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Super Mario
For other subjects of the same name, see Super Mario Bros. (disambiguation).
"Super Mario Brothers" redirects here. For information about the microgame with this name, see Super Mario Brothers (WarioWare: Smooth Moves).

Super Mario Bros. is a platform video game developed and published by Nintendo and the game that kicked off the Super Mario series as a sequel to the original Mario Bros.. It was released for the Family Computer and Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. This game began the shift from single-screen gameplay to side-scrolling platformer levels. Despite not being the first game in the Mario franchise, it is the most iconic and introduced a variety of series staples such as power-ups, classic enemies and the usual task of the player having to rescue Princess Peach from King Koopa.

Super Mario Bros. was a huge success, and it not only popularized platforming games but also helped the North American gaming industry revive after the 1983 video game crash. In addition, it was largely responsible for the initial success of the Nintendo Entertainment System, with which it was bundled a launch title. With over 40,000,000 copies sold worldwide, Super Mario Bros. remained the best-selling title for nearly three decades, till it was surpassed by Wii Sports. It was also the best-selling game for the Nintendo Entertainment System as well as the bestselling game in the Mario franchise until it was surpassed by Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on February 2022. A successor named Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan (later renamed Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels in North America) was released on June 3, 1986. Another successor sharing its English name with its predecessor's Japanese name was released on October 9, 1988. A third successor named Super Mario Bros. 3 was released on October 23, 1988.

Super Mario Bros. has been ported to many consoles. It was one of the NES games that could be played on the Nintendo PlayChoice-10 and NES Classic Edition, and it was released on the Virtual Console for the Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and Wii U as well as the Nintendo Switch's Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online service.

There is a heavy dispute over the North American release date for the game, as different sources providing different dates with no room for verification. Despite this complication, Nintendo officially states the release as October 18, 1985.[1]


In 1991, Shigeru Miyamoto explained the limitations in creating Mario, they had to "work under technical constraints including the number of pixels and number of colors the Famicom can display." They gave Mario a mustache instead of a mouth because it showed up better. They also gave him a hat rather than hair because it looked better as well. Mario wears overalls because that showed the movement of his arms, and he was wearing white gloves because the white contrasts were better with the colored backgrounds.[2]

Due to the limitations of memory, Luigi is a palette swap of the Mario sprite. This means that there was not any need for all those new frames of animation.

Miyamoto stated in an interview of The Super Mario Bros. Movie that Princess Peach was supposed to be a playable character and a "more powerful princess". This was changed for Princess Peach to be the damsel-in-distress rescued by Mario to keep the story simple.[3]


Super Mario Bros. takes place after the events of Mario Bros. as Mario and Luigi had traveled through one of the Warp Pipes from New York City's sewers and arrived in the Mushroom Kingdom.[4]

"One day the kingdom of the peaceful mushroom people was invaded by the Koopa, a tribe of turtles famous for their black magic. The quiet, peace-loving Mushroom People were turned into mere stones, bricks and even field horsehair plants, and the Mushroom Kingdom fell into ruin. The only one who can undo the magic spell on the Mushroom People and return them to their normal selves is the Princess Toadstool, the daughter of the Mushroom King. However, she is presently in the hands of the great Koopa turtle king. Mario, the hero of this story heard about the Mushroom People's plight and sets out on a quest to free the Mushroom Princess from the evil Koopa and restore the fallen kingdom of the Mushroom People. You are Mario! It's up to you to save the Mushroom People from the black magic of the Koopa!"[5]


SMB World 1-1 NES

A gameplay screenshot of Mario in the first level, World 1-1, as he passes by two Goombas

The player takes control of Mario, or Luigi in the case of the second player, and must reach the end of the level within the time limit, defeating enemies and collecting power-ups along the way. The player can jump on enemies to defeat them. Goombas will die after being stomped on once, but Koopas will hide in their shells, forcing the player to hit them once more. This sends their shells speeding off along the ground. This can be used to kill other enemies if launched in the right direction but can harm or kill the player as well.

