The Time Limit debuted in Super Mario Bros.. If the timer hits 0, the player will immediately die. The timer decreases approximately every 0.6 or 0.7 seconds, with some exceptions:
- In Super Mario Bros. the timer decreases every 0.4 seconds.
- In New Super Luigi U and the Super Mario Maker games, the timer decreases every second.
When the timer goes below 100 seconds, a jingle will be played to warn the player and the music will play faster.
Once the player clears the level, for every second left, the player will get 50 extra points. In Super Mario 3D Land, for every 10 seconds left, the player will get an extra coin.