Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. is a video game released for the Family Computer and Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. It shifted the gameplay away from its single-screen arcade predecessor, Mario Bros., and instead featured side-scrolling platformer levels. While not the first game of the Mario franchise, Super Mario Bros. is the most iconic, and introduced various series staples, from power-ups, to classic enemies like Little Goombas, to the basic premise of rescuing Princess Toadstool from King Koopa.
As well as kicking off an entire series of Super Mario platformer games, the wild success of Super Mario Bros. popularized the genre as a whole, helped revive the North American gaming industry after the 1983 video game crash, and was largely responsible for the initial success of the NES, with which it was bundled a launch title. Until it was eventually surpassed by Wii Sports, Super Mario Bros. was the best selling video game of all time for nearly three decades, with over 40 million copies sold worldwide.
The exact day of the North American release of Super Mario Bros. is heavily disputed, with different sources giving different dates with no way to verify them. Regardless, Nintendo officially pinpoints the release date as October 18, 1985.
One day, the Mushroom Kingdom was invaded by the Koopa, a tribe of turtles capable of using powerful dark magic. Their magic was used to transform all the Mushroom People into inanimate objects such as rocks, bricks, and even horsehair plants, thus spelling the kingdom's downfall. Only Princess Toadstool can undo the spell and restore her people back to life, but she is being held captive by King Koopa himself. Mario hears of the princess's plight, and sets out on a quest through 32 stages to topple the Turtle Tribe and save the once-peaceful kingdom.
Super Mario Bros. is divided into eight worlds, each of them containing four levels. Mario (or, in the case of a second player, his brother Luigi) has to get to the end of the level by jumping over various gaps and avoiding the enemies on his way. Mario can use several platforms (some of them collapse when Mario lands on them), stairs in the level, as well as jumping boards. There are also pipes along the way, some of which Mario can enter to visit various secret coin rooms before returning to the level, a bit further ahead than when he left.
Enemies include Little Goombas, Koopa Troopas, Buzzy Beetles, Koopa Paratroopas, Bullet Bills, Hammer Brothers, and leaping Cheep-cheeps. All these enemies can be defeated when Mario jumps on them. Koopa Troopas and Buzzy Beetles cower in their shell when jumped on, which Mario can kick to defeat other enemies with. Koopa Paratroopas lose their wings and fall to the ground when Mario jumps on them. Other enemies include Piranha Plants, and the Spiny-throwing Lakitus, and Mario has to either shoot fireballs at them or just avoid them. There are two levels which take place underwater. In the water, Mario can swim freely from the top to the bottom of the screen. The enemies in underwater levels are Bloobers and Cheep-cheeps. Mario can only defeat these creatures by shooting them with fireballs.
If regular Mario takes a hit, falls down a pit, or if the Time Limit runs out, he loses a life, and restarts the level. The point where Mario continues depends on how far he ran through the level before getting defeated; either from the beginning, or at one of several invisible "checkpoints" throughout the level. After a Game Over, pressing while holding on the title screen allows the player to continue from the start of the world. In a 2-player game, if this is done by whoever got a Game Over second, both players will begin in the same world where the second player's game ended.
Mario can get special power-ups out of ? Blocks or, uncommonly, Brick Blocks. Most of the ? Blocks in which Mario can find these items are visible, but some are hidden and only become visible when Mario hits them from beneath. With the Magic Mushroom, he turns into Super Mario. As Super Mario, he can survive the hit of an enemy one time, at the cost of turning back to regular Mario. He may also destroy empty Brick Blocks by jumping beneath them. Additionally, he can also get the Fire Flower. With the Fire Flower, Super Mario turns into Fiery Mario, which allows him to shoot fireballs at enemies to defeat them from a distance. With the 1 up Mushroom, he gains an additional life; he can also get an extra life if he collects a hundred coins. With the Starman, which can only be found in Brick Blocks, Mario turns invincible for a short amount of time, and can defeat enemies by simply touching them.
At the end of each level, a castle stands with a flagpole nearby. When Mario reaches the flagpole, he takes down the enemy flag and enters the castle, completing the level. The higher the spot that Mario hits the flagpole, the more points he receives. If there are two players playing the game, Luigi's turn comes whenever Mario loses a life. Luigi has no special abilities in the game that are different from Mario's.
