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 will lose a life regardless of power ups, including invincibility from a Super Star (and if time runs out when the player has no more lives, they will get a Game Over). An in-game "second" is approximately 0.6 or 0.7 seconds (in Super Mario Bros., one in-game "second" 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 units of the time, the "hurry up" jingle plays to warn that the player is low on time and the level's music plays at a rushed tempo. In newer Mario games, if Mario loses a life after hitting a Checkpoint Flag, the time limit will be adjusted 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.


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 in-game seconds, which is 160 seconds in real time (2 minutes 40 seconds).


  • A glitch in Super Mario World involves letting the timer drop below 100 to make the music speed up, then using Yoshi to eat a green berry to bring the time limit back above 100. When the timer reaches 100 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 seconds 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 seconds left to complete the level. From 4000 to 4099 seconds, the timer will have a negative number, because the - represents 40. The maximum time is 25599 seconds.

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.