At the start of the game, Mario begins in his Small form, meaning that should he either take a hit, fall into a bottomless pit or run out of time, he'll lose a life and will have to restart the level from either the beginning or from a checkpoint. If all lives are lost, the game is over. Powerups in the game are hidden inside coin boxes, which require the player to hit the box to acquire its contents, A Super Mushroom will make Mario grow in size and allow him to take an extra hit from enemies. A Fire Flower will change the color of Mario's attire to white and grant him the ability to shoot fireballs, which bounce on the ground and kill all enemies in 1 hit, except for Buzzy Beetles and Bowser. Bowser takes multiple fireballs to kill, and fireballs cannot harm Buzzy Beetles.

The goal is to reach the end of the level and take down Bowser's flag risen above the castle. In the Zone 4 stages, the player must reach the bridge at the end and fight Bowser. Mario and Luigi ordinarily have no way to hurt the fake Bowsers or the actual Bowser and have to either use the ax to destroy the bridge, causing either the false or real one to fall into the lava, or pelt him with many fireballs, which produces the same result and reveals the true forms of the fakes. The Bowsers that the player fights from World 1 to 7 are Fake Bowsers. The real Bowser is encountered only at World 8-4, the final level in the game.

After defeating a Fake Bowser at the end of a World, the player will proceed to the back of the castle, where a Toad is found being held captive. He will thank the player for saving him and inform the player that the princess is in another castle. The player will then advance to the next world.

After defeating Bowser at the end of World 8, the player will find Princess Toadstool at the back of the castle, who thanks Mario for saving her. The game ends and the player is given the choice to replay the game in a higher difficulty.




Sprite Name Points earned Level debut
Blooper SMB sprite Bloober 200 World 2-2
SMB Bullet Bill sprite Bullet Bill 200 World 5-1
SMB Buzzy Beetle sprite Buzzy Beetle 100 (stomped, below)
200 (Starman)
World 4-2
Cheep Cheep red SMB sprite Cheep-cheep 200 World 2-2
Hammer Bro. Sprite (Super Mario Bros.) Hammer Brother 1000 World 3-1
SMB Koopa Paratroopa sprite SMB Koopa Paratroopa red sprite Koopa Paratroopa 400 (stomped)
200 (fireball, Starman)
World 1-3 (red)
World 2-1 (green)
SMB Koopa Troopa sprite Koopa Troopa red SMB sprite Koopa Troopa 100 (stomped, below)
200 (fireball, Starman)
World 1-1 (green)
World 1-2 (red)
SMB Lakitu sprite Lakitu 800 (stomped)
200 (fireball)
World 4-1
Goomba SMB sprite Little Goomba 100 World 1-1
Piranha Plant SMB sprite Piranha Plant 200 World 1-2
Podoboo SMB sprite Podoboo N/A World 2-4
SMB Spiny sprite Spiny 200 (fireball)
100 (below)
World 4-1
Spiny Egg SMB sprite Spiny's egg 200 (fireball)
100 (below)
World 4-1


Sprite Name Description
Fire-Bar SMB sprite Fire-Bar Fire-Bars consist of several fireballs stacked together and rotated either clockwise or counterclockwise from an Empty Block. Some later castles consist of longer Fire-Bars.
Hammer SMB sprite Hammer These are thrown by Hammer Bros, some False Bowsers, and Bowser himself.
Lava SMB sprite Lava These fill many of the pits within castle levels. If Mario touches lava, he instantly loses a life, regardless of his form.
Bill Blaster SMB sprite Turtle Cannon They are stationary objects from which Bullet Bills are shot out of.


Sprite Name Point value Description
1-Up Mushroom SMB sprite 1 up Mushroom 0 points Collecting it gives Mario or Luigi an extra life.
Coin SMB sprite Coin 200 points Mario or Luigi can collect 100 of these to obtain an extra life.
Fire Flower SMB sprite Fire Flower 1,000 points Collecting it turns Mario or Luigi into their Fire form, allowing them to shoot fireballs.
Super Mushroom SMB sprite Magic Mushroom 1,000 points If Mario or Luigi obtain it while in their Small form, they change into their Super form.
Starman SMB sprite Starman 1,000 points If Mario or Luigi touch one, they receive temporary invincibility, during which enemies can be defeated on contact.

