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"Ball 'N' Chain" redirects here. It is not to be confused with ball on chains or Ball & Chain.
"Ball and Chain" redirects here. For the object from Yoshi Topsy-Turvy, see Ball and Chain (Yoshi Topsy-Turvy). For the object from the Yoshi franchise often operated by Boo Guys, see Ball and chain (windup).
A Spinner from New Super Mario Bros. Wii
A Ball 'N' Chain in New Super Mario Bros. Wii
First appearance Super Mario World (1990)
Latest appearance New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe (2019)
Variant of Spike Ball

A Spinner,[1][2] originally known as a Ball 'N' Chain[3][4] (also spelled Ball 'N Chain,[5] Ball 'n' Chain,[6] or Ball and Chain[7]), is a spiked ball on a chain first appearing in Super Mario World. Spinners are usually found in castles and similar environments and are often indestructible. Their behavior varies depending on the game, switching between spinning around in a circular motion and swinging repetitively in a pendulum motion. The chain also changes, with most games allowing Mario to safely pass through it unharmed.


Super Mario series[edit]

Super Mario World[edit]

A Ball 'N' Chain from Super Mario World
Defeated Ball 'N' Chain

Ball 'N' Chains first appear in Super Mario World, in castles and fortresses. They continuously rotate from a Gray Block. Using a Spin Jump will allow Mario/Luigi to harmlessly bounce off the spiked ball. The only way this obstacle can be defeated is by using a Super Star, but its sprite will change into a defeated Bony Beetle, as it was never intended to be destroyed.

New Super Mario Bros.[edit]

Rotation-style Ball 'N' Chains reappear in New Super Mario Bros. They only appear in World 7-Castle. The blocks are still there, and one even has a Star Coin. Aesthetically, they spin wildly on the end of the chain as well as rotating on the block; however, this does not affect their attack.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii[edit]

Rotation-style Ball 'N' Chains reappear in New Super Mario Bros. Wii once, in World 3-Tower and in a secret area of World 4-Castle.

Super Mario 3D Land[edit]

Ball 'N' Chain
A Ball 'N' Chain in Super Mario 3D Land

In Super Mario 3D Land, Ball 'N' Chains appear in purple with yellow spikes and chain. Like some earlier appearances, they are not linked to shackles. Instead of performing complete rotations, they only make pendulum movements. They can be destroyed by making contact with them as Invincible Mario, White Tanooki Mario, or Statue Mario. The first level they appear in is World 1-2.

New Super Mario Bros. U / New Super Luigi U / New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe[edit]

Screenshot of Impossible Pendulums in New Super Luigi U.
A Spinner in New Super Luigi U

In New Super Mario Bros. U, New Super Luigi U and New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, they appear under the current name Spinner, which is a retranslation of the original Japanese name. Regular and giant versions appear, once again swinging in a pendulum-like manner. These Spinners cannot be avoided by passing through the chains, as they have been spiked like the iteration from the Yoshi's Island series. Mario can pass through Spinners while under the effects of a Super Star, though he cannot destroy them.

Super Mario World television series[edit]

Ball 'n' Chain
A Ball 'N' Chain in the Super Mario World television series episode "Send in the Clown".

A Ball 'N' Chain makes a brief appearance in the Super Mario World animated series episode "Send in the Clown". Mario, while traveling through Neon Castle, narrowly avoids being hit by a Ball 'N' Chain that drops from the ceiling as he traverses over some lava.

Yoshi's Island series[edit]

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island[edit]

Rotation-style Ball 'N' Chains appear in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. They are colored orange instead of black, and usually found in forts. Their chains are replaced by spiked bars, some of which are double-sided. They, along with similar objects such as windup ball and chains, are operated by certain Boo Guys. Though it is never seen, Ball 'N' Chains are able to be destroyed by Superstar Mario.

Yoshi's Island DS[edit]

Ball 'N' Chains, known as Spinning Spikes,[8] reappear in Yoshi's Island DS. They act they do in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, except they are operated by background Shy Guys.

Yoshi's New Island[edit]

Spinner in Yoshi's New Island
A Spinner in Yoshi's New Island

Spinners reappear in Yoshi's New Island. Their behavior remains unchanged, except they operate automatically instead of manually.

Yoshi's Story[edit]

Ball 'N' Chains appear in Yoshi's Story, where they swing in a manner similar to pendulums for the first time. Unlike Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, their chains are harmless. They are found alongside windup iron balls, which share the same graphics. Both appear in the stages The Tall Tower and Magma Castle.

Super Princess Peach[edit]

Ball 'N' Chains in Bowser's Villa
Ball 'N' Chains in Super Princess Peach

In Super Princess Peach, pendulum-style Ball 'N' Chains appear in Bowser's Villa, where they swing back and forth between the background and foreground. The chains resemble their appearance in Super Mario World, but the spiked balls are green, having a resemblance to Bowser's Shell.

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time[edit]

Motionless Ball 'N' Chains make a minor reappearance in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, where they are seen hanging from the ceiling as decorations in Bowser's Castle.

Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe[edit]

Spinner from Mario Kart 8
A Spinner in Mario Kart 8's Bowser's Castle

In Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, a single Spinner appears as an obstacle in Bowser's Castle. The obstacle acts virtually the same as the pendulums in Tick-Tock Clock, except that the player will spin out upon hitting it. The Spinner will move faster during the final lap of the race. Unlike in previous games, the spikes on the ball appear to be blunt, similarly to Thwomps.

