Cheats, Secrets & Glitches – Super Mario Bros.

As I said in my review, there’s a lot of secrets in Super Mario Bros.  It’s one of the many aspects of the game that has helped maintain its popularity for 30 years.  Due to this, and the fact that there is a wealth of secrets hidden within the iconic game, I have decided to do an extra special entry in comparison to a normal Rings & Coins cheats.  So let me take you through some of the most famous, and the most useful hidden secrets and cheats that have been found within Mario’s quest to save the Princess.

Prevent Game Over

On the face of it Super Mario Bros. doesn’t have any continues.  This all means that once you are out of lives is right back to World 1-1, and this can be frustrating.  However, there is a way to avoid this.  When you see the Game Over screen, all you have to do is hold A, and then press Start.  This will see you re-start from the beginning of the world where you just died.

Warp Zones

Super Mario Bros. may not have any passwords or the ability to save, but that didn’t stop Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo from adding in a way for people to carry on from where they last were.  These came in the form of the Warp Zones that I mentioned in my review.

Warp To Worlds 2 / 3 / 4

The first of these can be found very early, in the second level (1-2) in fact.  Right at the end of the level, just before the pipe leading to the exit, you’ll see some rising platforms.  Use these to take you to the blocks above the pipe, and run across them to the area beyond.  Once you arrive here you will see each pipe labelled with the corresponding world that you will be warped to.

Warp To Worlds 6 / 7 / 8

The second of these Warp Zones can be found later in the game within World 4-2.  Within this level head to the area where you will see lots of ? boxes.  Jump the gap with the elevator and you will see three blocks above you in an area you can’t reach.  Jump just below the third of the blocks and you will reveal a small block.  Head up onto this block and smash the second and third blocks in the area above.  After this drop back down and jump above where the second block was revealing another small block.  Now you can head up onto this block and smash the first block of the three in the area above.  this will reveal a beanstalk that Mario an climb.  Climbing this beanstalk will take you back out of the underground and to the second Warp Zone leading to Worlds 6, 7 and 8.

Mario Warp 2
Warp Zone 2

Minus World / Warp to World 5 from 1-2

As detailed in an earlier post dedicated entirely to the Minus World, you can not only head to the glitched world that was never meant to be from 1-2, but also jump straight to 5-1.  Be careful though as picking the Minus World will see you trapped there until Game Over, and by skipping straight to 5-1, you will miss the opportunity to use the second Warp Zone.

World Select

This one is somewhat misleading, but yes the game does include a level select, so to speak.  The only problem is that you’ll have to beat the game before you can utilise it.  Upon beating the game and returning to the main menu screen, if you press the B button you will be able to select the World you want to start from.

Infinite Lives

I suppose the title is a little misleading as it’s not quite unlimited lives, but rather get 99 lives.  Many thought this was a happy unplanned glitch that they had found.  However, as detailed in my article about the Minus World, Miyamoto and the team not only planned this trick, but even went to the extent of putting it through QA testing.  Nevertheless, don’t think this makes it easy to pull off, as you’ll have to be very precise.

To pull this off, head to the final staircase in World 3-1.  Here you will see two Koopa Troopers heading down the stairs.  Eliminate the first one and get rid of the shell, then jump on top of the second one when it is on the block just ahead of you.  If done correctly Mario will keep repeatedly jumping on the shell bouncing it back and forth between the wall and Mario.

The key to this is getting the timing and jumping placement spot on, and don’t worry if you mess it up as it will take some practice.  By doing this you will continuously gain points which eventually will turn into 1-ups.  Be careful not to exceed 99 lives though, as doing this will cause you to return to 0 lives and get Game Over the next time you die.  Also, in a cool touch that used the last of the space left on the cartridge, when you gain more than ten lives you’ll notice that the counter will turn into a crown.

Mario Infinite
Infinite Lives Trick

Extra Lives

There is a simpler way to gain extra lives though, and again it involves Koopa Troopas.  If you jump on a a Koopa Troopa and follow it afterwards.  If it happens to hit eight others then you’ll be granted a 1-up.

Fireworks Finale

Miyamoto also programmed the game display a fireworks show under certain circumstances when Mario grabs the end of level flagpole.  These certain circumstances involve the game’s timer.  If the last digit on the timer includes either a 1, 3, or a 6, then that amount of fireworks will be displayed in the sky.

Avoid The Underwater Bloopers

This one is simple.  Just stick to the seabed and the Bloopers will never be able to hurt you.  This occurs because they also head back up just before they would hit you or the floor.

One More Jump

You can jump one more time by pressing holding down the A button as Mario is changing into Super Mario or Fireball Mario.

Fire Power With Small Mario

For this one to work, first you’ll need to be big or have fire power, and secondly you’ll need to be on the last level within a world.  Once you have a power-up and are at the fight with Koopa, head to the hammer at the end of the level and try to hit both the hammer and Koopa at the same time.  If done correctly you will begin flashing and stay big.  Then in the next World, when you grab a mushroom it will turn you small.  The following flower will then grant you fire power as normal, but you will remain small.  Be careful though as despite the fire power, one hit and Mario will die.

Small Fire Mario
Small Fire Mario

Sliding Firepower

First grab a flower and become Fire Mario.  Once you have Fire Power if whenever you exit a pipe or start a level you press A & B together then Mario will immediately jump.  Following this, if you continue to hold down the B button then Mario should slide on one foot for a small amount of time.

Moonwalk Through Walls

Mario can even slide backwards, taking some moves from the King of Pop.  You can pull this off in any level with a celining

To pull this off head to World 4-2.  At the start of this level there is an area where Mario can grab a mushroom in an area where only small Mario can fit.  When the mushroom its you in this area Mario will become too big for the corridor and will try to be pushed out.  If you try walking against the force pushing you out Mario will start to Moonwalk.  In fact there are a variety of ways to get Mario to moonwalk.  One of which will even see Mario Moonwalk through the walls, skipping parts of the levels in turn!

Just remember this is just a selection of the hidden secrets and glitches that are hidden within Super Mario Bros.  This is especially true when it comes to glitches, where not only have a wealth of glitches already been discovered, but more are still being found to this day.  I’ll be keeping this regularly updated with hidden glitches and cheats found within Super Mario Bros., and maybe one day we’ll have a complete list of everything hidden within the iconic title.

Sophia Aubrey Drake

A lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that she's written a thesis on one and lived in the other. Currently on a quest to catch every last Pokémon. Follow me on twitter via @DivaXChill or @RingsandCoins.

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