Worlds and levels[]

Challenge Mode[]

After Mario or Luigi completes the game, a harder version of the game is unlocked with the following major changes:

  • The level names will be changed to a "Star 1-1" in contrast to the regular "1-1."
  • All Goombas will turn into Buzzy Beetles.
  • All of the enemies walk faster.
  • Firebars can be in any possible location.
  • All "harder" versions of each level will be played instead (World 5-3 is a harder version of World 1-3; in the harder version, 1-3 and 5-3 are the same level).


The music in Super Mario Bros. is played on a synthesizer, much like most NES games. The game is known for its overworld theme, which has become a staple of the series.

In Super Mario series[]

Super Mario All-Stars[]

Super Mario Bros. reappeared in All-Stars as one of the games the player can play.

Super Mario Maker/Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS[]

Super Mario Bros. appears as a theme for Super Mario Maker. This is the only theme where the player can access Mystery Mushroom costumes.

Super Mario Maker 2[]

It reappears as a theme with exclusive items such as the SMB2 Mushroom, Superball Flower and the Master Sword.

In WarioWare series[]

WarioWare: Twisted![]

The game has its own microgame called Super Mario Bros., a boss microgame where the player has to tilt their Game Boy Advance as Mario and reach the goal. The level setting depends on the difficulty of the level.

WarioWare Gold[]

Super Mario Bros. returns as a boss microgame of 18-Volt's microgame set of Nintendo Classics which involve tilting the Nintendo 3DS. The objective of the microgame remains the same as Twisted!.


Super Mario Bros. was immensely successful, both commercially and critically. It helped popularize the side-scrolling platform game genre,[6] and served as a killer app for the NES.[7][8] Upon release in Japan, 1.2 million copies were sold during its September 1985 release month.[9] Within four months, about 3 million copies were sold in Japan[10][11], grossing more than ¥12.2 billion, equivalent to $72 million at the time[12] (which is inflation-adjusted to $196 million in 2022). The success of Super Mario Bros. helped increase Famicom sales to 6.2 million units by January 1986.[13] By 1987, 5 million copies of the game had been sold for the Famicom.[14] Outside of Japan, many were introduced to the game through the arcade version,[15][16][17] which became the bestselling Nintendo Vs. System release with 20,000 arcade units sold within a few months in early 1986.[16] In the United States, more than 1 million copies of the NES version were sold in 1986,[18] more than 4 million by 1988,[19] 9.1 million by mid-1989,[20] more than 18.7 million by early 1990,[21] nearly 19 million by April 1990,[22] and more than 20 million by 1991.[23] More than 40 million copies of the original NES version had been sold worldwide by 1994,[24] and 40.23 million by April 2000, for which it was awarded the Guinness World Record for best-selling video game of all time.[25]

Altogether, excluding ports and re-releases, 40.24 million copies of the original NES release have been sold worldwide,[26][27] with 29 million copies sold in North America.[28] Including ports and re-releases, more than 58 million units had been sold worldwide.[29] The game was the all-time bestselling game for more than 20 years until its lifetime sales were ultimately surpassed by Wii Sports (2006).[30] The game's Wii Virtual Console release was also successful, reaching number 1 by mid-2007,[31] and at an estimated 660,000 units for $3.2 million outside of Japan and Korea in 2009.[32] In August 2021, an anonymous buyer paid $2 million for a never-opened copy of Super Mario Bros., according to collectibles site Rally, surpassing the $1.56 million sales record set by Super Mario 64 the previous month.[33]

Contemporary Reviews[]

