Super Mario Bros. Special

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Not to be confused with Mario Bros. Special.
Super Mario Bros. Special
For alternate box art, see the game's gallery.
Developer Hudson Soft
Publisher Hudson Soft (Japan)
Caroline Software (South Korea)[citation needed]
Platforms PC-8801
Samsung SPC-1500[1]
Release date Japan 1986
South Korea c. 1987[1]
Genre Platformer
Mode(s) Single player
Media 5.25-inch floppy, Tape

Super Mario Bros. Special (スーパーマリオブラザーズ スペシャル) was developed by Hudson Soft and released in 1986 for the PC-8801 and X1 series of Japanese computers, and later for the Samsung SPC-1500[1] in South Korea. Super Mario Bros. Special was the second Nintendo-licensed follow-up to Super Mario Bros., released around two months after Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels.[2] Two years prior, Hudson Soft had released Punch Ball Mario Bros. and Mario Bros. Special, which were both based on the original Mario Bros.

While superficially very similar to the original Super Mario Bros., the game features original new levels and has a screen-by-screen scrolling mechanism. The latter is implemented more smoothly in the X1 version, which features Zelda-style scrolling, where the screen visually slides to the next lock point (with some overlap between screens), whereas the PC-8801 version simply turns black for a moment while loading the next screen.

Jumping and dashing physics also differ from the original NES, providing a more challenging experience than Super Mario Bros. Adding difficulty is the fact that the stage time is slightly faster than in the original NES game. Mario's Hammer from Donkey Kong makes a re-appearance as a rare item, alongside a variety of past foes from earlier arcade Mario titles and new exclusive items.

Due to the PC-8801 and X1's technology being inferior to that of the NES/Famicom, the graphics and audio differ slightly from the original game as well, although they are closely replicated. Additionally, the game does not include Luigi nor does it contain a multiplayer mode. The X1 version contains partial scrolling and slightly more colorful graphics, featuring all eight colors possible with 100% and 0% RGB, including lime-green, cyan, magenta and white. While the PC-88 is able to produce eight colors, Super Mario Bros. Special only uses half of the PC-88's hardware palette, restricted to only black, red, yellow, and blue, including dithered results with those four colors. Further, sprites exclude the use of blue to allow transparency in the sprites.

The Warp Zones from the original were changed in such a way that Super Mario Bros. Special has no true Warp Zone. In World 1-2, reaching the area over the pipe instead leads to the single bonus room that could be accessed normally in the stage, but with a pipe that still leads to the overworld, thus to the end of the level. In World 4-2, a room that more resembles a true Warp Zone can be found, however the only pipe it holds does not have any destinations defined, likely due to an oversight by the developers. The pipe can still be entered, but the player will remain stuck there indefinitely, forcing the player to be killed by the timer.

New enemies[edit]

Hudson Soft's staff took these enemies from earlier Mario games, none of which can be stomped, and provided them with new names:

Name X1 image PC-88 image Description
Chokichoki SMBS Sidestepper Sharp X1.png SMBS Sidestepper NEC PC-8801.png Originally from Mario Bros. Can be defeated with a fireball, invincibility, or a bump from below. Found in Worlds 4-2, 5-2, 7-3, 8-1, and 8-3.
Nakaji SMBS Fighter Fly Sharp X1.png SMBS Fighter Fly PC-8801.png Originally from Mario Bros. Can be defeated with a fireball, hammer, invincibility, or a bump. Found in Worlds 5-1, 5-2, 8-1, 8-2, and 8-3.
Tsurara SMBS Icicle Sharp X1.png SMBS Icicle NEC PC-8801.png Originally from Mario Bros. Can be defeated with a fireball. Found in Worlds 4-2, 4-4, 5-3, 6-4, 7-4, 8-3, and 8-4.
Sigebou SMBS Fireball Sharp X1.png SMBS Fireball NEC PC-8801.png Originally from Donkey Kong. Found in Worlds 7-4 and 8-2.
Tarusar Barrel SMBS.png SMBS Barrel NEC PC-8801.png Originally from Donkey Kong. Can be defeated with a hammer or a bump. Found in Worlds 3-4, 4-3, 6-2, 6-4, 7-1, and 8-2.


The object of the game is to get to the goal flag to advance to the next level. While on his way to the goal, Mario encounters many enemies and power-ups.


Name X1 image PC-88 image Description
Magic Mushroom SMBSpecial-SuperMushroom-SharpX1.png SMBSpecial-SuperMushroom-PC88.png Grab this to change into Super Mario. 1000 points awarded.
Fire Flower SMBSpecial-FireFlower-SharpX1.png SMBSpecial-FireFlower-PC88.png Grab this to change into Fire Mario. 1000 points awarded.
Hammer HammerSMBS.png SMBSpecial-Hummer-PC88.png The hammer power-up from Donkey Kong, which spawns a hammer in front of Mario that rapidly swings. Found in Worlds 3-4 and 5-1. 1000 points awarded.
Wing Smbswing.png SMBSpecial-Wing-PC88.png Collecting this causes Mario to briefly act as if he is swimming in the air. Found in Worlds 3-2 and 4-1. 1000 points awarded.
Starman StarmanWithAFaceSMBS.png SMBSpecial-Star-PC88.png Makes Mario briefly invincible. 1000 points awarded.


