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.