Clare Edgeley of Computer and Video Games gave the arcade version a positive review upon its ATEI 1986 debut. She felt the graphics were simple compared to other arcade games (such as Sega's Space Harrier at the same ATEI show), but was surprised at the depth of gameplay, including its length, number of hidden secrets, and the high degree of dexterity it required. She predicted that the game would be a major success.[17] In the fall of 1986, Top Score newsletter reviewed Vs. Super Mario Bros. for arcades, calling it "without a doubt one of the best games" of the year and stating that it combined "a variety of proven play concepts" with "a number of new twists" to the gameplay.[34] The arcade game received the award for the "Best Video Game of 1986" at the Amusement Players Association's Players Choice Awards, held during their first US national competition in January 1987 where the game was popular among arcade players.[35][16]

Reviewing the NES version, the "Video Game Update" segment of Computer Entertainer magazine in June 1986 praised the "cute and comical" graphics, lively music and most of all its depth of play, including the amount of hidden surprises and discoveries. The review said it was worthy of "a spot in the hall of fame reserved for truly addictive action games" and was a "must-have" NES game.[36][37] In early 1987, Top Score reviewed the NES version, noting that it is mostly the same as the arcade version and stating that it was "a near-perfect game" with simple play mechanics, "hundreds of incentives" and hidden surprises, an "ever-changing" environment, colorful graphics and "skillfully blended" music.[15]

The Games Machine reviewed the NES version upon its European release in 1987, calling it "a great and playable game" with praise for the gameplay, which it notes is simple to understand without needing to read the manual and has alternate routes for problems that can occasionally be frustrating but rewarding, while also praising the "splendid" graphics and sound.[38] In 1989, ACE called it the "undisputed king of cutesy platform-style arcade adventures" and that the "game is crammed with secret levels, 'warps' and hidden treats such that you never tire of playing it." They listed it as the best NES game available in Europe.[8] Computer and Video Games said this "platform/arcade adventure" is one of "the all-time classic video games" with "a multitude of hidden bonuses, secret warps and mystery screens." They said the graphics and sound are "good, but not outstanding, but it's the utterly addictive gameplay which makes this one of the best games money can buy."[39]

Retrospective Reception[]

Retrospective critical analysis of the game has been extremely positive, with many touting it as one of the best video games of all time. Nintendo Power named it the fourth best NES game, describing it as the beginning of the modern era of video games and "Shigeru Miyamoto's masterpiece".[40] Electronic Gaming Monthly ranked it first on its list of the "Greatest 200 Games of Their Time".[41] Official Nintendo Magazine also award the game first place in a 2009 list of greatest Nintendo games of all time.[42] IGN included it in its lists of the best 100 games in 2005 and 2007.[43] In 1997, Electronic Gaming Monthly named the All-Stars version of Super Mario Bros. the 37th best game of all time.[44] In 2009, Game Informer named Super Mario Bros. the second greatest game of all time, behind The Legend of Zelda, saying that it "remains a monument to brilliant design and fun gameplay".[45] The Game Informer staff also ranked it the second best in their 2001 list of the top 100 games.[46] In 2012, G4 ranked Super Mario Bros. the best video game of all time, citing its revolutionary gameplay and its role in helping recover the North American gaming industry from the Video Game Crash of 1983.[47] In 2014, IGN named Super Mario Bros. the best Nintendo game, saying it was "the most important Nintendo game ever made".[48] In 2005, IGN named it the greatest video game of all time.[43] In 2015, The Strong National Museum of Play inducted Super Mario Bros. to its World Video Game Hall of Fame.[49] In 2017, Polygon ranked it the eighth best Super Mario game, crediting it for starting "this franchise's habit of being an exception to so many rules".[50] In 2018, Business Insider named it the second best Super Mario game, right behind Super Mario World.[51] In 2019, WatchMojo ranked it as the tenth best Super Mario game as part of their "Top 10 Mario Games of All Time" list countdown;[52]and in 2023, they considered it to be the second most hardest game in the series in their "10 HARDEST Super Mario Games" list countdown over on MojoPlays, right behind Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels.[53]

