The secret world in Super Mario Bros. from which there is no escape.

To enter World -1 (or the Minus World), go to World 1-2. Near the end of the level, you can go over the top and warp to levels 2, 3, or 4, or you can go to the pipe that leads to the flagpole and World 1-3. Go to that pipe instead, and get on top of it. There are three or four blocks above the pipe that you can break if you are big. Break two near the end of the pipe, leaving one sticking out of the wall. Do a backwards ducking jump against that block. After a few tries, you should get stuck in the wall. Walk to the right and duck into the first pipe you come to. You will be sent to World -1.

There's no way out of World -1!

It's an endless underwater level that does nothing but tire out your swimming finger. It's just an interesting curiousity, and nothing more. Use up your lives, start over, and never go there again, except to show your friends how cool you are. Then you can show them the Woop Woop Trick and make them bow before you.

NES. Super Mario Brothers 1. Level 1-2, the end of the underground segment of the first underground level. Walking atop the brick ceiling (attained through elevator abuse) takes you to the first Warp Zone but this is more insidious and considerably more interesting.

Standing on the lip of the big green pipe that takes you aboveground to the flag... and FREEDOM! you jump-punch the first (er, left-most) ceiling-constituting brick-block. Then (this will take several tries) you jump, facing left, trying to occupy the space the recently-punched block did, but at the last minute you lean right and are juxtaposed, occupying the same physical space as the bunch of bricks next to it.

Instead of an explosion (as conventional physics imagines such an event) you are squeezed inexorably righter, righter like the pit of an olive in some obscene masonry peristalsis through the ceiling and are popped out where the Warp Zone usually is.

But it's not the warp zone anymore - now it is a pipe that takes you to MINUSLAND!

Minusland is an inordinately long aquatic level that requires eight completions, at which event it will drop you off at the very last level of the game (8-4) in considerably shorter time than the conventional routes or even with advantage of the conventional (warp zone) short cuts.

Back in the days of the NES, Super Mario Bros was an extraordinarily popular game. (Of course, it came with the console -- it took Microsoft another 10 years to make IE popular with the same trick...)

But I digress.... Back then, video games were a much larger part of my life (hey, I was six). When we weren't playing them, we were talking about them (okay, so that's an exaggeration, but I'm going somewhere with this). I remember hearing many many times about reaching the "minus world" in Super Mario Bros, and even hearing about many different ways to get there.

It was known as the minus world because where ordinary levels had names like "1-2" or "4-4", there was no first digit in this world--it was just " -1". I do know that I finally reached the legendary extra level, but I don't remember how. The only thing I remember about it was that it was an underwater level, really hard, and never-ending. All you could do there was keep swimming until you ran out of time and died. I believe the minus world's existence was a bug, rather than an easter egg.

Here are some of the different ways I remember hearing (though I can't remember how I actually did it):

  • Jump over a flagpole at the end of a level.
  • Jump out of the water and onto the rocks at the end of a water level.
  • Jump 'backwards' through (into) a block in the ceiling in 1-2.
(I was just about to write about this:)

As a note: jumping over the flag pole in 3-3 (or was it 3-2) only lets you run forever. It does NOT allow you to get into minus world. That is simply another common bug. (Also, small firey looking Mario is common). I have only heard of the jumping backwards in world 1-2 reproducing it. I don't know if jumping out of the water is possible.

Minusworld is most certainly a bug, however. Yerricde gives an excellent description of why it is in the writeup below this one.

Update, i decided to give the minus world trick the old sporting try, and I got it to work under an emulator. However, I went down the second pipe and ended up in world 5. Quite a nice "feature" if you ask me.

The Minus World is actually World 36-1 of Super Mario Brothers for the NES. It does not appear in the coin-op Vs. Super Mario Brothers, Super Mario All-Stars for Super NES, or Super Mario Brothers Deluxe for Game Boy Color. Start by coming to the end of World 1-2 with fireball power. Break the ceiling above the pipe out of 1-2 EXCEPT the last block on the right. Now jump through the left side of the block you left. The game's buggy early collision detection will push Luigi or Mario through the ceiling and wrap him around the side of the screen. Shoot the plant and jump down the pipe before WELCOME TO WARP ZONE appears.

You are now in world (SPACE)-1. Character 36 in SMB's font (after 0-9A-Z) is an empty tile, used for the space character. If you duck down a pipe before SMB throws up the warp zone menu, it reads the space from the screen and interprets that as the level number. World 36-1 just happened to point to a water level with a map the same as that of 2-2. According to Pseudo_Intellectual, this level eventually ends after eight or so laps and takes you to 8-4 at the end, but I've never managed to pull that off.

If I were porting Super Mario Brothers to another console or computer, I would special-case a space character and send the player to World 2-2, a legitimate water level. Too bad Nintendo decided just to fix the collision detection in Super Mario All-Stars, the Super NES port of SMB.

I haven't gone into the warp zone code with a debugger, but commented 6502 source code for SMB at one time was available at http://darkcode.tripod.com . The code may be reading from world 4-2's underground warp zone, the one with a single pipe in the middle that leads to world 5 (and has space characters on either side).

Getting into the minus world by hexing the ROM

(added Friday, December 7, 2001)

If you have an NES emulator and a hex editor, the easiest way to get to Super Mario Bros.'s minus world is to hex the ROM's warp zone table. At offset 0x800 in SMB1.NES (6502 address $87F0), you should see

  10 12 04 03 02 00 24 05 24 00 08 07 06 00 00 00
            |           |           |   
         1-2 end     4-2 end     4-2 top

You can change those numbers 02-08 and 24 to point to any world in the game. (24 is the hexadecimal code for 36, that is, the minus world.) The first byte in "4-2 end" apparently controls which world unlabeled pipes go to.

You can also do this with a game patcher. For Action Replay (address/data) style patchers, use "87F4:24"; for Game Genie, use GXNAGY. This code will replace 1-2's pipe to world 2 with a pipe to the minus world. I've tried this code on Super Mario Bros. version 1.1 under NESten; I can't guarantee that it works on version 1.0, nor do I know of a way to discern which version of SMB a cart contains. Sometimes there will be multiple versions of a cartridge game as the developers fix minor, mostly cosmetic bugs in the game (e.g. change "A WINNER IS YOU" in Pro Wrestling to just "  WINNER IS YOU", or "You can only miss twice!" in Super Mario Brothers 3's N-spade bonus level to "Miss twice and your out!"(sic)).

to encode or decode game genie codes visit http://www.monmouth.com/~colonel/videogames/nes/genie.html

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