Super Mario Bros. 3 (JP) (often known as Mario 3, SMB3, or Super Mario 3) is the third game in the Mario series. The game was released in 1988, and was developed and published by Nintendo.

It was released in Japan on October 23, 1988; in North America on February 12, 1990; and in Europe and Australia on August 29, 1991. It was later released in the US on the Wii's Virtual Console on November 5, 2007 and the 3DS and Wii U Virtual Console on April 17, 2014. It was also remade for the 1993 SNES compilation game Super Mario All-Stars, and for the Game Boy Advance in 2003 as Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, the final installment of the Super Mario Advance series. It was also released as a reward that Club Nintendo users could purchase with their coins for the Wii Virtual Console on June 3, 2013.

Super Mario Bros. 3 has been considered as one of the greatest games of all time. Its complexity and challenging levels made it a huge success. In addition to new power-ups, it features new moves, items and enemies. It also features special non-level parts of each world, including Toad Houses, where items can be obtained, and Spade Panels, where lives can be obtained, as well as some secret parts, such as the White Mushroom House and the Treasure Ship. The game introduces six new power-ups: the Super Leaf, the Tanooki Suit, the Magic Wing, the Frog Suit, the Hammer Suit, and Goomba's Shoe.

Shortly after the release of the game, a cartoon named The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 was made. The cartoon was based on the game, but with a different plot. In the cartoons, King Koopa and the Koopalings tried to take over the real world as well as the Mushroom Kingdom. The cartoon series was produced by DIC Entertainment Productions in association with Nintendo. The game itself was also given a big-screen preview in a scene from the 1989 movie, The Wizard.

It is one of the most popular games on the Wii Virtual Console, available for 500 Wii Points via a Nintendo Points Card or on the eShop for $5.00.


SMB3 Key art

Artwork used as the cover art for the game's Japanese release.

Mario and Luigi are out and about in the Mushroom Kingdom. Traveling in the worlds, Mario and Luigi are asked for help by a Toad who serves the king. The servant pleas for Mario and Luigi help as the king as the land's magic wand had been stolen and the king transformed into an animal. Agreeing to help, our heroes stumble upon an airship.

Climbing upon the anchor of the flying vessel, they fight to the cabin of the ship and discover the thief who stole the magic wand: one of Bowser's eight children, a Koopaling, Larry Koopa. They defeat the Koopaling and return the magic wand to the king, transforming him back to his normal state.

But the adventure is far from over. Mario and Luigi must traverse across seven kingdoms of the Mushroom World in order to defeat the Koopas and restore order to the lands. While they were out adventuring, Bowser takes advantage of the time to kidnap Princess Peach and take her to his castle in Dark Land.




The two playable characters, Mario and Luigi, are almost identical other than the change in color palette.

  • Mario - The main hero of the game.
  • Luigi - Mario's slightly younger, but taller, brother. This isn't visible in-game.


Spoiler warning: The following information contains spoilers. Please read at your own risk.

  • Princess Toadstool - The princess who gets kidnapped by the evil King Koopa after completing Pipe Land.
  • Bowser - The Koopa King who kidnaps Peach and tries to defeat Mario and/or Luigi. At the end of the game, Mario or Luigi defeats the Koopa army and send King Koopa through an endless pit. Then, either brother goes in and saves Princess Peach.
  • Toad - The mushroom-like beings from the mushroom people, known as Toads, who help Mario and/or Luigi on his quest to save Princess Peach by giving him various items. Some even give a Mushroom, a Fire Flower, a Racoon Leaf, a Frog Suit, Tanooki Suit, and a Hammer Suit.

The Kings[]

The following is a list of the King's transformations that they take on once a Koopaling curses him.

King of Original Version All Stars/SMA4 Reward
World 1: Grass Land Dog Cobrat P-Wing
World 2: Desert Land Spider Hoopster Jugem's cloud
World 3: Water Land Spike Dino Rhino Music Box
World 4: Giant Land Unknown dinosaur Donkey Kong Jr. P-Wing
World 5: Sky Land Pteradactyl-like bird Albatoss Jugem's cloud
World 6: Ice Land Seal Monty Mole P-Wing
World 7: Pipe Land Piranha Plant Yoshi None

Spoiler warning: Spoilers end here.



