Minus World

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Minus World
SMB Minus World.png
Game Super Mario Bros.
Level(s) Alternates
<< List of worlds >>

The Minus World, or World -1, is an impassable glitch level in Super Mario Bros. that can be accessed from a Warp Zone. It is an underwater level, exactly like World 7-2 in geography and enemy locations. However, the destination of the Warp Pipe at the end is not updated, so it returns the player to the start of the level. As a result, once the player is there, it is impossible to leave without getting a Game Over or resetting.

The glitch was given its name by fans because its number displays as  -1. The actual number is World 36-1 in decimal (World 24-1 in hexadecimal), but the game displays a blank graphic for the number 36, so all the player can see is the -1.[1]

The glitch was first described in the 3rd issue of Nintendo Power,[2] and was later featured in its 100th issue.[3] It has been referenced in several later games.

Methods of access[edit]

It has been requested that this section be rewritten. Reason: Unclear instructions (tagged on June 5, 2024)

Warp Zone[edit]

In World 1-2 of Super Mario Bros., Fire Mario runs, lands on the front of the exit pipe, and quickly crouches and jumps to reach a peak where the exit pipe crosses the ceiling. At that moment, Mario stops crouching and is ejected through the wall to reach the warp zone and ducks into the pipe to World 36.
Mario passes through the wall and enters World -1.

The player can access the Minus World from World 1-2, using glitches to reach the Warp Zone without scrolling it completely onto the screen, namely by clipping Mario (or Luigi) through the wall before it. There are several common setups to do so.

In one setup, Mario begins on the horizontal part of the Warp Pipe that leads to the normal exit. From the far left end of the pipe, he must crouch while facing left, and jump right, so that when he is about to come back down, he is just under the ceiling. It may take the player several tries, as Mario must land in an exact spot on the vertical pipe in order to travel through it.[4] If this is done correctly, he will automatically move through the pipe (without the screen moving) and then through the wall and into the Warp Zone room. If not even one pixel of the pipe is showing, Mario will be trapped until the Time Limit runs out.[5][dead link]

A potentially more difficult and time-intensive setup involves breaking the second and third Brick Blocks from the right on the ceiling, leaving one overhanging next to the top of the pipe. Mario must then move to the far left end of the pipe and jump to the right. He does not have to crouch, as he can try to hit the bottom-left portion of the block without breaking it. If done correctly, Mario clips through the block, then the pipe and wall.[6]

Once in the Warp Zone room, entering the left or right pipes leads to the Minus World. The middle pipe leads to World 5-1. (This advances the player further than normal, although it skips past the Warp Zone from World 4-2 to World 8.) However, if the screen is scrolled all the way over so that the "Welcome to Warp Zone!" message appears, the Warp Zone is correctly loaded and the pipes lead to their intended destinations.

It is not possible to enter the Minus World from either of the Warp Zones in World 4-2. Through hacking, the pipes in the zone above the beanstalk are shown to lead back to the beginning of that section while the pipe leading to World 5-1 functions normally.[7]

Cartridge swapping[edit]

Another method of accessing glitch worlds, including the Minus World, involves swapping cartridges with Tennis while the power is on, which can potentially damage the console's hardware.[8] This glitch is due to the coincidental usage of the same RAM area between the two games that prevents a fail-safe from clearing the value which would normally store the most recently played world, which is used when holding the A button down on the start screen to continue a world after a Game Over. This value is overwritten by a footstep sound effect counter in Tennis.[9]


It has been requested that this section be rewritten and expanded to include more information. Reason: More precise technical information; why the wrong Warp Zone data is used unless it is fully scrolled in; why World 36 specifically (tagged on June 5, 2024)

The reason the middle pipe leads to World 5-1 is that the game is loading data from the World 4-2 over-the-top Warp Zone (not the one above the vine) that has only one pipe to World 5-1, and it does not realize that the player is in the World 1-2 Warp Zone until the room is completely loaded, i.e., the brick wall becomes visible. The other two pipes in that Warp Zone are blank and registered as "36" (the number used for blank tiles in the game), causing the game to lead to World 36 when the player enters the world, hence the Minus World.

As shown in some editor utilities, the first Warp Zone that can take the player to the Minus World initially loads the data for the second Warp Zone, which normally has only one Warp Pipe in the center, until the "Welcome to Warp Zone!" message appears. The two empty slots on the left and right sides would read "36" if a graphic were to exist for that number. If two additional pipes are added in the appropriate places in this Warp Zone, they send Mario to the Minus World without executing the glitch. This explains why the second pipe, if the player performs the glitch, takes the player to World 5 instead of World 3 or the Minus World.

Other versions[edit]

Family Computer Disk System port[edit]

Minus World, the glitch from Super Mario Bros. (Disk System version).
The Family Computer Disk System version of the Minus World

In the Family Computer Disk System port of Super Mario Bros., the Minus World is accessed the same way, but it is very different in design[10] due to the game loading different data as level data.

World -1 is just like World 5-3 but with underwater gameplay (despite lacking actual visual water) and some unusual elements, such as multiple floating Princess Toadstools without hitboxes, a floating headless Bowser, a misplaced Hammer Bro, as well as all objects using the "underwater" palettes (that is, green is replaced by gray), causing odd visuals. If the player defeats the headless Bowser, the game will crash near the flagpole, though there is a small chance for the game not to crash and the player will instead receive a few fireworks.

