N-Mark Spade Panel

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N-Mark Spade Panel
N-Mark Spade PanelN-Mark Spade PanelN-Mark Spade Panel
First appearance Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988)
Latest appearance Super Mario All-Stars Limited Edition (2010)
“Flip over any two cards and see if they match. You can only miss twice!”
Toad, Super Mario Bros. 3

N-Mark Spade Panels,[1] also known as Matching Game Panels,[2] Card Matching Games,[3] Matching Game spaces,[4] or N-Spades,[5] are Spade Panels in Super Mario Bros. 3 that appear on the world map for every 80,000 points gained. Whenever Mario or Luigi moves onto an N-Mark Spade Panel, he is automatically taken in, unlike with other panels.

These panels do not appear in Dark Land; however, in the post-game of Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, the player's score is still tracked in World 8 for the purposes of this panel, and if Mario or Luigi returns to one of the other seven worlds, it is possible to make multiple N-Mark Spade Panels appear in the same world each time he leaves a level.

When drawn into an N-Mark Spade Panel, the player must play a card game hosted by a Toad titled the Matching Game.[6] The goal is to flip over two cards, each depicting an item, every turn to try to match a pair. For each card pair successfully matched, the player wins that prize for their inventory, for a total of nine prizes per game. If the player mismatches twice, the minigame ends. Once all of the card pairs have been matched, the cards reset the next time around. Even if the player is unsuccessful at matching every card pair, the ones that they did match remain flipped over the next time they play the minigame.

In early copies of Super Mario Bros. 3, the Toad would say, "Flip over any two cards and see if they match. Miss twice and your[sic] out!" with "you're" misspelled as "your." The text was revised in later copies of the game, with the second sentence instead reading, "You can only miss twice!"[7]

In the Super Mario All-Stars version, while the Starman cards use their new design, the Super Mushroom and Fire Flower cards retain their original designs, albeit with the former's colors inverted. The text has been reverted to the incorrect version.

In Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, the text box has been enlarged enough for the Toad to use the correct grammar in the original message and a comma to be added after "twice."



The game was intended to perform a shuffling function that would output a completely random set of cards each time the game was initialized. However, minor coding errors in both shuffling routines resulted in most of the intended shuffling mechanics not to take place, unintentionally resulting in only eight possible arrangements of cards.[8] Despite this setup being unintentional, all future versions of the game continue to use the same mechanics. The fourth, fifth, and sixth cards from the left on the bottom row will always be a Super Mushroom, a Fire Flower, and a Starman, respectively.

Match Game.png

See also[edit]

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese Nマークスペードパネル[9]
N Māku Supēdo Paneru
N-Mark Spade Panel
Italian Segno di picche con "N"[10]
Pannello picche N[11]
Spade symbol with "N"
N spade panel


  1. ^ Super Mario Bros. 3 English instruction booklet, page 22.
  2. ^ Nintendo Power Volume 13, page 10.
  3. ^ Super Mario All-Stars Player's Guide, page 110.
  4. ^ The Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 Player's Guide, page 11.
  5. ^ Hodgson, David S J. Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Page 23.
  6. ^ NES Game Atlas Nintendo Player's Guide, page 41.
  7. ^ Super Mario Bros. 3. The Mushroom Kingdom. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
  8. ^ Retro Game Mechanics Explained (October 7, 2023). SMB3 Roulette & Card Matching Games Explained. YouTube. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  9. ^ Super Mario Bros. 3 Japanese instruction booklet, page 19.
  10. ^ Super Mario Bros. 3 Italian manual, pag. 22
  11. ^ Super Mario All-Stars 25th Anniversary Edition Italian manual, pag. 17
  12. ^ Super Mario Bros. Enciclopedia; pag. 43