luigi slides down the Goal Pole in the New Super Mario Bros. series is the same as the one that plays in Super Mario Bros., but reversed.
- Super Mario Bros. English instruction booklet, pages 6 and 18.
- Nintendo Power Volume 52, page 18.
- Tatsumi Yamashita, The Official Nintendo Player's Guide, Tokuma Shoten, 1987, ISBN 999832369X. Page 33.
- New Super Mario Bros. instruction booklet, page 15.
- New Super Mario Bros. Wii instruction booklet, page 10.
- von Esmarch, Nick. Super Mario 3D Land PRIMA Official Game Guide, page 219.
- Nintendo of America (June 21, 2023). Super Mario Bros. Wonder - Nintendo Direct 6.21.2023. YouTube. Retrieved June 24, 2023.
- Super Mario Bros. Japanese instruction booklet, page 6.
- Nintendo Nederland. (May 15, 2019). Super Mario Maker 2 Direct - 16 mei 2019. Youtube. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
- Shogakukan. 2015. Super Mario Bros. Hyakka: Nintendo Kōshiki Guidebook, Super Mario 3D Land section, page 185.