Image Name
Goomba (Super Mario Bros 3) Goomba
MicroGoomba Microgoomba
Paragoomba1 Paragoomba
Minigoomba Pile Driver Micro-Goomba


Image Name
Koopatroopag Koopa Troopa
Parakoopa Koopa Paratroopa
Rocky Wrench (Super Mario Bros 3) Rocky Wrench
Spike Spike


Image Name
Busterbeetlethrow Buster Beetle
Buzzybeetle Buzzy Beetle
Parabeetle Para-Beetle

Piranha Plants[]

Image Name
Muncher Sprite (Super Mario Bros. 3) Muncher
Nipperplant Nipper Plants
Piranhaplantsprite Piranha Plant (green)
225-2254011 mario-piranha-plant-pixel-art
Piranha Plant (red)
Patooie Ptooie
World 1-1 Venus Fire Trap - Super Mario Bros. 3 Venus Fire Trap (red)
GreenVFT Venus Fire Trap (green)


Image Name
Lakitu (Super Mario Bros 3) Lakitu
Spiny Spiny
Spiny egg Spiny Egg (red and green)

Hammer Bros.[]

Image Name
Boomerangbro Boomerang Bro
Hammerbro1 Hammer Bro
Firebro Fire Bro
Sledgebro Sledge Bro


Image Name
Boodiddley Boo
Drybonessmash Dry Bones
Hotfoot Hot Foot
Smas-smb3 w1-fortress podoboo Podoboo
File:Rotodisc.webp Roto Disc
Stretch Stretch
Thwompp Thwomp


Image Name
CheepCheepRed Cheep Cheep (red)
Cheep-Cheep (Spuer Mario Bros 3) copy Cheep Cheep (green)
Cheep-Cheep (Spuer Mario Bros 3)-1 Cheep Cheep (blue)
Baby Cheep (Super Mario Bros 3) Baby Cheep
Big Bertha (Super Mario Bros 3) Big Bertha
Blooper (Super Mario Bros 3) Blooper
Blooper Nanny (Super Mario Bros 3) Blooper Nanny
Boss Bass (Super Mario Bros 3) Boss Bass
Jelectro (Super Mario Bros 3) Jelectro
Lava Lotus (Super Mario Bros 3) Lava Lotus
Spiny Cheep (Super Mario Bros 3) Spiny Cheep-Cheep


Image Name
Bomb-omb (Super Mario Bros 3) Bomb-omb
Bullet Bill (Super Mario Bros 3) Bullet Bill
Missile Bill (Super Mario Bros 3) Missile Bill
Chain Chomp (Super Mario Bros 3) Chain Chomp
Fire Chomper (Super Mario Bros 3) Fire Chomp


Image Name
BoomBoomNormal Boom Boom
Boom Boom (Super Mario Bros 3) copy Boom Boom (grey)
Bowser (Super Mario Bros 3) Bowser
Iggy Koopa
Morton Koopa (Super Mario Bros 3) Morton Koopa Jr.
Roy Koopa (Super Mario Bros 3) Roy Koopa
Lemmy Koopa (Super Mario Bros 3) Lemmy Koopa
Larry koopa sprite Larry Koopa
Wendy koopa sprite Wendy O. Koopa
Ludwig sprite Ludwig von Koopa


Spoiler warning: The following information contains spoilers. Please read at your own risk.

In the game, there are a total of eight worlds and a single Warp Zone which allows access to certain worlds, depending on the location. The Warp Zone is considered as the ninth world. Some of the world's names were changed with the release of various versions and remakes. Nintendo Power issues 4 and 13 even gave the eight worlds nicknames.