Several critics have praised the game for its precise controls, which allow the player to control how high and far Mario or Luigi jumps, and how fast he runs.[54] AllGame gave Super Mario Bros. a five-star rating, stating that "[T]he sense of excitement, wonder and – most of all – enjoyment felt upon first playing this masterpiece of videogame can't barely be put into words. And while its sequels have far surpassed it in terms of length, graphics, sound and other aspects, Super Mario Bros., like any classic – whether of a cinematic or musical nature – has withstood the test of time, continuing to be fun and playable" and that any gamer "needs to play this game at least once, if not simply for a history lesson".[55] Reviewing the Virtual Console Release of the game, IGN called it "an absolute must for any gamer's Virtual Console collection."[56] Darren Calvert of Nintendo Life called the game's visuals "unavoidably outdated" compared to newer games, but mused that they were impressive at the time that the game was released.[57]


Hat mario To view Super Mario Bros.'s
image gallery, click here.

External links[]


  1. Super Mario Bros. Encyclopedia, page 16
  2. The Man of Mushrooms and the Man of Steel. VentureBeat (2011-10-28). Retrieved on 2023-05-19.
  3. Variety (2023-04-04). Shigeru Miyamoto Explains Why This 'Super Mario Bros.' Movie Lives Up to Fan Expectations. TheGamer. Retrieved on 2023-05-01.
  4. インタビュー マリオ映画公開記念!宮本茂さんインタビュー 制作の始まりから驚きの設定まで (April 25, 2023). Nintendo Dream Web. Retrieved April 25, 2023
  5. Super Mario Bros. instruction booklet, page 2
  6. Minotti, Mike (September 13, 2015). "Super Mario Bros. is 30 years old today and deserves our thanks". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on March 10, 2016. Retrieved May 31, 2016
  7. Davs, Cameron (January 28, 2000). "Super Mario Bros. Deluxe for Game Boy Color Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 26, 2014. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Console Wars" (PDF). ACE. No. 26 (November 1989). October 1989. p. 144. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 10, 2021. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  9. DeMaria, Rusel (December 7, 2018). High Score! Expanded: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games 3rd Edition. CRC Press. p. 1611. ISBN 978-0-429-77139-2. Archived from the original on December 1, 2021. Retrieved December 1, 2021. 13 September 1985: Friday the 13th, a traditionally unlucky day in America but not in Japan. Nintendo releases Super Mario Bros. for the Famicom. It sells 1,200,000 copies by the end of the month.
  10. "The Yoke". The Yoke. Yokohama Association for International Communications and Exchanges (9–25). 1985. Archived from the original on October 23, 2021. Retrieved February 23, 2021. "Super Mario Brothers" is one of the family computer games which is enjoying huge popularity among the children of Japan. More than three million of these games have been sold.
  11. "Where every home game turns out to be a winner". The Guardian. March 6, 1986. p. 15. Archived from the original on October 3, 2021. Retrieved February 23, 2021 – via Games cost 4,900 yen each (£19) but are discounted to 3,800 yen (£14.50) in Akihabara and similar shopping areas. Nintendo offers 31 cartridges, with the most popular — Super Mario Bros — selling over three million.
  12. "Japan Quarterly". Japan Quarterly. Asahi Shinbun: 296. 1986. Archived from the original on March 10, 2021. Retrieved February 23, 2021 – via Google Books. Nevertheless, Nintendo can claim among its successes Japan's current game best seller, Super Mario Brothers. Introduced in September 1985, sales of the ¥4,900 game soared to 2.5 million copies in just four months, generating revenues of more than ¥12.2 billion (about $72 million).
  13. "Overseas Readers Column: Coin-Op "Super Mario" Will Ship To Overseas" (PDF). Game Machine. No. 278. Amusement Press, Inc. March 1, 1986. p. 24. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 17, 2021. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  14. "Business Week". Business Week. No. 3024–32. Bloomberg L.P. 1987. p. 2. Archived from the original on March 5, 2022. Retrieved February 23, 2021. Nintendo's huge fami-com owner base, where a megahit like Super Mario Bros. can sell 5 million copies.
