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Super Mario Brothers

Super Mario Brothers

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Super Mario Bros. (スーパーマリオブラザーズ, Sūpā Mario Burazāzu?) is a platform game developed by Nintendo in late 1985 and published for the Nintendo Entertainment System. In Super Mario Bros., Italian plumber Mario must save Princess Peach (Princess Toadstool in the US version) of the Mushroom Kingdom from the evil Bowser, king of the Koopas. In two-player mode, Mario is aided in his quest by his brother, Luigi. In order to save Princess Peach, the Mario Bros. must conquer the eight worlds that comprise the Mushroom Kingdom. Mario (or Luigi) must make his way to the castle in each world and defeat one of the Bowser's evil minions, thereby taking control of that world. In order to reach each castle Mario or Luigi must battle through three "sub-worlds" by either destroying or avoiding Bowser's henchmen. If Mario or Luigi successfully fights his way through the castle and defeats the evil minion, a Mushroom Retainer (later called Toad), is freed. Inside the eighth castle, the Mario Bros. will find Princess Peach.

As of 2008, Super Mario Bros. is the best selling video game of all time (selling over 40 million copies to date).[1] It was largely responsible for the initial success of the Nintendo Entertainment System, as well as ending the two year slump of video game sales in the United States after the video game crash of 1983. One of Shigeru Miyamoto's most influential early successes, it has inspired countless imitators, two direct sequels, and many spinoffs, as well as an entire video game series. Mario went on to become Nintendo's most well-known mascot. The theme music, by Koji Kondo, is recognized worldwide, even by those who have not played the game, and has been considered a representation for video game music in general.[2]

The game was succeeded by a direct sequel in Japan, and by a slight revision of Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic (that introduces Mario characters) elsewhere in the world. In both cases, the games are titled Super Mario Bros. 2, causing both games to be re-released in different countries under different titles. There also have been many "alternate" versions of the game, such as All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros., which featured personalities from a famous Japanese radio show, as well as an arcade game. The success of Super Mario Bros. has caused it to be ported to almost every one of Nintendo's major gaming consoles, as well as the NEC PC-8801.

Super Mario Brothers

Game Play

The player takes the role of Mario, or in the case of a second player, Mario's brother Luigi.[3] The object is to race through the Mushroom Kingdom, evade or eliminate Bowser's forces and save Princess Peach.[4] Mario or Luigi can be hurt if either touches an enemy. If he takes a hit as regular Mario, falls down a pit (regardless of status), or the time clock runs out, he loses a life and starts again.[5] The point where Mario continues from after losing a life depends on how far he ran through the level before dying: either from the very beginning or at an invisible "checkpoint" partway through the level.[6] There are no checkpoints in castles or in world 8, the final world. The Mario Brothers' primary attack is simply jumping on top of ("Stomping") their enemies, which kills the mushroom traitors, known as Goombas,[7] and sends the turtle soldiers, known as Koopa Troopas, into their shells.[8] Mario and Luigi can then kick these shells into other enemies, who will be defeated as a result. Conversely, kicked shells can bounce back off walls or other vertical obstructions and hit Mario or Luigi, injuring the player.[9] Some enemies cannot be defeated by stomping; these enemies can only be defeated by turtle shell or fireball as stomping them will hurt the Mario Bros.[10] Jumping on enough enemies in succession or kicking a shell into enough enemies in succession (combos) results in double points earned with each enemy defeated, eventually earning Mario or Luigi a 1-up (an extra life).[11] Mario and Luigi can also obtain 1-ups through finding 1-up mushrooms or by collecting 100 coins.[12]

Aiding the Mario Brothers in their quest are several powers. If Mario or Luigi collect a mushroom, they will become Super Mario or Luigi, thus able to take two hits before losing a life. Collecting a Fire Flower changes the player into Fiery Mario or Luigi, granting the ability to throw fireballs; however, the maximum tolerance for hits remains two (i.e., a hit taken while Fiery will reduce the player to small Mario or Luigi).[13] Mario or Luigi can also collect a Starman and become invincible for a limited amount of time.[13] Invincible Mario or Luigi is impervious to the touch of enemy characters and most obstacles, and he can simply run into enemies to defeat them. He will still die, however, if he falls in a pit or lava, or if time runs out.

