Time Limit

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The time limit in Super Mario 3D World.

A Time Limit (or simply Time) is a staple of the main Mario franchise platformer games, and its basic purpose is to notify the player of how much time is allotted to complete a level or task; if the timer reaches zero, the player loses a life regardless of power ups, including invincibility from a Super Star (and if time runs out when the player has no more lives left, they receive a Game Over). A timer's count is approximately 0.6 or 0.7 seconds (in Super Mario Bros., one in-game count lasts 0.4 seconds, which is 24 frames in 60Hz NTSC or 20 frames in 50Hz PAL[1], and in New Super Luigi U and in Super Mario Maker, it lasts one second). When the time limit decreases to below 100 counts, the "hurry up" jingle plays to warn that the player is running low on time and the level's music plays at a faster speed. In newer Mario games, starting with New Super Mario Bros. Wii, if Mario loses a life after hitting a Checkpoint Flag, the time limit will be reduced when he restarts the level from that point.

Once the player finishes a level, the remaining time is multiplied by a number (usually 50) and then added to the player's score (or coin total in Super Mario 3D Land). With few exceptions (e.g. in Super Mario World, Super Mario 3D Land, and Super Mario 3D World), it is impossible to increase a level's time limit. In Super Mario 3D Land, New Super Mario Bros. 2, and Super Mario 3D World, the time limit glows red when it goes below 100, and also beeps for every second at the last 10 seconds.

Time limits additionally appear in several other games such as in the Mario Kart series, Mario Party series, Super Smash Bros. series, and various Mario sports games where they function as a simple timer for a given game session. In Mario & Wario, a variation of the usual timer called the Time Gauge (タイムゲージ[2]), which is represented by a bar rather than numbers.

Timer amounts[edit]

It has been requested that this section be rewritten and expanded to include more information.

  • Most stages in the original Super Mario Bros. lasted 400 counts, which is 160 seconds in real time (2 minutes 40 seconds).


  • A glitch in Super Mario World involves letting the timer drop below 100 counts to make the music speed up, then using Yoshi to eat a green berry to bring the time limit back above 100 counts. When the timer reaches 100 counts again, the music will speed up a second time; this can be repeated several times to make the game music play very fast.
  • In older Super Mario Bros. games and Super Mario World if there is 1000 or more counts to complete the level, the first digit on the timer can be a letter, a blank space, or a piece of terrain (usually this glitch is present only in glitch levels, and in Super Mario World only by hacking). For example, if the timer displays █00, and the █ represents 36, this means the player has 3600 counts left to complete the level. From 4000 to 4099 counts, the timer will have a negative number, because the - represents 40. The maximum time is 25599 counts.
  • In the original Super Mario Bros., running out of time as Fire Mario will result in the player seeing a unique-looking dead Mario sprite in Fire Mario's colors, seen nowhere else in the entire game.

See also[edit]


  1. 60 Hz = 60 frames per second so the number of frames in 0.4 seconds = 0.4 * 60 = 24 frames. Likewise, 0.4 * 50 = 20 frames.
  2. Mario & Wario instruction booklet, pages 6 & 10.