World Japanese Realease North American Release Level Map
World 1
SMB3 World 1 (Grass Land)
Grass Land Grass Land World 1-1 SMB3 World 1-1
World 1-2 SMB3 World 1-2
World 1-3 SMB3 World 1-3
World 1-4 SMB3 World 1-4
World 1-Fortress SMB3 World 1-Fortress
World 1-5 SMB3 World 1-5
World 1-6 SMB3 World 1-6
World 1-Airship SMB3 World 1-Airship
World 2
SMB3 World 2 (Desert Land)
Desert Hill Desert Land World 2-1 SMB3 World 2-1
World 2-2 SMB3 World 2-2
World 2-Fortress SMB3 World 2-Fortress
World 2-3 SMB3 World 2-3
World 2-Quicksand SMB3 World 2-Quicksand
World 2-4 SMB3 World 2-4
World 2-5 SMB3 World 2-5
World 2-Pyramid SMB3 World 2-Pyramid
World 2-Airship SMB3 World 2-Airship
World 3
SMB3 World 3 (Water Land)
Ocean Side Water Land World 3-1 SMB3 World 3-1
World 3-2 SMB3 World 3-2
World 3-3 SMB3 World 3-3
World 3-Fortress #1 SMB3 World 3-Fortress 1
World 3-4 SMB3 World 3-4
World 3-5 SMB3 World 3-5
World 3-6 SMB3 World 3-6
World 3-7 SMB3 World 3-7
World 3-Fortress #2 SMB3 World 3-Fortress 2
World 3-8 SMB3 World 3-8
World 3-9 SMB3 World 3-9
World 3-Airship SMB3 World 3-Airship
World 4
SMB3 World 4 (Giant Land)
Big Island Giant Land World 4-1 SMB3 World 4-1
World 4-2 SMB3 World 4-2
World 4-3 SMB3 World 4-3
World 4-Fortress #1 SMB3 World 4-Fortress 1
World 4-4 SMB3 World 4-4
World 4-5 SMB3 World 4-5
World 4-6 SMB3 World 4-6
World 4-Fortress #2 SMB3 World 4-Fortress 2
World 4-Airship SMB3 World 4-Airship
World 5
SMB3 World 5 (Water Land)
The Sky Sky Land World 5-1 SMB3 World 5-1
World 5-2 SMB3 World 5-2
World 5-3 SMB3 World 5-3
World 5-Fortress #1 SMB3 World 5-Fortress 1
World 5-Tower SMB3 World 5-Tower
World 5-Pipe SMB3 World 5-Pipe
World 5-4 SMB3 World 5-4
World 5-5 SMB3 World 5-5
World 5-6 SMB3 World 5-6
World 5-7 SMB3 World 5-7
World 5-Fortress #2 SMB3 World 5-Fortress 2
World 5-8 SMB3 World 5-8
World 5-9 SMB3 World 5-9
World 5-Airship SMB3 World 5-Airship
World 6
SMB3 World 6 (Ice Land)
Iced Land Ice Land World 6-1 SMB3 World 6-1
World 6-2 SMB3 World 6-2
World 6-3 SMB3 World 6-3
World 6-Fortress #1 SMB3 World 6-Fortress 1
World 6-4 SMB3 World 6-4
World 6-5 SMB3 World 6-5
World 6-6 SMB3 World 6-6
World 6-7 SMB3 World 6-7
World 6-Fortress #2 SMB3 World 6-Fortress 2
World 6-8 SMB3 World 6-8
World 6-9 SMB3 World 6-9
World 6-10 SMB3 World 6-10
World 6-Fortress #3 SMB3 World 6-Fortress 3
World 6-Airship SMB3 World 6-Airship
World 7
SMB3 World 7 (Pipe Land)