The game consists of eight worlds with four sub-levels in each world.[4] Though each world is different, the fourth sub-world is always a fortress or castle. At the end of each castle level, Mario or Luigi fights Bowser, however if one of the brothers throws five fireballs at Bowser, it is revealed that he is actually a different enemy in disguise.[14] In the later worlds (worlds 6 to 8), Bowser throws hammers as well as occasional jets of fire breath.[14] Bowser may be defeated in one of two ways: either by touching the axe at the edge of the bridge (thereby dropping him into the lava) or, as Fire Mario or Luigi, throwing fireballs at him to defeat him directly. The latter is the only way to receive points for the Koopa King's defeat.[15] At the end of each world except the last, Mario or Luigi is greeted with the words "Thank you Mario [or Luigi]! But our princess is in another castle!" spoken by a Mushroom Retainer.[16]

After winning the game, the player is given the option to start the game again in "'Hard' Mode",[17] where all Goombas are replaced by Buzzy Beetles (Koopa Troopa-like enemies who cannot be killed by fireballs) and all enemies' walking speed is increased.[17] In addition, the elevator-style lifts are about 60% their original size throughout.[17] There are also an increased number of hazards in the earlier worlds. For example, in World 1-3 random Bullet Bills fly across the screen, a danger that normally only appears in certain later levels, such as World 5-3.[17]

Super Mario Brothers

Players may get to the beginning of any world with a relatively small amount of effort by using hidden warp zones in a number of levels. One is in level 1-2 and is reached by walking on the blocks at the top of the level passing the exit pipe. This zone allows Mario to skip to worlds 2, 3 and 4. The other two are in 4-2; one is reached in the same manner as the one in 1-2 but this only allows access to world 5. The other is reached through a beanstalk, and allows the player to skip ahead to worlds 6, 7, and 8.[18]


Koji Kondo wrote the musical score for Super Mario Bros.[19] There are four main themes used in the original game:[20]

  • Overworld - The famous main theme; a Latin jazz score that matches the bright, cheery and fast-paced nature of the majority of the game's levels.
  • Underworld - A simple, minimalist jazz theme used in the underground levels. The Underworld theme has been used, in one form or another, in almost every Mario platformer.
  • Underwater - A slower, waltz theme used in the underwater levels. The same melody has been reused in the title screen of Super Mario Bros. 2, as well as the title screen of most Mario remakes.
  • Fortress - A fast-paced theme used in the castle levels.

The Minus World

The Minus World is a well-known glitch in Super Mario Bros. By passing through a solid wall near the World 1-2 exit due to a glitch, it is possible to travel to "World -1",[21] also known as the "Minus World" or "World Negative One" and considered by the game to be "world 36." This stage is identical to Worlds 2-2 and 7-2, but upon entering the warp pipe at the end, the player is taken back to the start of the level. Exploiting the same glitch in the Japanese Famicom Disk System is considerably different and has three levels, after which the player is returned to the title screen as though he or she completed the game.[22] This glitch was fixed in the Super Mario All-Stars remake as well as in Super Mario Bros. Deluxe.[21]

Alternate Versions

As one of Nintendo's most popular games, Super Mario Bros. has been re-released and remade numerous times, ranging from an arcade version released soon after the original NES release, to the game being available for download on the Wii's Virtual Console.

Early Re-Releases

Super Mario Bros. was re-released many times in the year immediately after its original release on the NES. A side-scrolling platform game entitled Super Mario Bros. was released for the Game & Watch range of handheld LCD game systems by Nintendo.[23] The Game & Watch Super Mario Bros. is an entirely new game, featuring none of the stages from the NES original. In Japan Super Mario Bros. was released for the Famicom Disk System, Nintendo's proprietary floppy disk drive for the Famicom.[24] This version also had multiple Minus World levels.[22]

Vs. Super Mario Bros.

One alternate version, Vs. Super Mario Bros. (originally called Vs. Mario's Adventure),[25] is nearly a separate game in its own right. This game, one of several games made for Nintendo's NES-based arcade cabinet, the Nintendo Vs. Unisystem (and its variant, the Nintendo Vs. Dualsystem), is based on Super Mario Bros., and has identical gameplay. The stages, however, are different; the early stages are subtly different, with small differences like the omission of 1-up mushrooms or other hidden items, but later stages are changed entirely. These changes have a net effect of making Vs. Super Mario Bros. much more difficult than the original Super Mario Bros.[26] Many of these later, changed stages reappeared in the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2.