The fourth level of each world plays inside a castle. They are usually filled with Fire-Bars and Podoboos. At the end of a castle level, Mario is confronted with a fake Bowser in Worlds 1 through 7 and the actual Bowser in World 8. Mario and Luigi ordinarily have no way to hurt the fake Bowsers or the actual Bowser, and have to either use the ax to destroy the bridge, causing either the false or real one to fall into the lava, or pelt him with a number of fireballs, which produces the same result and reveals the true forms of the fakes. After defeating an impostor, Mario frees one of the seven remaining mushroom retainers from the castle, at which point they say their iconic phrase: "Thank you, Mario! But our princess is in another castle!" At the end of the castle in World 8, Mario frees the grateful Princess Toadstool and completes his adventure, having the choice to continue playing in a "new quest." In this second quest, the player gets to choose a world, and replay some levels. However, all Little Goombas are replaced by Buzzy Beetles, all ground enemies are also considerably faster, some platforms and elevator-style lifts are shortened in length, and the level design is slightly changed for some levels (see below at "Hard mode").
Wii Classic Controller
Nintendo GameCube Controller
Game Boy Advance
Wii U GamePad / Wii U Pro Controller
Joy-Con / Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
List of levels
After beating the main game, the player is given the option to pick a world to play in "a new quest"—a harder mode where all Little Goombas are replaced by Buzzy Beetles, and all enemies walk faster; all of the elevator-style lifts are about sixty percent of their original size, while Fire-Bars appear in all possible locations. Mario and Luigi gain no special powers in hard mode, and they receive no extra points when they defeat an enemy. The story remains exactly the same, as each of the first seven castles contain a mushroom retainer that needs rescuing, while the eighth castle has Princess Toadstool. If the player finishes the game on hard mode, they will not unlock anything new from the previous time the game was finished. However, points can be gained faster by jumping on a Buzzy Beetle and then running with the shell as it hits other Buzzy Beetles and Koopa Troopas. Earlier levels in hard mode are the same as their harder clones; for instance, 1-3, which is an easier version of 5-3 in the normal game, is identical to it in hard mode.
World 36-1/Minus World
The Minus World is an endless underwater level, identical to World 7-2, which is accessed through a programming glitch. There is no way to successfully complete the level, as entering the pipe at the end will simply return Mario or Luigi to the one at the beginning. While there is no strategic advantage in performing this glitch, many find it intriguing. The glitch was removed in all remakes of the game, excluding the imports and Virtual Console remakes. The Japanese Family Computer Disk System version of the game includes a different version of the Minus World. It contains three levels which can be beaten, and once -3 is complete, the player will return to the title screen as if they had beaten the game.
To perform the glitch, Mario must go to World 1-2 and stand on top of the pipe that leads to the above-ground flag, without going in the pipe. Then he must break the second and third block from the pipe, but leave the one on the far right. Then he must stand on the left edge of the pipe (facing left) and duck. He then has to jump while in a ducking position and move right in mid-air (while still facing left). If done correctly, Mario will go through the block on the far right and through the wall to the Warp Zone. Mario must then go through the pipe that would normally lead to World 2-1 or World 4-1, and Mario will enter the Minus World.
If World 2-2 or 7-2 is edited in a ROM editor so that it is possible to beat it during the underwater segment, there is a World -2, an underwater version of 3-4. If World 3-4 is edited in a ROM editor, then there is a World -3. It is also a version of 3-4, but with overworld graphics; beating World -3 takes the player to World -4, a level which is just a blank screen.
Over the Flagpole
In some levels, it is possible to jump over the flagpole. Beyond the flag pole is nothing but an endless path. There is nothing to do; all that can be done is wait for the timer to get to zero. To do this glitch in World 1-1, right after the second pit, Mario needs to wait for the Koopa Troopa to about to fall into the pit and simultaneously jump at the top of the level right above the Koopa. After that, the Koopa will be stuck underneath the level, but the player will still be able to see it. When the Koopa starts to walk under the level, Mario should follow it to the end. Along the way, it is required to grab a Magic Mushroom. When the Koopa is halfway between the staircase and the flagpole, the player must do the glitch again and Mario will jump above the flagpole.
To do this glitch in World 3-3, at the end of the level the player must stand on the last lift until another one has completely lifted, before falling off. After that, the player must accelerate as fast as possible and jump from the far edge of the lift. The lift should not lower while doing so.
In Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, this is actually exploited to hide Warp Zones. In worlds 3-1 and A-3, there are warp zones placed beyond the goals. In other worlds, while it is possible to go over the flagpole, the edge of the world is a few steps past the fortress, and the player is not able go far enough for the flagpole to scroll off the screen.
This glitch was fixed in the SNES version of the game.
This glitch/trick was featured in the 25th anniversary super play.
Development for Super Mario Bros. began after Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka finished two other games together beforehand: Excitebike and Devil World. When designing Super Mario Bros., they wanted to use the scrolling screens of Excitebike and the large character sprites from Devil World, in order to make Super Mario Bros. stand out from other titles. Miyamoto and Tezuka wanted to fit various technologies into the game, comparing it to a puzzle. The name "Super Mario Bros." also came from Mario's new Super form.
Super Mario Bros. was developed at the same time as The Legend of Zelda, and both shared numerous staff members: Shigeru Miyamoto, Takashi Tezuka, Toshihiko Nakago, Koji Kondo, Kazuaki Morita, Yasunari Nishida, and Hiroshi Yamauchi. According to the developers, some aspects in Super Mario Bros. were taken from The Legend of Zelda; Fire-Bars were one example, as they were present in the dungeons in The Legend of Zelda. Miyamoto implemented Fire-Bars into Super Mario Bros. as an obstacle.
The main goal of Super Mario Bros. was to have a character travel through many lands with all different themes to each other and it would feature a diverse terrain, such as land, water, and sky. They also intended for the main character to be twice the size of the final one. In the beginning of developing the game, the placeholder playable character was a 16×32 pixel square. The square couldn't even jump and as a result, Tezuka suggested making Mario the playable character instead of the square due to the popularity of Mario Bros., which Miyamoto accepted.
Nakago and his team, Systems Research and Development (SRD), colored the background blue in some levels. This was unusual, because video games released during this time period usually had a black background, to avoid eye-strain and to avoid getting distracted by the bright colors. After coloring the background blue in some levels, Nakago then started designing maps for this game. Miyamoto wanted the levels to be around a minute long and he told SRD to do so. He then realized that it usually takes about a second to travel across a screen, and that numerous screens would have been implemented in one stage. SRD first thought that Miyamoto had requested them to make 60 screens per stage, but Miyamoto then explained that obstacles in each screen would slow down the player's progress, which resulted in an average of about 12 screens per level. The stage with the most screens has only 32, which is about half of what SRD had originally expected.
When designing the stages themselves, because a level creating tool wasn't available to them at the time, Miyamoto and Tezuka would draw the levels on graph paper, and then Nakago and his team would design and program it into the game; if edits were to be made to the original drawings, a sheet of clear paper was placed over the original drawings. Nakago has stated that a lot of documents were sent to his team everyday to change some aspects of stages. Every day, the group would do all they could do of what was stated in the documents, and would work until 10 at night.
Pre-release and unused content
The game was far more focused on action than platforming. The game was split between ground and sky segments, which had Mario shooting enemies. Mario could use weapons and the control scheme was different as a result, such as having the up arrow of the used as the jump button.
Reception and legacy
Super Mario Bros. received critical acclaim and is considered one of the best games of all time. One of the most-praised aspects of the game is the precise controls, which allow players to control how far and high the characters jump and how fast they can run. The game popularized side-scrolling video games, and the game has since received several sequels and spin-offs, and many different ports and alternative versions. All characters, enemies, and items found in the game have become core elements of the Mario franchise, and the plot of Bowser kidnapping the princess has continued to be used throughout the core Super Mario series.
The game was placed 14th in the 100th issue of Nintendo Power's "100 best Nintendo games of all time" in 1997. It ranked the first spot in Electronic Gaming Monthly's "Greatest 200 Games of Their Time", named in IGN's top 100 games of all time lists in 2005 and 2007, and declared the second-best Mario game of all time. IGN also placed it 3rd in their Top 100 NES Games list.
Super Mario Bros. sold 40.24 million units with its NES release, being the best-selling Mario game and among the best-selling video games of all time. It has received several other works such as The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! and the Super Mario Bros. film.
The game's impact on popular culture was so big that during 2010, a street in Zaragoza, Aragón (Spain), was named after it, with a ceremony being held in celebration.
References in later games
Alternate versions and re-releases
Super Smash Bros. Brawl sticker information
Names in other languages