Pipe Maze

Pipe Land World 7-1 SMB3 World 7-1
World 7-2 SMB3 World 7-2
World 7-3 SMB3 World 7-3
World 7-4 SMB3 World 7-4
World 7-5 SMB3 World 7-5
World 7-Piranha Plant #1 SMB3 World 7-Piranha Plant 1
World 7-Fortress #1 SMB3 World 7-Fortress 1
World 7-6 SMB3 World 7-6
World 7-7 SMB3 World 7-7
World 7-8 SMB3 World 7-8
World 7-9 SMB3 World 7-9
World 7-Fortress #2 SMB3 World 7-Fortress 2
World 7-Piranha Plant #2 SMB3 World 7-Piranha Plant 2
World 7-Airship SMB3 World 7-Airship
World 8
SMB3 World 8 (Dark Land)
Castle Of Koopa Dark Land World 8-Big Tank SMB3 World 8-Tank 1
World 8-Navy SMB3 World 8-Navy
World 8-Hand Trap #1 SMB3 World 8-Hand Trap 1
World 8-Hand Trap #2 SMB3 World 8-Hand Trap 2
World 8-Hand Trap #3 SMB3 World 8-Hand Trap 3
World 8-Airships SMB3 World 8-Air Force
World 8-1 SMB3 World 8-1
World 8-2 SMB3 World 8-2
World 8-Fortresss SMB3 World 8-Fortress
World 8-Super Tank SMB3 World 8-Tank 2
World 8-Bowser's Castle (final stage) SMB3 World 8-Bowser's Castle
Warp Zone[]
World Second Release
World 9
SMB3 World 9 (Warp Zone)
Warp Zone

Spoiler warning: Spoilers end here.


  • 1-Up Mushroom - If Mario and Luigi find one of these green Mushrooms, they gain an extra life.
  • 10 Coin Block - This block has ten coins inside of it, though they may wear out before Mario/Luigi is able to get all ten.
  • Anchor - The anchor stops an airship from moving around the world Mario and Luigi are on in case either one loses a life on the level.
  • Brick Block - A Brick Block is a block of shiny brown bricks. Underneath, this block can be broke by Super Mario/Super Luigi or by a Koopa shell if on the ground. This block is repeatedly seen throughout the game and may contain coin(s) inside. If a Brick Block isn't shiny, it is a Blockhopper or Microgoomba in disguise.
  • Fire Flower - Once Mario or Luigi turns into Super Mario/Super Luigi, one of them are able to find a Fire Flower in some blocks. If Mario or Luigi do find one, they are able to shoot fireballs from their hands. If hit, the brother turns back to his super form. However, in the Japanese release, if Mario or Luigi take a hit while in this form, they will shrink back to their small forms.
  • Frog Suit - Once Mario or Luigi has a Frog Suit on, they are able to swim quicker than normal and the enemies themselves. They also gain the ability to jump much higher on land, but with the sacrifice of their land speed being slowed down.
  • Hammer - Mario or Luigi can use a hammer on the map to break rocks that block them from the other parts of the map.
  • Hammer Suit - The Hammer Suit is able to defeat enemies that can't be defeated by any other method, such as a Boo, a Stretch, or a Thwomp.
  • Invisible Block - This block is invisible and will appear when Mario or Luigi hit it. This block sometimes also helps a brother get to a high area.
  • Jump Block - The Jump Block is a block with a music note on it. Once Mario or Luigi jumps on one, they are able to reach high areas inaccessible otherwise by the bounciness of the block. Some of them also contain items that will come out when they're hit from above or below.
  • Jugem's Cloud - On the map, Mario or Luigi can use Jugem's Cloud to skip a stage. However, if one dies in the next stage, the brother goes back to the last finished stage.
  • Music Box - If Mario or Luigi uses a Music Box, it puts the Hammer Bros. and Piranha Plants to sleep on the world map. This allows Mario and Luigi to walk safely past the foes without having to go in the stage to battle them.
  • P-Wing - A P-Wing allows Mario or Luigi to fly with a maximized power meter through the entire stage.
  • Starman - If Mario or Luigi finds a Starman, they become temporarily invincible. This item allows a brother to defeat and run through about every enemy but can they still lose a life if they fall off the bottom of the screen or fall into lava, or if the Time Limit runs out.
  • Super Leaf - When Mario or Luigi find a Super Leaf, they are able to use the Tanooki Suit, which lets Mario or Luigi fly up in the air temporarily if enough speed is gained.
  • Super Mushroom - If the player is Small Mario/Small Luigi, he or she can find a Super Mushroom which makes Mario or Luigi bigger and stronger, letting them break blocks. If hit, the brother turns back to his small form.
  • Switch Block - Once Mario or Luigi jump on a switch block, the brother turns all the blocks in the stage to coins temporarily.
  • Tanooki Suit - If Mario or Luigi find a Tanooki Suit, the brother is able to do what the Super Leaf can, but with the addition of being able to turn into Statue Mario if Down is pressed on the D-pad.
  • Vine - Once Mario or Luigi finds a vine, the brother is able to go to higher areas in the sky by climbing it.
  • Warp Whistle - Once Mario or Luigi finds one of the three Warp Whistles, the brother is able to go to a different world, which varies depending on which world the brother is currently in. The theme that plays is the same theme of the whistle in The Legend of Zelda.
  • Kuribo's Shoe - Only found in World 5-3, Mario and Luigi can safely stomp on enemies and walk on Munchers after hitting a brick underneath it.
  • ? Orb - Unlocks the Locked Door if the player defeats Boom Boom.