As with many older arcade games, it is not clear exactly when this game was released; while the arcade boards themselves are stamped "1985,"[27] the Killer List of Video Games and the MAME game listing list the game as having been released in 1986.[28]

All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros.

All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros. is a very rare version of Super Mario Bros. with graphics based upon the popular Japanese radio show All Night Nippon. The game, which was only released in Japan, and only for the Famicom Disk System, was a special promotional version that was given away by the show in 1986. The creators altered the sprites of the enemies, mushroom retainers, and other characters to look like famous Japanese music idols, recording artists, and DJs, as well as other people related to All Night Nippon. It was published by Fuji TV, the same company that published the game Doki Doki Panic (which was later modified into America's Super Mario Bros. 2).[29]

Instead of being a straight port from Super Mario Bros. with graphical changes, All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros. combined levels from Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels and Vs. Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario All-Stars

In 1993,[30] Nintendo released an enhanced SNES compilation titled Super Mario All-Stars. It includes all of the Super Mario Bros. games released for the NES/Famicom. The version of Super Mario Bros. included in the compilation has improved graphics and sound to match the SNES's 16-bit gameplay capabilities, as well as minor alterations in some collision mechanics. Another new feature introduced in this game is the ability for the second player to switch to Luigi after the end of the stage, unlike in the original Super Mario Bros. where the second player could only play after Mario dies. The new version also included a save game feature. Several glitches from the original NES release were also fixed.[31]

Super Mario Bros. Deluxe

Super Mario Bros. was released on the Game Boy Color in 1999[32] under the title Super Mario Bros. Deluxe. It featured simultaneous multiplayer, a Challenge mode (where the player had to find hidden objects and achieve a certain score in addition to normally completing the level) and also included the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 (which was released on Super Mario All-Stars as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels) as an unlockable extra. It also was compatible with the Game Boy Printer. The game did not, however, feature any upgraded visuals (aside from some graphics such as water and lava now being animated rather than static), and since the screen resolution of the Game Boy Color was smaller than the NES, the view distance of the player is reduced. To compensate, players can press up and down to see above and below the player. Pressing select during the game also places the player in the middle or off to the left of the screen so that player can see well. Players can alternate between Mario and Luigi by pressing select on the map screen.[33]

Reception and Legacy

Super Mario Bros. popularized the side scrolling genre of video games and led to many sequels in the series that built upon the same basic premise. Almost all of the game's aspects have been praised at one time or another, from its large cast of characters to a diverse set of levels. One of the most-praised aspects of the game is the precise controls. The player is able to control how high and far Mario or Luigi jumps, and how fast he can run.[34] The music, especially the Overworld theme, has also become one of the most recognizable pieces of music in the world. In 1992, music from Super Mario Bros. was sampled by the Ambassadors of Funk for their songs Supermario Brothers Theme and Mario Theme. Both songs were included on the album Super Mario Compact Disco.

Super Mario Bros. is still played on the NES, and the style of this game is still used, and continues to be very popular, around the world. The game has spawned four direct sequels, Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (known as Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan only), Super Mario Bros. 2 (released in Japan as Super Mario USA), Super Mario Bros. 3, and Super Mario World (released in Japan as Super Mario Bros. 4), all of which have been very successful. The Mario series is one of the most popular and enduring series of all time. The game holds the top spot on EGM's greatest 200 games of their time list[35] and was named in IGN's top 100 games of all time list twice (2005, 2007).[36] All together, this game sold 40.24 million copies, making it the best selling video game of all of the Mario Bros. series.[37]

The original game and its sequels also inspired a number of products in various media, including an American television series, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! from 1989, and a live-action movie, Super Mario Bros., released in 1993.


