The original Super Mario Bros. turns 35 this year, but despite its age, the sheer number of people who have played it over the years, and the legendary status it has earned over time, one quirky little secret still blows the minds of its fans to this day.
As was the norm back then, losing all of your lives in Mario's classic NES outing throws you right back to the very start of the game. The concept probably sounds silly to any youngsters growing up with New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe and the like, where regular save points are a way of life, but that's just how things were back then.
There was a workaround, though. One that we'd be willing to bet wasn't known by the majority of its players. When you inevitably hit Super Mario Bros.' game over screen, holding down 'A' while pressing 'Start' allows you to continue in the world you died in rather than starting back at World 1-1. It's such a simple trick - and no doubt obvious to those who have known about it for years - but this only adds to the astoundment experienced by anyone reading this for the very first time.
Indeed, the topic was brought to our attention by a conversation on Twitter started by @Clammylizard. The replies reveal that a handful of people knew already, while a good chunk of them were blown away by the revelation. A quick Google search on the matter brings up similar Reddit posts, forum entries and more where an initial post reveals the secret to countless replies full of awe and amazement.
So, we hand it over to you. Did you know about Super Mario Bros.' continue trick? Or is this the first time you've heard of such a thing? Let us know in the comments below.
I will confess, I did not actually know this... Would of been useful to know; would of made SMB1 a lot easier.
That's probably one of the most commonly known cheat codes from when people were playing it on real NES systems back in the 80s.
Fun fact, there are some bad dumps of the Super Mario Bros. NES ROM that in some emulators, might start you on an unbeatable World 0-1. It's a bugged underwater fortress level.
Why mention this? Simply because the A + START cheat code will actually get past this issue and start you on World 1-1 even without having played any previous games during that power-on session.
I also never knew this... all those wasted years...
Omg.. That would make my life so much easier back then... I feel violated...
Did you know if you talk to the "Error" man in Zelda 2, while holding A, Start, Up, and X he will give you the Triforce.
Cool. I did not know this, wonder if this works in lost levels or 2? I never beat them.
Did you know if you beat the runner in Ocarina of Time by 5 seconds, he will give you Majoras Mask
Does this exist in The Lost Levels too?!?!?! I might try to complete that game if it does!
What's a Game Over? 😉
Did you know if you beat Smash Ultimates Adventure Mode using only the jump buttons you can unlock Geno as a secret character
OK I'm going to boot up the game now just to try this out. Mind blown.
Had no idea about this and now I want to try it.
hehe all the people just finding out
Never knew this, but still completed it ages ago.
I never knew this and I had the game on the original NES back in the day.
I thought it was holding B, not A? But it has been a long long time since I played SMB so my memory might be letting me down.
I'm hardly a youngster but I don't miss that style of game design in the slightest. I absolutely HATE having to replay stuff I've already beaten, just to get a chance to try the thing I haven't beaten again.
I suppose that style of game design was needed back when games were only a few hours long - you needed the difficulty and repetitiveness in order to make the player feel like he got more for the money. But it's obsolete game design these days - unless you're deliberately trying to replicate that experience.
I never knew that 😩
Known about this since over 20 years... I thought this was common knowledge?
@Heavyarms55 Back then, starting over from zero was an extension of the arcade mind set. Game developers still hadn't quite come to grips with the idea that they were designing for a different audience and experience.
Yes, I knew this. It was a real life-saver!
I think the infinite 1-UP trick at the end of 3-1 is much more handy since starting 8-1 with only the normal amount of lives using a "Continue" can be quite frustrating - but definitely turns you into a battle-hardened gaming veteran!
I knew about that. I'm actually surprised that a lot of people didn't know, I thought everybody knew about that
@RupeeClock Handy for a bootleg GBA cart I've got! Thanks!
@Friendly nope! You get a continue screen thrust into your face.
I had this game on NES and never knew!
I didn't know about it back in the Nes era but i have since learned about it over the last several years. Think i first heard about it during the Wii's lifetime as i would frequently check gamefaqs for cheat codes from the various VC releases. Ah VC how i miss thee! Lousy switch online not letting you own the games from those pathetic netflix wannabe apps!
Surely every kid with a NES knew about this in the 80s? It was well published in magazines of the day: C&VG, Nintendo Power, etc.
I knew about the minus world and the 1 ups on the stairs trick but not this. Heck with the stairs trick you didn't need a continue code!
I didn't know this. But I surely was one of the first, who discovered the "Small-Firemario-Glitch". 🧐
wtf I never knew this and I originally played it on the NES.
I actually did know about this, my older brother used this on the NES all the time, I didnt see the point. Then again at the time if I got past world 1:3 then I was chuffed. As a 5yr old that level was tough.