The level has a Goal Pole (without the flag), allowing the level to be completed normally. It can easily stop the game from progressing if touched too high, however. The level eventually leads to World -2, a copy of World 7-3. However, the checkpoint is placed beneath the bridge, leading to an unwinnable state if Mario dies during the level. This level can also be completed normally and leads to World -3, a copy of World 4-4 that lacks its fake Bowser and maze elements, is set underground, and filled with flying Bloobers that can be stomped for 1,000 points. This weakness is otherwise unused due to Mario having different physics underwater, though it does appear in Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. In addition, upon the player completing the level, Toad's message of "Thank you, Mario! But our princess is in another castle!" plays as normal, despite Toad's sprite being missing.

Beating World -3 takes the player to the title screen, as the game treats completing a castle level in World 8 or later as beating the game. If the player starts the game again after going through the Minus World, Hard Mode will be activated as normal.

VS. Super Mario Bros.[edit]

In VS. Super Mario Bros., which is harder than the original home console version, some bricks located above the end pipe are removed to prevent the trick from being performed.

However, it is not impossible to access. It can be accessed by clipping through the bricks under the pipe[11] or the pipe itself.[12] This version of the Minus World resembles the underwater portion of World 6-2. This room is actually the first level to exist in the Super Mario Bros. code in all versions.

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels[edit]

Attempting to do this with the Warp Zone pipe to World 4 in World 1-2 of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels will lead to two possible outcomes. First, it can send Mario or Luigi to the bonus area in another part of the level.[13] Second, it could send him back to the underground bonus area of World 1-1. The game will still recognize the level as World 1-2 and the time will not reset. Completing it will send the player to World 1-3.[14][15]

All Night Nippon: Super Mario Bros.[edit]

By using the same trick in All Night Nippon: Super Mario Bros., if Mario enters the leftmost pipe, he will instead be transported through the end-of-level pipe and be able to progress to World 1-3. If he enters the other pipes, he will be sent back to World 1-1, but it will be labeled 1-2 with the time not having been reset and all pipes hosting Piranha Plants. If he completes this level, he progresses to World 1-3, but dying sends him back to the real World 1-2.[16][17]

Super Luigi Bros.[edit]

The Minus World can be entered in Super Luigi Bros. found in NES Remix 2; however, due to Luigi's higher jumps, it is trickier to do so than in the original game. Like the rest of this mode, it is mirrored so Luigi has to swim from right to left.[18]

Speed Mario Bros.[edit]

Speed Mario Bros., a version of the original game that plays twice as fast, is a mode found in Ultimate NES Remix. The Minus World here behaves like the rest of the mode.[19]

Other glitch worlds[edit]

A glitch level 9-1 from Super Mario Bros
"World 9-1", one of the 256 worlds
Screensot of glitch world --1 in smb.
"World --1" (actually World 40-1), another of the 256 worlds

Super Mario Bros. actually has 256 worlds in total; however, World 0 (which starts with an underwater version of World 4-4), World 9, and onward are glitched and reuse pointers from other levels in the level data. The Minus World (36) is the only one that can be accessed legitimately in the Western versions. These levels caused a rumor in Japan where a lightning strike on a Family Computer is said to create a Super Mario level never seen before, thought to be part of a secret World 9 (9-1 is an underwater version of World 6-2 that requires waiting a little to complete). However, the other glitch levels can be accessed in the Japanese version due to differences in the Family Computer hardware.[20] Most versions also feature differences in those glitched worlds, be it different enemy placement, differently placed levels, as well as completely new ones not available on other ports. World 9 in The Lost Levels was inspired by this glitch.


The Minus World glitch has been removed from remakes of Super Mario Bros. In Super Mario All-Stars, if the trick is performed, the Warp Pipes will still take Mario to their respective worlds as if the pipes were reached by walking along the ceiling. In Super Mario Bros. Deluxe and Super Mario Bros. 35, the ability to perform the trick is removed entirely. However, the glitch remains in the Nintendo PlayChoice-10, the Classic NES Series and Virtual Console ports, the NES Classic Edition and Nintendo Classic Mini: Family Computer, Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online, and Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros., as they are direct emulations of the original game.


If one uses a hacking tool that can set the level that Mario is on, the Minus World goes all the way to -9. After -9, it changes to -A, later to -B, -C, and so on. After the letters, it changes to random bits of the terrain of all the levels. There are 215 of these bits. These levels are the result of level layouts being loaded with the wrong tilesets, enemy layouts, and properties.

Specifically, World -2 is a version of World 3-4 with water graphics; World -3 is a version of World 3-4 with overworld graphics, and being loaded with random enemy layouts, sprites, and properties. World -4 and World -5 are both black screens. World -6 is a glitched-out level that appears in a World 6-3 theme. Some gray bricks may be found on the edge of it, and a white Goomba will fall into the pit. The entire level is a pit, so Mario loses a life instantly. World -7 is a copy of World 3-3. After the player passes it, the game takes them to World -8, which starts off using the intro for World 1-2, World 2-2, World 4-2, and World 7-2, although the game blacks out after Mario reaches the pipe. World -A is a castle level that Mario cannot move in, and -9, -B, and -C are a black screen. All the levels after -4 can be played only by using cheats or hacking.

References in other games[edit]


Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese マイナス面
Minus World

German Minus-Welt
Minus World
Italian Minus World
Spanish Mundo -1
Mundo Negativo (Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle)
World -1
Negative World / Minus World