A Recorder, also known as a Magic Whistle or Warp Whistle, is a rare item. It is originally from The Legend of Zelda; the six notes played upon use are identical, as is the whirlwind it summons that whisks the player to another location.
Super Mario Bros. 3
In Super Mario Bros. 3, using a Whistle summons a whirlwind that takes Mario or Luigi to World 9, the Warp Zone, where the player can skip ahead to the start of a later world. Using the Whistle in World 1 will allow Mario or Luigi to warp to World 2, 3, or 4; using it in Worlds 2 through 6 will allow him to warp to World 5, 6, or 7; and using it in World 7, 8, or 9 will allow him to warp to World 8.
There are a total of three Whistles that can be collected from treasure chests: two in World 1, and one in World 2. However, in the original Japanese version, a glitch in World 5-1 allows the player to obtain a fourth Whistle.
The first Whistle is obtained by holding the down button on the while standing on the white block at the end of the level, so that Mario drops behind the background, and then quickly getting behind the black curtain at the end of the level before the white block's effect wears off. Behind the curtain is a secret Toad House, whose single chest contains the Whistle.
The second Whistle is obtained by flying above the ceiling at the end of the first room, where there is a door hidden above the top of the screen. The door leads to a small secret room where a treasure box contains the Whistle.
To obtain the third Whistle, the player must defeat the Boomerang Brother on the map, who gives out a Hammer. The Hammer must be used to break the rock at the top right of the map screen, opening a secret passage behind a palm tree. The passage contains a Toad House (with a Frog Suit) as well as a pair of Fire Brothers. Defeating both Fire Brothers will award the player with the Whistle. According to Princess Toadstool's letter upon completing Giant Land, the Whistle had been stolen and taken to the sand dunes on the east side of Desert Land.
World 5-1 (Japanese version only)
In the Family Computer release, a glitch in World 5-1 can cause the treasure chest to appear at the end of the level instead of in its usual location. The glitch is performed by reaching the end of the level, then turning around and flying above the wall of blocks until the player hears the sound of a treasure chest appearing. After this, if the player returns to the goal, they will notice glitched graphics (as it is not supposed to be possible to activate a treasure chest and the goal simultaneously). If the player then hits the goal from the far left corner, the treasure chest will teleport to the goal, and picking it up will earn the player either five extra lives or a Whistle.
The level was shortened by replacing the Warp Pipe to this area (as well as a Buster Beetle) with the goal in international NES releases, as well as Super Mario All-Stars and Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, thus removing the glitch and no longer allowing the player to obtain this Whistle.
Paper Mario: Color Splash
In Paper Mario: Color Splash, this item (now known as the Recorder, its original name from The Legend of Zelda) makes a reappearance after 28 years of absence and in time for its 30th anniversary debut. It is hidden in the Green Energy Plant, in a course specially dedicated to Super Mario Bros. 3. It is also given developer's notes in the game's digital manual. When the Recorder Card is used in battle, four Recorders appear, playing the original melody and the Super Mario Bros. 3 Coin Heaven/Sky Land/Warp Zone theme, which causes a tornado to appear. The effect of the attack is increased if the player presses a bunch of buttons while the melody is playing.
References in other media
Super Mario Bros. 3
Names in other languages