@Burning_Spear Oh trust me, you don't have to explain that to me, I am well aware.
@patbacknitro18 in the distance whaaat?
Wow. I can't believe people didn't know this.
Wow. I'm more surprised that this was something that wasn't spread like crazy before.
Wow.. people didnt know this trick.. now my mind is blown
When this game first released, this was like "common knowledge". Everybody knew this. My, how times have changed.
@Jack_Goetz My thoughts exactly! I was about to go digging for that article, so thanks for saving me the clicks. Though clearly there's enough people discovering it for the first time, that it's worth the retread.
Everyone knew about this one back in the day
I think this continue code story literally shows up every five years online! Seriously, just did a quick search and Polygon was talking about it in 2015!
My friends I knew the code back in the day, I'm guessing because of Nintendo Power. I thought it was in the instruction manual, but just looked it up and it's not in there.
I did not know this. Will __definitely__ use this when I inevitably boot up the game again.
Having never played the original on NES hardware, this surprises me, but luckily doesn't anger me at having spent unreasonable amounts of time on starting over. ^^
Any true Nintendo kid who ate his Super Mario cereal knew this trick.
Nope. Just found out about this for the first time in 2020!
Can you believe that I found out about it only yesterday, which was the first time I beat Super Mario Bros.? I didn't have the time to start every time from the beginning, not even to warp back to world 8, so I searched why this game didn't have a continue feature and it turned out that it actually had one.
And just the day after this, Nintendo Life releases an article about that trick.
Yes. I learned about it right AFTER I first finished the game. It was around the time it was first released on the Wii Virtual Console, I haven't had any desire to revisit the game since, it's a classic sure but it holds no special meaning to me.
@patbacknitro18 If you mean Zelda 2 the Adventures of Link, wasn't that in the NES? There is no 'x' button. :/
its the game that keeps on giving! itll be cool if they remake this and the lost levels like they did with links awakening!
@mjharper Super Mario/Legend of Zelda Cereal System EMPTY BOXES are going for $300 on ebay.
I used to have a collection of the cards you'd get in the box. Wish I still did!
I honestly didn't know about that trick, though I haven't played the game seriously in a long time! I sprinkle a run in every once in a while!
I knew that trick from a kid on the playground... his uncle worked for Nintendo.
@Jack_Goetz You win! I thought I'd seen this somewhere before a few years ago... didn't realize it was this exact site. Thanks for posting the link.
Nothing burger news article!
.....so does this work for the nes game thats on the switch!?
Looks at NES pad
You're a lying liar.
i was not a fan of The original Super Mario Bros. back in the day, but when i started playing the game through the Wii U virtual console system, i found the continue trick very easily, but only because i i was looking for glitches in the game to begin with.
i also found other glitches as well, like the unbeatable World 0-1. and just like many others, i found a way to get out of the level; all that needs to be done is reset the game. and for all i know there is a way to beat the unbeatable World 0-1.
I did know this, but forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder
Agreed. Having been 12 when NES was released in the US and having witnessed Mario-Mania take over the world (or so it felt to my pre-teen self), I would have been more surprised if gamers (back then) DIDN'T know this "trick".
Sure we didn't have internet and the Nintendo Fun Club Newsletter (which came before Nintendo Power) wasn't too common, gamers (even Moms and Dads) knew some basic Mario back in the day (warp zones, that 1st hidden 1-up mushroom in world 1-1, etc.).
I was this year's old when I found out.
@BigLarry nope I knew about warp pipes and the warp whistles in SMB 3 but never this one.
My uncle works as a personal assistant to Mr. Nintendo himself, and he says if you do this code during a blood moon that you can unlock Bowser and everything is backwards. It's totally true! My girlfriend in Canada confirmed it!
Wow I can't believe everyone didn't know this. Everyone in my town knew that trick!
I knew this way back when a dozen kids would gather in the house of that one guy who had a NES, and we would queue up hoping to get a chance to play (most of the time we didn't). It was also one of those things that we all just knew but couldn't tell who found out first or how.
Huh... I've known about this trick for years. I assumed it was common knowledge.
I was 6 or 7 years old when I played that on the original NES, and I wish I knew about that. But all people with gaming console that I knew had a sega and I guess I must have missed the right magazine where this trick was printed
Nooooooooo! All those years, lost, for nothing!
Who doesn't know this trick? It's as commonly known as the Konami Code. Two things gamers know the Konami Code and the continue trick in SMB. If you don't know those two things you ain't a gamer.
@Tasuki maybe a gamer from the 90s. What about holding start on player 2 Gamepad while playing mega man... can’t die from jumping into pits, and gives you a high jump. Might have been holding select.
