Pro tip: shell dodging Super Mario Bros. 3

In Super Mario Bros. 3, you come across tons of shelled enemies, which you can pick up and carry around. Throw them at question blocks, and they reveal their contents for you.

But, if you take your favorite shell up to a block, and get real close to it (without touching it)

And then let go of your shell, it'll hit the block, and then bounce back toward you

but it'll sail right through you without causing any damage!

And you might be saying "So what? I could just throw the shell at the block from further away and achieve basically the same thing." And you'd be right, you could do that. But this way, you don't have to dodge anything when it ricochets off your target.

Pro tip: Infinite 1ups in Super Mario Bros. 3, the Tail Method

A while back I told you about a trick to racking up a lot of lives in Super Mario Bros. 3. But, you kind of have to wait until you're almost halfway through the game to do it. Isn't there a way to stock up on lives beforehand?

You betcha!

Make your way to 1-2, the second stage in the game. Make sure you have the Raccoon Tail and make your way to the pipe that generates an endless supply of Goombas.

Let a few build up around you and then start jumping on them.

It's kind of tricky, but what you want to do is to hold down the A button when you land on them to bounce toward the top of the screen, then rapidly press the A Button to slow your descent. Repeat this over and over (without touching the ground) to eventually be rewarded with


Yeah, it's a little bit more work and a little bit slower, but you can do it so much earlier in the game that it's worth giving yourself a little bit of a buffer until you can make it to World 3.

Oh, and this also works any time you can get 3 Dry Bones together in a place with high ceilings.

Pro tip: Getting Star Cards in Super Mario Bros. 3 any time you want them

In Super Mario Bros 3, getting maxed out on 1UPs on that one stage is pretty great, but what about the rest of the game?

Well, every time you finish a stage, you get a Card, which sits down at the bottom-right of the screen.

Collect three cards and you get a 1UP. Collect three matching cards, though, and you get more. Three mushrooms nets 2UP, Fire Flowers nets 3UP, and Starmen get you the pretty awesome 5UP.

So, if you know how to manipulate the cards, you can slowly build up a pretty good stockpile of extra lives.

You start by running into the dark area at the end of the stage at full speed (or pretty close to). Then jump up and hit the goal at 45 degree angle.

Done right you'll get a Star. Every time! Which will lead to

5 extra lives, every three stages or so.

Not a bad ROI, I'd say.

Pro tip: infinite 1ups in Super Mario Bros. 3, the shell method

If you're inexperienced at it, Super Mario Bros. 3 is a tough game, made worse by the fact that after you lose your meager 5 lives all the progress you made in each World is negated, and you have to do it over again.

So, like a lot of games, it's very helpful to throw more lives at the problem.

My favorite spot to do that is in World 3-9.

First, stomp on the Koopa Paratroopa and grab its shell.

Then run over to the right, being very careful not to hit the Goomba or the Bob-Omb that's hiding over there. Make your way to the Bullet Bill cannon and kick the shell over to the other side of it.

Then quickly make your way to the platform above.

And wait.

Bullet Bills will continuously be fired from both of the cannons, and the ricocheting shell will take out each one.

Until eventually

1UPs! And you can stand there in safety until the time runs out, which will cost you one life, but you've got plenty to burn at this point.

And, if you're playing a two-player game, it's good form to allow the second player the chance to do this trick also, so that you both have a ton of lives to play around with.

Pro tip: skipping close to the end of Super Mario Bros. 3.

The Warp Zone in Super Mario Bros. 3 is a little different from the one in the first game, it's its own separate World, World 9.

What determines which row of pipes you have access to is what World you were in when you used your Whistle. Anything that's 7 or higher will take you to the bottom row, which leads to World 8. And since we're in World 9, we can use the whistle while in the Warp Zone to...

Go straight to the shortcut to World 8!

Which means that you can do this from pretty much anywhere you want, so long as you've collected at least two of the three Warp Whistles.

Just be aware that World 8 is pretty tough, and if you haven't spent time in the earlier Worlds preparing (i.e. gathering supplies) you're going to have a pretty hard time of it.

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