Pro tip: Controlling which direction the mushroom goes in Super Mario Bros. 3

In Super Mario Bros. 3 the power ups that come out of the ? blocks will most of the time go to the right.

But occasionally they'll go off to the left

And if you're not prepared for it, you might lose them. But, why do they occasionally go left in the first place?

Take a look at the ? blocks

Where you hit the block determines which direction the powerup will go. Hit the left side and it goes to the right. Hit the right side and it goes left.

You can use this to force the powerups to go where you want them, instead of possibly off into a pit.

This also applies to any of the 1up mushrooms and starmen.

Pro tip: Super Mario Bros. 3's coin ships

Play Super Mario Bros. 3 enough and you'll eventually come across ships loaded with coins. They take the place of Hammer Bros. on some of the overworld maps. But where do they come from? What triggers them? Good news for you, it's not random.

Let's take a look at the typical end of stage area.

Looks pretty normal, right? But there are five things to take note of here

  • Item 1: You have to be at the end of the stage, and get a card. The card you get doesn't matter
  • Item 2: You have to be in World 1, 3, 5, or 6. You can't do this in World 7 because there aren't any Hammer Bros. there
  • Item 3: Your tens digit of your score, note this
  • Item 4: Your coin count has to be a multiple of 11, but can't be zeros, and the digits have to match the tens digit of your score
  • Item 5: Your time when you get the card has to be an even number. Okay, that's not strictly true, but without going into details that involve math, just make it even

Once you have all these criteria met, the next time you go to the map screen one of the Hammer Bros. (if there are any left) will turn into a ship loaded with coins.

Hop on in and go to town. It's totally possible to get all the coins on the ship, and the hidden 1-up at the end.

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