Development for Super Mario Bros. 3 began shortly after Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels was finished in the Spring of 1986. Originally, the game was developed with a bird's-eye view in mind, similar to The Legend of Zelda, where the player would be looking down at the characters from above. With jumping as one of Mario's main moves, this overhead view made it difficult to determine whether Mario was touching the ground or not, so the view was switched to the side-view used in earlier titles. However, relics of the overhead view can still be found in the final game, such as the black-and-white checkerboard seen at the title screen.[1]

When Takashi Tezuka was designing concepts for the game, he didn't want it to be like Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels where only the levels and difficulty were changed. Instead, he wanted to rework everything, from giving Mario an improved moveset to overhauling the character sprites. Programmers also had what they called a "Map Room", which was a long, narrow meeting room where they looked at sheet papers and programmed map data all day. There were 20 to 30 people working on Super Mario Bros. 3, compared to Super Mario Bros.s seven or eight. However, Koji Kondo was completely alone on sound design, and he claims it was difficult to come up with music to fit the genre of the game. Additional sounds were possible to use during Super Mario Bros. 3s development which weren't able to be used during Super Mario Bros.s. The Japanese version of the game was originally planned to release in Spring of 1988, but because of the developers wanting to add so many new features, the game ended up getting pushed back another six months.

The hard part of creating a video game with old characters is making the old characters seem fresh and new.[2][3] In many ways, Super Mario Bros. 3 revived the series and brought many new young and old fans back to the adventures of the Mario Bros. The game was first shown in North America in the 1989 movie The Wizard as a way to advertise it; this also marked the first time that a Mario game was advertised in a movie.


In its NES iteration, the game sold 17.28 million, being the 3rd best-selling game on the NES behind Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt, and the best-selling unbundled one. It is also among the best selling games of all time.

It is one of the 12 games featured in NES Remix 2.

Seven months after the North American release, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 debuted on television.


Remakes and re-releases of the game include:


The game has received critical acclaim and is considered to be one of the greatest games of all time. IGN placed it at the number one spot of their top 100 NES games of all time list[4].

In 1997, the game was ranked at #5 in Nintendo Power's 100 Best Games of All Time, as printed in Nintendo Power V100. 100 issues later, in Nintendo Power's Top 200 Games, it was moved up to #6. And in the magazine's 20th anniversary issue, it was ranked #2 on the NES list for Nintendo Power's Best of the Best.



Among the merchandise based on the game are a Nelsonic Game Watch, and chocolate chip swirl cookies manufactured by Salerno, which features a maze on the box.[5]

id Software's attempted PC port[]

PC developer Id Software sent to Nintendo a demo of a PC port of the game[6], with the intent being to gain authorization to make an official port. The demo reached the Nintendo of Japan management (including Shigeru Miyamoto), who were impressed by the port's quality. However, Nintendo declined to greenlight an official PC version of the game as the company had no plan to release its products outside their own platform.