Name X1 image PC-88 image Description
1 up Mushroom SMBSpecial-1UpMushroom-SharpX1.png SMBSpecial-1UpMushroom-PC88.png If Mario collects one, he will get an extra life.
Coin SMBSpecial-Coin.png SMBSpecial-Coin.png Collect 100 Coins for a 1 up.
Clock SMB Special Clock sprite.png SMBSpecial-Clock-PC88.png Upon picking this up, Mario will get an additional 100 seconds added to the timer. Found in World 8-3. 1000 points awarded.
Hachisuke HudsonBeeSMBS.png SMBSpecial-Hachisuke-PC88.png The bee from the Hudson Soft logo. If Mario finds this item, he will be awarded 8000 points. Found in World 1-1.
Lucky Star SMBSpecial-LuckyStarItem.png SMBSpecial-LuckyStarItem-PC88.png Resembles an atom. If Mario collects it, all the enemies on-screen will be defeated and award their normal point values as if hit by a Starman (similar to a POW Block except it also affects airborne foes). Found in World 4-1. 1000 points awarded.


Due to both the PC-88 and X1 technology being inferior compared to the NES/Famicom, some glitches and tricks that were previously not present in the original appear here.

The Blinkfest[edit]

When moving, Mario and some other sprites flicker. Due to the hardware Super Mario Bros. Special is built on, sprites do not have as fluid and smooth of a movement as they did in NES game Super Mario Bros. and X1 version. This "glitch" is more present in the PC-88 version.

Infinite 1-Up trick[edit]

Like in the original Super Mario Bros., jumping continuously on a Koopa Troopa or a Buzzy Beetle when it's about three blocks away from an edge or wall won't make it move, thus allowing the player to remain hopping on the shell and gain infinite 1-Ups. Unlike the original, the trick is much easier to perform due to the game's different collision physics launching the player higher after a stomp, and can be done in virtually any area with both a Koopa Troopa and an edge/wall.

When a sliding Koopa shell is stomped and stops moving, the timer before the Koopa gets back up does not reset, continuing from where it left off when the shell was kicked. Because of this, it is possible for a Koopa to break itself out of the trick, requiring Mario to re-set it up.

The player can accumulate a maximum of 255 lives, with the number of current lives remaining represented in hexadecimal numbers (such as "85" for 133 lives and "DE" for 222 lives). Collecting any more will round the counter back to 0 lives.

Harmless Fire-Bars[edit]

Sometimes, hitting the most external part of a Fire-Bar won't deliver any damage, likely because of the game's limits in hardware and registering hitboxes with moving obstacles.

Lagging Fire-Bars[edit]

In World 8-4, in the room with five Fire-Bars, the game will lag, probably due to technical limitations with the number of sprites that can be projected on-screen exceeding the normal limit.

Trap or glitch?[edit]

In World 4-3, there is a beanstalk that leads to a Coin Heaven. When trying to leave, sometimes Mario will be unable to enter the exit pipe. It is assumed to be an overlooked program error, as the entrance back to the main level from this bonus area is present underneath the mushroom stairs leading to the flagpole. A similar error appears in 4-2, where a hidden pipe placed beyond the exit pipe can be entered, but it lacks a destination to take the player, thus causing Mario to be stuck inside the pipe until time runs out.

Out-of-service jumping board[edit]

Compared to the original Super Mario Bros., the jumping board present in World 2-1 is much more difficult to perform a higher jump off of due to poor collision detection, sometimes being stuck in its animation frames when Mario jumps off. Sometimes holding the jump key while landing on the board will guarantee success in jumping off, and in the event that a player would have trouble, the set of invisible blocks placed around the board allows players to bypass it.

Disk error[edit]

Some copies of the PC-88 version of Super Mario Bros. Special (notably ROM dumps that are run on computer emulators) are missing the data necessary to trigger the IPL switch needed to load World 8-4, and thus will load a blank screen reading "DISK ERROR! PLEASE RESTART GAME PUSH IPL SWITCH", after clearing World 8-3.[3] This glitch is very likely not present in an authentic copy of the game.

Stop music[edit]

Due to bad pipe entering detection, if Mario gets too close to a horizontal pipe that can be entered and quickly turn around, the player will hear the pipe entering sound, and the music will stop until Mario actually enters the pipe. The player can do this multiple times in the same room, but all that will happen is that they will hear the pipe entering sound again.


Main article: List of Super Mario Bros. Special staff

Programmed By[edit]

  • Yukio-Takeoka

Course-Designed By[edit]

  • Ichirou-Sakurada

Sound Effected By[edit]

  • Fumihiko-Itagaki
  • Megumi-Kawamata

Produced By[edit]

  • Takashi-Takebe


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Super Mario Bros. Special.

External links[edit]