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Two Pick-Hits for the Nintendo Entertainment System". Top Score. Amusement Players Association. Winter 1987.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Horowitz, Ken (July 30, 2020). Beyond Donkey Kong: A History of Nintendo Arcade Games. McFarland & Company. p. 156. ISBN 978-1-4766-4176-8. Archived from the original on April 30, 2021. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Edgeley, Clare (February 16, 1986). "Arcade Action: Arcade Show '86". Computer and Video Games. No. 53 (March 1986). United Kingdom: EMAP. pp. 82–83 (83). Archived from the original on April 11, 2021. Retrieved March 29, 2021.
  18. DeMaria, Rusel; Meston, Zach (1991). Super Mario World Game Secrets. Prima Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-55958-156-1. Archived from the original on March 5, 2022. Retrieved February 23, 2021. Super Mario Bros. featured Mario in a romp through eight delightfully varied worlds, each one jam-packed with action and adventure. The game sold more than one million copies in 1986 alone. (Today, Super Mario Bros. comes packaged with the NES.)
  19. Belson, Eve (December 1988). "A Chip off the Old Silicon Block". Orange Coast Magazine. Vol. 14, no. 12. Emmis Communications. pp. 87–90. ISSN 0279-0483 – via Google Books.
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  21. Dretzka, Gary (March 29, 1990). "U.S. Parents! Get Ready For The 3rd Invasion Of Super Mario Bros". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on April 18, 2018. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  22. Rothstein, Edward (April 26, 1990). "Electronics Notebook; Adventures in Never-Never Land". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 9, 2021. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  23. Rich, Jason (1991). A Parent's Guide to Video Games: A Practical Guide to Selecting and Managing Home Video Games. DMS. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-9625057-7-5. Archived from the original on September 24, 2021. Retrieved September 24, 2021. U.S. version of SUPER MARIO BROTHERS, which has sold over 20 million copies.
  24. Schnaars, Steven P. (September 30, 1994). Managing Imitation Strategies. Free Press. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-02-928105-5. Archived from the original on March 5, 2022. Retrieved September 24, 2021. In 1986, its first year of sales, Nintendo sold 1.1 million NES units, largely on the strength of Super Mario Brothers, a game that eventually sold 40 million copies.
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  28. "25 crazy facts about mario that change everything". MTV. Archived from the original on March 16, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  29. More than 50 million units of Super Mario Bros. had been sold worldwide as of 1996. 660,000 units were later sold on Wii Virtual Console, Super Mario Bros. Deluxe version sold 5.07 million units on Game Boy Color, and Classic NES Series port sold 2.27 million units on Game Boy Advance.
  30. "Getting That "Resort Feel"". Iwata Asks: Wii Sports Resort. Nintendo. p. 4. Archived from the original on September 27, 2016. As it comes free with every Wii console outside Japan, I'm not quite sure if calling it "World Number One" is exactly the right way to describe it, but in any case it's surpassed the record set by Super Mario Bros., which was unbroken for over twenty years.
  31. Kuchera, Ben (June 1, 2007). "Nintendo announces 4.7 million Virtual Console games sold, Mario rules the top five list". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on April 20, 2018. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
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  33. Browning, Kellen (August 6, 2021). "A Super Mario Bros. game sells for $2 million, another record for gaming collectibles". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 28, 2021. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
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  49. "Super Mario Bros". The Strong National Museum of Play. The Strong. Archived from the original on May 6, 2022. Retrieved May 6, 2022.
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  52. Richardson, T. (2019, May 21). Top 10 Mario Games of All Time. WatchMojo.
  53. Kline, A. (2023, Feb 5). The 10 HARDEST Super Mario Games. MojoPlays (WatchMojo).
  54. Gerstmann, Jeff (January 2, 2007). "Super Mario Bros. Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on December 31, 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2008.
  55. Smith, Geoffrey Douglas. "Super Mario Bros – Review". Allgame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  56. Birnbaum, Mark (March 6, 2007). "Super Mario Bros. VC review". IGN. Archived from the original on September 24, 2017. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
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