Super Mario Bros. 3
Nintendo Entertainment System
Game info
System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Genre: Action/platforming
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo
Players: 1-2 alternating/simultaneous
Save: None
Memory size: 2 megabits + 1 megabit VROM
Series: Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. 3 screen shot
Release info
[USA] Super Mario Bros. 3
Date: 2/12/1990 Catalog #: NES-UM-USA  
[Japan] スーパーマリオブラザーズ3
(Super Mario Brothers 3)
Date: 10/23/1988 Catalog #: HVC-UM-JPN  
[Europe] Super Mario Bros. 3
Date: 8/29/1991  

Everyone thought Bowser had left the Mushroom Kingdom until his doom ship attacked. King Koopa had returned with the greatest danger ever known: his Koopa Kids! Using their new super powers, help the Super Mario Brothers rescue Princess Toadstool and beat the evil Koopa family.

A "link" to Zelda

You've probably seen it happen many times: Mario plays a tune on the Warp Whistle, and a tornado spins in and whisks him off to another world. If you're a fan of the Zelda series, chances are you've seen (and heard) it all before.

Two years and two months before, to be exact. In The Legend of Zelda, Link's whistle (actually called "Recorder" in the intro credits) does the exact same thing as Mario's when it is used. Even the tune played is the same! Compare:

The Legend of Zelda (Jul. 1987) SMB3 (Feb. 1990)
Link's whistle's tune [132KB .WAV] Mario's whistle's tune [116KB .WAV]

Notice that the whistle and tornado sprites aren't exactly the same, but the tornadoes' actions and the musical notes played are exactly the same. We wouldn't call this a coincidence, since Shigeru Miyamoto (game director) and Koji Kondo (sound composer) worked on both games.

Two versions for NES

At some point, Nintendo re-released SMB3 with a few changes.

Toad's N-Spade instructions
If you picked up a copy of SMB3 close to its release date, you may have noticed that Toad ends his N-Spade game instructions with "Miss twice and your out!" Of course, the correct grammar is "you're" for "you are." However, you also may have noticed that there was no more room in the text box to include an apostrophe. In the new version, Toad says "You can only miss twice!" instead of "Miss twice and your out!" So, instead of resizing the text box so they could include an apostrophe, they just rewrote the last sentence using the same amount of characters. Pretty smooth, don't you think?

"Miss twice and your out!" "You can only miss twice!"

Princess' second letter
Another change was to Princess Toadstool's letter to Mario after beating World 2. Instead of "Kuribo's shoe," she now says "Goomba's shoe."

Kuribo's shoe Goomba's shoe

Kuribo, as you might know by now, is the Japanese name for Goombas. Why it wasn't changed the first time is a mystery. The same letter in Super Mario All-Stars still calls it a Kuribo's Shoe.

As for the credits, the level names were changed to less-creative titles in the new version. Basically, all the names were changed to "Something Land". Here's a chart of the changes:

First release Second release
Grass Land Grass Land
Desert Hill Desert Land
Ocean Side Water Land
Big Island Giant Land
The Sky Sky Land
Iced Land Ice Land
Pipe Maze Pipe Land
Castle of Koopa Dark Land


Super Mario Bros.
The Princess' joke in the game's ending references the "Thank you Mario! But our Princess is in another castle!" message spoken by the seven Mushroom retainers in the original SMB.

Outside references

Bo Diddley
The name of the ghost-like character "Boo Diddley" is a take-off of the name of this famed American blues singer.

Koopa Kids' namesakes
Several of the Koopa Kids' names are parodies of various musical celebrities, most of whom were popular at the time of SMB3's production.

  • Iggy Koopa is named after American rock singer Iggy Pop.
  • Lemmy Koopa takes his name from Lemmy Kilmister, a British heavy metal artist best known from his work in the band Motörhead.
  • Ludwig Von Koopa is named after 19th Century composer Ludwig van Beethoven, and shares his wild hairstyle.
  • Morton Koopa Jr. is named after American pop and country singer Morton Downey Jr., now perhaps best known for his self-titled talkshow. Morton Koopa Jr. also has a white face with a black star over his left eye, the trademark makeup of guitarist Paul Stanley from KISS.
  • Roy Koopa is named after Roy Orbison, and both wear horn-rimmed sunglasses.
  • Wendy O. Koopa is named after Wendy O. Williams, an American punk singer.

It's unclear who Larry Koopa is supposed to be based on.

More info Media
Did you know...?
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 was featured in the motion picture The Wizard two months before it was released in the USA.
  • According to Nintendo, SMB3 has sold 17.3 million copies worldwide, making it the most successful individually sold video game of all time.
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The Mushroom Kingdom \ The Games \ Nintendo Entertainment System \ Super Mario Bros. 3