Game Trailers show Pop Fiction recently produced a really great episode about the secrets of Super Mario Brothers. In this episode they find out if there are more secret levels in Super Mario Brothers than just the minus worlds. It's a very technical episode and goes over mechanisms on how people found these levels and how you can go about playing them now.

If you love Nintendo lore and knowing as much as you can about Super Mario Brothers you need to watch the video linked below, your inner nerd will thank you.

Travis   Admin wrote on 03/14/2014 at 01:57pm

No freakin way. I wouldn't really call -1 a secret world, it's more a bug than a secret, but I'm still all over this.

Also, *Travis pushes his glasses up on his nose* he got through the wall in world 1-2 the hard way. Ducking makes it harder to pull off.

I'm going to have to check this out when I can watch it with audio, but even without I'm already intrigued. I can't wait to test these out over the weekend!

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 03/14/2014 at 02:18pm

Well, finding these levels isn't really something you can do with the standard game as it involves using Tennis and a Nintendo without the lockout chip. The minus worlds were a bug as are these too BUT I appreciate how they were found and that people are still hacking on these old games.

Travis   Admin wrote on 03/14/2014 at 04:26pm

Ah damn. I have Tennis, but (again without sound) I didn't realize you needed an NES without the lockout chip.

Travis   Admin wrote on 03/15/2014 at 02:32pm

OK having watched it finally, with audio, I want a toploader even more. Or perhaps I'll attempt to take the lockout chip out of my spare NES.

But back to my point about what the video calls a secret, there's a lot of disingenuous language in that video. It probably isn't intentional but it gives the wrong idea. The words "secret," "lost," and "hidden" keep being used but they're neither. The video makes it sound like Miyamoto put 255 worlds in there and just never turned them on or something, rather than what actually happened-- there are 8 worlds and bumping the world number past that makes the game bug out in a unique way. 255 is just the maximum value of the byte. If that's a secret, then modifying Firefox's memory as it's running to call it Mozzarella Firebox is also a Firefox secret. This is really not as big a deal as I'm making it but there you go. :)

Don't get me wrong though, I still dig the video. I love the explanation of how using Tennis (probably other games as well) fakes the system into bumping the world number past 8. I had noticed some games save some data through a reset and always wondered how. Now I know!

And this plays on the same kind of thing as the Game Genie. With the right codes, you could access these as well, just by using the same codes you would use to start at world 8, only bumped past the actual max. In fact some of these seem to do just that:

I used to attempt to write my own game genie codes. Most of them did nothing noticeable, locked up the game, or made things worse, but some were incredibly useful. I had the book of course but I had pages of codes that I wrote myself. I guess I was learning about editing memory and hex long before I realized what those even were! There was one that started me in an almost unplayable world, with the -1 designation like these. I really wish I knew where those codes were now to see if that's what I actually did.

I love that in Mario 2 (the lost levels in the US) there's a world 9 that pulls from some of the effects that showed up in these bugged-out levels. I'd actually like to see a 2d Mario game where the dimensional structure is breaking down or some other crazy plot reason and you can play through overworld levels that have been flooded, etc. With NES Remix on the Wii U, that's actually something I could see crop up, in 20 second segments anyway.

It's kinda sad that this kind of thing is mostly lost now. With these massively designed levels in most games, just changing a single value in memory really can't bug out a level to the point of creating that kind of experience.

So that was kinda long. In conclusion: Awesome, I wanna do it!

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 03/16/2014 at 10:23pm

"The words "secret," "lost," and "hidden" keep being used but they're neither. The video makes it sound like Miyamoto put 255 worlds in there and just never turned them on or something..."

Yep, your right. These are not extra levels just a bugged out way to play the game.

I'd love to try this too but i'd need to get the top loader NES too. Maybe they omitted the lockout chip because at the top loader came out the NES was at the end of life.

Travis   Admin wrote on 03/17/2014 at 02:03am

I was thinking about that the other day. Since Tengen and so many others had figured out a way to overload the lockout chip, maybe they just gave up. Since the lockout chip was no longer doing what it was intended to do, it would probably save a little money to just omit it altogether.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 03/17/2014 at 05:08pm

I bet it saved a bit of money for sure. Plus, like you say, if it's easy to get around what's the point? I guess maybe keeping licensees paying?

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