List of Super Mario Bros. 3 pre-release and unused content
From the Super Mario Wiki
This is a list of pre-release and unused content for the game Super Mario Bros. 3. For pre-release and unused content pertaining to the remake, Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, see List of Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 pre-release and unused content.
At the beginning of production, the development team of Super Mario Bros. 3 wanted the game to use an overhead, isometric view. The developers found that it was difficult to balance the platforming gameplay around this perspective, leading them to abandon the idea. Several graphical elements of the final Super Mario Bros. 3 were influenced by the original direction, such as the black and white checkered floor on the title screen.
As seen in early screenshots, Koopa Troopas and Hammer Brothers were going to host two mini-games. The minigames were a Question Block and a dice game respectively, which also would have marked the first Mario game to have the Koopas standing on two feet instead of all fours. These minigames and their hosts seem to have been replaced by Toad. An early build of the game was previewed in a promotional VHS tape coming with the September 1988 edition of the magazine Famimaga. The preview shows several levels unused in the final game, a different sprite for the Wooden Block and a slightly different status bar.
The back of the box of some early copies of Super Mario Bros. 3 depicts Mario traversing a hilly grassland stage with many Para-Beetles and two Note Blocks. This particular stage is not any of the lost ones present on the cartridge, nor is it in the final game. These boxes also feature an early map of Grass Land.
These are the differences between the early and final map of Grass Land:
Fifteen unused levels exist within Super Mario Bros. 3. Some of these are unique, while others bear much resemblance to levels seen in the final version. They can be accessed via Game Genie codes/cheats.
The Spade card minigame originally featured an invisible wild card which would match one of the cards already drawn by the player. If matched with itself, the wild card acts as a 20-coins card. On boards with an uneven number of wild card, the mechanic would make the minigame unwinnable as the wild card leave one card unmatchable. The code for the wild card was retained in Super Mario All-Stars.