I feel like I totally knew this from the start, was it in the manual even? Either way, no way my brothers and I could have made it through World 8 most of the times we tried without continuing from that world rather than starting fully over.
I've done it as well! Very few folks seem to know about it (even back when SMB was current).
If it wasn't printed in magazines or cheat booklets somewhere, it was a hot-tip you'd get from calling their hotline. Before the world wide web, telephone hotlines were a common thing.
@Donutman Are you talking about the original Mega Man or Mega Man 3? Cause in Mega Man 3 you hold right on a second controller and it gives you a super jump enough to get out of pits.
I remember discovering it on accident when playing the GBA port.
Everyone knew about this code back in the day, to share the sentiment of frustration coming out of Gen X’ers with this article.......
Join the Nintendo Fun Club, Mac!
@Tasuki I didn’t know this, guess I’m not a gamer then. Might as well shut down the websites
Are you freakin' kidding me?!
we all knew this since the 80s!
What's wrong with you people?!
I don't have the manual but Id like o know if this was in it. It seems like it was.
I just know I knew about it.
Never knew about it, but could beat the game in 12 minutes when I was 7 years old, so not really necessary.
@Priceless_Spork Okay, I looked through the PDF of the manual that Nintendo scanned/uploaded for the NES Classics and it makes no mention of this, though I do remember doing it as a kid, so word spread then too anyway.
Yeah cool, and without the internet that was just something you found out and told your frieinds and at school.
Everybody who played this game in the late 80's new this, afaik.
@Heavyarms55 I agree, and it's one of the reasons that I hate the Rogue-like sub-genre. (Half-baked auto-generated level design and usually an excessive difficulty level with no easier difficulty options are the other main reasons.)
Although, wasn't it mostly just because it was too expensive back then for most games to include a save data chip? Therefore, back in the 16-bit era and earlier, it was mostly only RPGs, some sprawling action-adventure games, and some sports games that let you save your progress on console (although some others would fake it with very awkward password systems).
Although, ironically the downside to that is that those very games (the original cartridges) have been losing much of their value when their save batteries end up dying a couple decades later or so. Hmm, I wonder, are there any games from that time that relied on save batteries that have not yet seen some kind of digital re-release, remaster, or remake?
I remembered back from the 80s. Other nes games have simple controller ands to reset or continue.
@RazumikhinPG I know. I need to play this game again!
I thought you had to do this on the 2nd player controller? I knew about it but guess I've distorted my memory of how to trigger it. Didn't know it as a kid, frustratingly. Had just, like so many mentioned above, came across it years ago online somewhere. But could've sworn it involved button presses on 2nd controller.
@RupeeClock Well, that says something about what I knew back in the day. I don't think I ever had the idea (nor my friends) to call the hotline to get tips on the video games I played. But I always got stuck because thoses games where too hard, not because I didn't knew what to do ^^.
Sounds like a debug command left in. It probably was mentioned in Nintendo Power, but we never had it here (or Mario until the 90s).
@BulbasaurusRex I mean, it wasn't too expensive, because many games did have that feature. But it was more expensive sure.
But I do think the main reasons were the short length of games back then, and the arcade mindset. In order to make the consumer feel he/she got their money worth, they had to make the games seem longer and forcing you to restart over and over as well as high difficulty were the most common ways to do it.
@Heavyarms55 Not that many games had it. Aside from the three genres I already mentioned, the only game I can think of offhand within the first 4 console generations that had save data was "Sonic the Hedgehog 3," and many adventure games and sports games didn't even have it and relied on a password system instead.
Anyway, you would make a good point about making the games seem longer were it not for the contrasting practice on PC games at the time. It was much simpler and cheaper to include save data on PC games in the early 90's than with console games, so most PC games at the time did include saving irregardless of length or genre. Even some PC ports of games that were originally released on consoles without save data had the feature added to the PC version!
@patbacknitro18 X... that's that cross shaped button on the left of the NES controller, yeah?
Heh, I did know about the SMB1 continue trick. I read about it in a book years-and-years ago!
@carlos82 a Game Over is a miserable pile of secrets. Have at you!
I knew about this for awhile and other tricks because of my brother who was the one who found out about it and told me.
Wow. Had no idea that was a thing.
SON OF A..... (did not know)
Its the first game i ever played in the late 80s! And nope i never knew that. Would come in handy to be honest!now every one do the mario bop.... Do the mario bop! Come on i said do it now! 😎🐒
@patbacknitro18 nice try. You cannot beat the running man in Ocarina of time and there is no X on a NES pad.
@Tasuki maybe, it’s been a few decades and several mega man games, forgive me.
That's new to me. I didn't know.
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