Super Mario Bros.

Pro tip: Super Mario Bros. strategy myth

In the original Super Mario Bros., in the X-1 stages (2-1, 3-1, etc.) there are hidden 1UP mushrooms.

Sometimes they're there, and sometimes not. But what's the key? Why are they so fickle? In How to Win at Nintendo games Jeff Rovin thinks he's figured it out. Page 191 says:

[In level 5-1] [w]hen you reach the second floating Block (behind the wall) you'll find a One-Up Mushroom between them ... but only if you haven't been hurt prior to reaching the area.

Now, this is partly right, the mushroom is right there... sometimes. Getting hurt has nothing to do with its appearance, though. There are two ways to make them appear.

In the prior X-3 world (in the case for 5-1, it'd be 4-3) you have to have collected all of the coins.


You have to have warped directly to that world (i.e. warp to world 5, the 1UP will be there).

Works every time.

For their locations, I humbly suggest that you take a look at a prior pro tip.

And that wraps up this week's myths. We'll return to regular ol' pro tips next week.

Pro tip: Mario's Double Jump

In the Super Mario Bros. series, Mario is known for his jumping ability, he can easily jump twice his own body height if he gets a running start.

But, interestingly, he can jump even higher given the right circumstances.

First, find a Super Mushroom. A fire flower would work, but they don't move, so the effect isn't as obvious. Starmen won't work at all.

Then jump so that you're coming down as you collect the power up.

While the powering up animation is playing continue to hold the jump button. Once the animation stops animating, you'll jump again!

I haven't really found very many uses for this tip, other than showing off, but maybe you can.

Pro tip: Lots of 1ups in Super Mario Bros

Today's pro tip is an oldie but a goodie (ha!).

A few days ago I made reference to a fairly well known trick that you just can't do in the arcade: how to get all the 1ups you want in the original Super Mario Bros. But, the game came out in 1985, which means that if you're younger than 23, this game came out before you were born. Add to that the Wii's Virtual Console service which lets you download and play these relics (*cough*), we've got a lot of new gamers who probably haven't wasted their childhoods spent lots of quality time practicing this game and might not know about it.

Okay, first make your way to 3-1. Specifically, the end where you see some koopas coming down the staircase. You'll need to make sure that you're either Super or Fiery.

Get rid of the first koopa, he just gets in the way.

Then try to time it so that you hit the second one so that it's just about halfway down the step above you.

Done right, and you'll know when you've done it right, you'll just keep bouncing off the shell, and eventually start racking up 1ups.

You can keep on going on for as long as you want this way, and your lives remaining display will get a little wonky.

A word of caution, though. If you manage to get over 127 lives and then lose one, it's game over. It's a glitch, so there's really not much you can do about that.

Pro tip: Looks identical, but isn't

In the NES version of Super Mario Bros. you can take advantage of a quirk and bounce off the back of a turtle to get lots of extra lives.

So, in an effort to to get the most out of your quarter, and possibly impress the other arcade-goers with your prowess, you work your way to the end of world 3-1 only to discover:

Your Koopas have been replaced with Goombas. And what that means is that you can't do your super-snazzy trick any more... which means that I hope that you brought lots of quarters.

Pro tip: How to kill a Goomba more than once

The Goombas in the original Super Mario Bros. games have kind of a rough existence. All they can do is walk slowly toward Mario in a not very menacing way. Even rougher is that there's a glitch (or maybe it's a feature?) that lets you kill them twice. This is actually kind of tough to pull off.

First, find a place where there's a koopa in a shell, something for it to ricochet off of, and some Goombas. Like in World 3-2, for example.

What you have to do is kick the shell away from you, then quickly start stomping Goombas.

On its way back stomp some Goombas, and if the shell collides with one of the flattened Goombas, it'll get killed again. Brutal!

To explain it a little better, I've created a short animated .gif here to show it in action.

Man, sucks to be those guys.

Pro tip: Super Mario Bros. All the Powerups

Since we're talking about the original Super Mario Bros. lately, I've prepared a short video showing you where all the powerups are. Make sure you take real good notes because I kind of left out pesky things like 'context'.

Yeah, I know the sound gets out of wonk in a couple of places, but I'm too lazy to change it back, so you'll just have to consider those parts to be 'easter eggs'.

Pro tip: Super Mario Bros. - Hold A and press Start to continue

It might not seem like it now since so many of us have played it to death, but the original Super Mario Bros. is a tough game until you have the whole thing memorized, so if you're new to the game you're going to see this a lot:

But all is not lost! Once the title screen pops back up, hold down the A Button and press Start to start back up at the beginning of the world where you bought the farm.

Of course, as you get better, you probably won't need this any more. At least, that's the goal.

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