Geek Confessions: I Could Never Beat Super Mario Bros 3

Super Mario Bros 3 box art

This is probably going to make me lose some major geek cred, but then again, this wouldn’t be confessional if it all made me look bad. Maybe it actually makes me lose nerd points instead of geek cred. Game score? No wait, that’s Xbox Live only. In any case, being a player of old games, especally one that went on an retro gaming binge to complete a whole bunch of basic games on the NES, it would likely sound out of character for me to say that I never beat Super Mario Bros 3.

That’s right. I never beat Super Mario Bros 3. One of the Italian plumbers most popular adventure out of all of them.  And it’s not because I dislike the game. It’s also not because I never owned the game either. I both owned and loved Super Mario Bros 3.

Starting with the first Super Mario Bros, I have played through every single one until Super Mario Sunshine. In Sunshine‘s case it’s because the game itself doesn’t appeal to me at all. The FLUDD took away from the platforming strength that makes the Mario series what it is. The original Super Mario Bros? I’ve done no-mushroom, no death runs on that. Several times. Super Mario Bros 2? Played through that so many times that when the game was rereleased on the GBA, I sent in some tips and secrets to a gaming magazine here in the Netherlands, The Power Unlimited. I got an entire page dedicated to the game with that. Unfortunately they didn’t attribute it to me. Super Mario World? I’ve gone through the game so many times using so many different paths, it’s crazy. Super Mario 64? You don’t want to know how crazy I went over that game. I even obsessed about coin scores in certain levels at one point.

This doesn’t limit itself to the major console titles either. I loved the first Mario Land on the Gameboy, even if it wasn’t even half as good as the second game: 6 Golden Coins.

Then there’s the spin-offs. I had full completion in most Mario Karts, the first two Mario Parties, loved the Mario vs Donkey Kong game on the original Gameboy, Smash Bros… I even completed Mario’s Time Machine and Mario is Missing on the SNES.

What’s wrong with Super Mario Bros 3 then?

Absolutely nothing. Nothing at all. In fact, I think it’s one of the best Mario titles out there. From the level design to the thematic gaming worlds, everything about the game is pretty much brilliant in terms of design. Some of you might remember that video of the crazy Japanese guy who ran through the game in 11 minutes. That’s ridiculous. It’s not even funny. No seriously, it isn’t, the guy used an emulator to slow the game down so he could play through the game like that.

I learned how to run through the first world like that without any cheats, slowdown, savestates or anything. I still need an emulator and a rom to do it though, because the PAL version of the game made it impossible because of the way the conversation changed the game. The POW meter doesn’t charge fast enough to make the jump up towards the clouds early on in the first level, along with several other minor problems later on. Being in Europe, the only way for me to play it that way is by emulating NTSC versions. Or getting my hand on an NTSC version, but they’re not as readily available here.

Yes, I can run through the first world and get to the last one in just a few minutes. No, I have not beaten the game yet.


I could blame it on the frog suit, but not this time.

Well, first of all, I like being in control of how fast I move through a game. I had it when I have no control over this. If you’ve played Super Mario Bros 3, you’ll probably see what I’m getting at.

A large part of World 8 in Super Mario Bros 3 the screen slowly pans to the right. That’s the speed at which you have to go through the level. You can’t move on ahead, you have to wait for the screen to move far enough to move on. This also means you can’t time your jumps the way you have to. You often have to rush it, or wait it out, depending on the level and the position of the screen at the moment. It bothers me. Bothers me to the point I make stupid mistakes. And because I make these mistakes, I never get to the end. No matter how many times I try.

But wait! You already admitted to using an emulator to play! Couldn’t you just use savestates or slowdowns? Well, yes. I suppose I could. But that wouldn’t count for me. If I beat a game on an emulator that way, I can’t count it. I’d have to beat the game again, in a more legitimate fashion.

I keep coming back to the game every now and again, but I’ve never managed to reach Bowser. Never got to the end. Sometimes I doubt I’ll get there. But as long as I’m breathing, I’ll keep trying.


3 thoughts on “Geek Confessions: I Could Never Beat Super Mario Bros 3

  1. Pingback: I Finally Beat Super Mario Bros 3 « Remy van Ruiten

  2. Pingback: AGDQ 2015 | Remy van Ruiten

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