The pitch followed a tech demo named Dangerous Dave in "Copyright Infringement", which was a playable recreation of World 1-1 with Mario's sprite being replaced with that of the titular character. Dangerous Dave was notable for featuring smooth scrolling[7], something unheard for PC games of the time[8]. With a distribution deal with Scott Miller of Apogee Software, Ltd., "Copyright Infringement" id developers John Romero and John Carmack along with Tom Hall (who originally had the idea) later used the engine they had developed to create the Commander Keen series, a series of shareware platform games for MS-DOS.[9]

On December 14, 2015, John Romero uploaded gameplay footage of the port on video-sharing website Vimeo.[10]


  • In certain areas through the game, there are coins in the shape of three, representing Super Mario Bros. 3. In Super Mario Advance 4, it was changed to a four.
  • In Water Land, the island that the castle is on is in the shape of Japan and the castle is the location of Nintendo of Japan.
  • The game was featured on the cover of Nintendo Power's volume 11 in 1990. It was also the main subject of volume 13, which served as an almost-complete strategy guide, the first of the magazine's short-lived alternating "Strategy Guide" issues.
  • The game won three awards in the 1990 Nintendo Power Awards: Best Theme and Fun, Best Play Control, and Best Overall NES Game.
  • The game was revealed (and heavily featured) in the 1989 film The Wizard.
Mario Bros 3 revealed

Super Mario Bros 3 game revealed in The Wizard (1989).

  • This is the first game to feature Mario's current color scheme, consisting of a red shirt and blue overalls.
  • This is also the first game to feature Luigi's current color scheme, consisting of a green shirt and blue overalls.
  • This is the last game where Fire Luigi is colored the same as Fire Mario.
  • According to the Guinness Book of World Records 2008, Super Mario Bros. 3 was the world's best-selling video game, which is false. However, it was the best-selling game not bundled with a console.
    • The image used in the book was of Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, the remake, which made the same mistake on the back of its box.
  • Despite their artwork showing their current color scheme otherwise, NES palette limitations caused Mario's and Luigi's player sprites to have black overalls with no gloves and a red/green hat, shirt and shoes (although corrected in the larger Spade sprite), some of the Koopalings' hair and shell colors to be slightly different, and Princess Toadstool to have brown hair, resembling her sprite from Super Mario Bros. 2 and Toad wearing a black vest and red pants. Most of the character's palettes were corrected in later versions.
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 is Takashi Tezuka's favorite game in the series[11], as he feels that it is his first masterpiece.
  • Prior to its North American release on the NES, Super Mario Bros. 3 was ported to the Nintendo PlayChoice-10.
  • The events of this game are considered by Shigeru Miyamoto to be a stage play put on by the Mario cast.[12] However, in the remakes, many of the stage play-esque elements, such as shadows being cast onto the backgrounds, are no longer present.
  • Some of the game's assets were included in Capcom's Japanese 2003 arcade game Super Mario Fushigi no Janjan Land.
  • According to the "Mario Myths with Mr Miyamoto" video, he confirmed the game's setting to be a stage performance.[13]


  3. [1]
  4. [2]
  6. Dangerous Dave in "Copyright Infringement" (Retrieved July 5, 2013)
  7. "It looked just like the console version - smooth scrolling and everything." Kushner, David. Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture, page 52. Retrieved April 16, 2015. Print.
  8. CuteFloor (January 12, 2008). Dangerous Dave In Copyright Infringement · Unreleased Prototype. YouTube. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  9. "Scott was more than ready to make a deal. The gamers said they would use this new technology to create a title specifically for Apogee to release as shareware." Kushner, David. Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture, page 52. Retrieved April 16, 2015. Print.
  10. Romero, John. Super Mario Bros. 3 Demo (199). Vimeo. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  11. GameXplain (June 23, 2015). Super Mario Maker Developer Interview - Takashi Tezuka & Yosuke Oshino. YouTube. Retrieved September 16, 2015
  12. Mario Myths with Mr Miyamoto. YouTube. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
  13. Mario Myths with Mr Miyamoto (YouTube) Date: September 10, 2015. Publisher: Nintendo UK.

External links[]