Mario Party 10[edit]

Pendulum-style Spinners appear in Mario Party 10 in the minigame Spiked Ball Scramble, where they hang from the ceiling and swing across the path. They can be encountered in a standard and a larger size, and take out players in one hit.

Yoshi's Woolly World / Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World[edit]

Spinners also appear in Yoshi's Woolly World and Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World. This time, they look closer to their New Super Mario Bros. U redesign, but retain their fully-rotating behavior from the Yoshi's Island series.


Perfect Ban Mario Character Daijiten[edit]

グルグル (JP) / Ball ‘N’ Chain (EN)
A Ball 'N' Chain from Super Mario World.
Original text (Japanese) Translation
出身しゅっしん メカぞく Place of origin Mecha clan
性格せいかく まじめ Disposition Serious
登場とうじょうゲーム ワールド Game appearances World
登場とうじょうゲーム ワールド


An obstacle that can only be avoided

As its name suggests, it is an iron ball that goes around and around. The only way to get past them is to avoid them. The chain part is safe to touch, so take your time at the base of the chain to get through.


Additional names[edit]

Internal names[edit]

Game File Name Meaning

Super Mario 3D Land romfs/ObjectData/SwingSpike.szs SwingSpike Swing Spike

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese グルグル[10]
Guru Guru
Guru Guru Bā
Kaiten Tekkyū
Furiko no Tekkyū
Furiko Tekkyū
Japanese onomatopoeia for spinning; shared with Flipper

Spinning Bar (Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island and Yoshi's New Island); alternate spelling shared with Guruguru bar

Spin Iron Ball (Yoshi's Island DS)

Pendulum's Iron Ball (Super Mario 3D Land)

Pendulum Iron Ball (New Super Luigi U and Mario Party 10)

Chinese 转链球[18]
Zhuàn Liànqiú
Spinning Chained Ball

Dutch Stekelbal
Prickle Ball
French (NOA) Pendule
French (NOE) Fléau[17]
German Kettenkugel
Chain Ball
Italian Mazzapendolo
Portmanteau of mazza ("bat") and pendolo ("pendulum")
Korean 시계추 철구
Sigyechu Cheolgu
Pendulum Iron Ball

Portuguese (NOE) Maça Rotativa[19]
Rotating Mace
Spanish Gigamaza


  1. ^ TheMarioBros.net (November 16, 2013). New Super Mario Bros U - All Challenges w/ Special Gold Medals Complete (22:58). YouTube. Retrieved June 3, 2024.
  2. ^ Stratton, Steve (November 18, 2012). New Super Mario Bros. U PRIMA Official Game Guide. Prima Games (American English). ISBN 978-0-307-89690-2. Page 129.
  3. ^ August 1991. Nintendo Mario Mania Player's Guide. Nintendo of America (American English). Page 52.
  4. ^ September 1991. Nintendo Power Volume 28. Page 15 and 20.
  5. ^ August 1991. Nintendo Mario Mania Player's Guide. Nintendo of America (American English). Page 75, 90, 100, 144.
  6. ^ Winter 2002. Nintendo Power Advance Volume 4. Nintendo of America (American English). Page 33, 49, 82.
  7. ^ "Ball and Chain: The ball and chain swings over gaps. If you hit the ball straight on, you’ll be brought to a halt!" – Musa, Alexander (May 30, 2014). Mario Kart 8 PRIMA Official Game Guide. Prima Games (American English). ISBN 978-0-804-16328-6. Page 130.
  8. ^ Black, Fletcher (December 19, 2006). Yoshi's Island DS PRIMA Official Game Guide. Prima Games (American English). ISBN 0-7615-5576-5. Page 132.
  9. ^ 1994. 「パーフェクト版 マリオキャラクター大事典」 (Perfect Ban Mario Character Daijiten). Shogakukan (Japanese). Page 74.
  10. ^ October 19, 2015. Super Mario Bros. Hyakka: Nintendo Kōshiki Guidebook. Shogakukan (Japanese). ISBN 978-4-09-106569-8. Page 60, 118, 150, 215.
  11. ^ 「任天堂公式ガイドブック スーパーマリオ★ヨッシーアイランド」 (Nintendo Kōshiki Guidebook – Super Mario: Yossy Island). Shogakukan (Japanese). Page 28.
  12. ^ 「任天堂公式ガイドブック ヨッシー New アイランド」 (Nintendo Kōshiki Guidebook – Yoshi's New Island). Shogakukan (Japanese). Page 44.
  13. ^ 「任天堂公式ガイドブック ヨッシーアイランドDS」 (Nintendo Kōshiki Guidebook – Yoshi's Island DS). Page 34.
  14. ^ October 19, 2015. Super Mario Bros. Hyakka: Nintendo Kōshiki Guidebook, Super Mario 3D Land section. Shogakukan (Japanese). ISBN 978-4-09-106569-8. Page 186.
  15. ^ Impossible Pendulums
  16. ^ Spiked Ball Scramble
  17. ^ Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 French ending
  18. ^ 无敌阿尔宙斯 (August 28, 2013). Baidu Tieba (Simplified Chinese). Retrieved June 3, 2024.[dead link]
  19. ^ Canal New Super Mario Bros. U (February 13th, 2013). New Super Mario Bros. U - Desafios: Calma no Castelo (Wii U). YouTube (European Portuguese). Retrieved June 3, 2024.