Classic NES Series

In early 2004, Nintendo re-released the game on the Game Boy Advance in Japan as part of their Famicom Minis collection and in the U.S. as part of the Classic NES Series. Unlike previous re-releases, these versions contain no graphical updates and all of the original glitches remain. Super Mario Bros. was one of the best-selling of these rereleases; according to the NPD Group (which tracks game sales in North America), this re-released version of Super Mario Bros. was the best-selling Game Boy Advance game in June 2004.[38] In 2005, Nintendo released this game again for the GBA as part of its 20th Anniversary with a special edition, which sold approximately 876,000 units.[39]

Virtual Console

Super Mario Bros. was released on December 2, 2006 in Japan, on December 25, 2006 in North America, and on January 5, 2007 in PAL regions for Wii's Virtual Console. Like all NES titles previously available in their respective regions, Super Mario Brothers costs 500 Wii points. As it is a copy of the original game, all glitches, including the Minus World, remain in the game.[40]

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Super Mario Bros. is one of the trial games available, called "Masterpieces", in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.[41]

Animal Crossing

Super Mario Bros. is also one of the NES games included in the Nintendo GameCube game Animal Crossing. The only known way to unlock Super Mario Bros. is by use of a game modification device, like the Game Shark or Action Replay. The game is fully emulated (is the original ROM), so it includes every glitch from the NES including the famous minus world glitch.


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  3. "TMK: Mariopedia: L". TMK Mariopedia. Retrieved on 2007-10-31.
  4. Instruction booklet, p. 7.
  5. Instruction booklet, p. 12
  6. Instruction booklet, p. 8.
  7. Instruction booklet, p. 12.
  8. Instruction booklet, p. 11.
  9. Instruction booklet, p. 19.
  10. Instruction booklet, p. 14.
  11. Instruction booklet, p. 20.
  12. Instruction booklet, p. 9.
  13. Instruction booklet, p. 10.
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  16. "The Good". TMK Super Mario Bros. Complete Guide. Retrieved on 2007-11-01.
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  19. "Koji Kondo". IMDb.com. Retrieved on 2007-11-02.
  20. "Super Mario Bros. MIDI's". themushroomkingdom.net. Retrieved on 2007-11-01.
  21. "Super Mario Brothers bugs and glitches". themushroomkingdom.net. Retrieved on 2007-10-31.
  22. "Japanese Famicom SMB Minus World". Kotaku.com. Retrieved on 2007-11-01.
  23. "Super Mario Brothers Game & Watch". Parachuter. Retrieved on 2007-11-01.
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  25. "Vs. Mario's Adventure". arcadeflyers.com. Retrieved on 2008-04-21.
  26. "Vs. Super Mario Bros.". themushroomkingdom.net. Retrieved on 2007-11-01.
  27. passport (December 29, 2001). Vs. Super Mario Bros.. Everything2. URL accessed 2005-11-21.
  28. "Vs. Super Mario Bros.". Killer List of Video Games. Retrieved on 2005-11-22.
  29. "All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros.". themushroomkingdom.net. Retrieved on 2007-11-01.
  30. "SNES: Super Mario All-Stars". GameSpot. Retrieved on 2007-11-02.
  31. "Super Mario All-Stars". themushroomkingdom.net. Retrieved on 2007-11-02.
  32. "Game Boy Colour: Super Mario Bros. Deluxe". GameSpot. Retrieved on 2007-11-02.
  33. "Super Mario Bros. DX Manual". themushroomkingdom.net. Retrieved on 2007-11-01.
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  35. "The Greatest 200 Videogames of Their Time". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Retrieved on 2007-08-09.
  36. "IGN's Top 100 Games". IGN (2005). Retrieved on 2007-08-09.
  37. "Super Mario Sales Data: Historical Unit Numbers for Mario Bros on NES, SNES, N64...". GameCubicle.com. Retrieved on 2007-10-10.
  38. Thorsen, Tor (November 21, 2005). "ChartSpot: June 2004". gamespot.com. Retrieved on 2005-11-26.
  39. Jenkins, David (October 7, 2005). "Japanese Sales Charts, Week Ending October 2". Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2005-11-22.
  40. "Super Mario Bros.". The Virtual Console Archive. Retrieved on 2007-11-01.
  41. "Masterpieces". Smash Bros. DOJO!!. Retrieved on 2008-01-25. * (1998) Duck Hunt/Super Mario Bros. instruction booklet (in English). USA: Nintendo. NES-MH-USA.

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