Super Mario Bros. 2

A Curious Tale Of Two Sequels

Super Mario Bros. 2 Title Screen

Game Specs for Super Mario Bros. 2

NOTE: When possible, the game's official manual or official documentation from the game maker's company or Nintendo is used — with spelling or terminology presented as is, despite some translation errors.

SPOILER ALERT: Some of the categories below may have a question mark to conceal important or secret revelations in the game. If you would like to see the unknown revealed, a rollover option or external link will be attached to the question mark.

Title Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario Bros. 2
Company Nintendo
  • (Producer) Shigeru Miyamoto
  • (Director) Kensuke Tanabe
  • Koji Kondo
Year: 1988
Release Date: North America - October 9, 1988
Japan as Super Mario USA - 1992
System: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
Genre: Action, Platformer, Arcade
Ratings/Suitable For Age Group?: E for Everyone Rating from ESRB
E for Everyone (Mild Fantasy Violence)
Arcade Version?: Yes. Ported to American arcade machine, Nintendo PlayChoice-10

An arcade cabinet of the Nintendo PlayChoice-10

An advertisement of the Nintendo PlayChoice-10

Screenshots of Super Mario Bros. 2 on the Nintendo PlayChoice-10

Port To Other Game Systems:

Super Mario USA (Famicom)
(the first release in Japan of the Super Mario Bros. 2 known abroad)

Super Mario All-Stars (SNES)
(16-Bit-enhanced compilation of Super Mario titles that included this title and the original Japanese version, known as The Lost Levels abroad)

Super Mario All-Stars Limited Edition (Wii)
(16-Bit-enhanced compilation of Super Mario titles that included this title and the original Japanese version, known as The Lost Levels abroad)

Super Mario Advance (GBA)
(featured an enhanced Super Mario All-Stars version of this title)

and (Nintendo 3DS, Wii and Wii U) Virtual Console as a digital download from the Nintendo eShop.

Picture of Virtual Console logo.

Part of Franchise:
  • Second title in Super Mario Bros. series

  • Numerous sequels and re-issues based off of this title
Rarity/Availability: Included in NES Classic Edition (Direct Port of NES),

Picture of the Nintendo NES Classic Edition console.

on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console
(as a download from Nintendo eShop),

Picture of Virtual Console logo.

and on the Wii U (digital download).

Picture of Nintendo Wii U.

Cartridge becoming harder to find and increasing in price (at least, in the St. Louis, MO metropolitan area).

Add'l Game System Peripheral Needed To Play?: N/A
1 or 2 Player: 1 Player
Number of Reserve Players: Super Mario Bros. 2 begins with 2 Extra Lives
Start with 2 Extra Lives
1-Up's Super Mario Bros. 2 1UP
Life Meter Life Meter or Marks from Super Mario Bros. 2
Yes. It starts with two Marks and increases as you find Mushrooms, hidden in each World. Can have a maximum of 4 Marks per World.
Password No
Battery No
Continue? Continue Screen from Super Mario Bros. 2
Yes, but there are only two continues available.
Perspective/Orientation Gameplay 2D and Horizontal/Vertical (Retraceable/Freedom to backtrack within a World, including re-entry into many doors).
Number of Levels 20 areas spread across 7 Worlds
Checkpoints? Usually begin at start of level or at a door's entrance or at the bottom of screen where climbing begins (basically when a new screen starts in a world).
Save points? No
Uninterrupted Play? Upon death of Player, play stops and resumes from last checkpoint.
Internal Map(s)? No
Score? No
Difficulty Settings No
Time Limit? No
Heroes and Heroine
Mario from Super Mario Bros. 2     
Luigi from Super Mario Bros. 2     
Toad from Super Mario Bros. 2     
Princess from Super Mario Bros. 2     
Sidekick(s)/Cast Subcon - inhabitant of Subcon in Super Mario Bros. 2
Subcons - inhabitants of Subcon in Super Mario Bros. 2

Yes - All NPC's (non-playable characters)
  •   Vegetable (a Small Heart floats up the field of play, after 5 Vegetables are collected)

  •   Unripened Vegetable

  •   Turtle Shell

  •   Bomb

  •   POW (Power Block)
  •   Coin (grants one play at Bonus Chance game)

  •   Cherries (when 5 are collected, Starman appears)

  •   Mushroom Block

  •   Key (unlocks locked Doors)

  •   Magic Potion (grants passage into Sub-space)
  •   Mushroom (adds one Mark to Life Meter and fills life)

  •   Starman (temporary invincibility, after 5 Cherries are collected)

  •   Small Heart (fills one Mark in Life Meter)

  •   Stop Watch (temporarily freezes time on enemies)
Power-Downs No
Main Enemy Wart
Person/Place Being Saved Subcon inhabitants, Subcon
Objective/Goal Rescue Subcon, Defeat Wart to break his spell
Ending? Yes
Secret Code(s)? ???
Stage Select No
Invincibility No
Extra Players No
Continues N/A
Sound Test No
Additional Secret Codes ?
Trivia/Little Known Facts
  • The first sequel for Super Mario Bros. was released in Japan. Its difficulty swayed Nintendo to create a unique sequel of Super Mario Bros. 2 for release abroad.

    The first version of Super Mario Bros. 2 released in Japan

  • The official release date for Super Mario Bros. 2 in North America was October 9, 1988, and later into the following year for PAL regions.

    Doki Doki Panic (of course, this title is essentially the Super Mario Bros. 2 known outside of Japan) was released in Japan on July 10, 1987 — over a year earlier than its reworking and re-release into the wild as Super Mario Bros. 2.

    The original Super Mario Bros. 2 (to be later known as Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, upon its initial release outside of Japan) debuted on June 3, 1986 — over two years earlier than North America's introduction to a Super Mario Bros. sequel!

    Yume Kojo:  Doki Doki Panic
    Doki Doki Panic

  • The official box art for Super Mario Bros. 2 in North America actually comes from the original box art design for the Japanese release of the first Super Mario Bros. in 1985 on the Famicom. Mario is removed from the original art and reversed with a freshly updated vegetable in hand. As an interesting aside, Shigeru Miyamoto actually designed the Famicom cover.

    Box art from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Mario was copied from the original Super Mario Bros., released on the Famicom in 1985.   Mario was lifted from the original, Famicom version of Super Mario Bros. and added to the Super Mario Bros. 2 cover that was released outside of Japan.

  • Spark is the only enemy that appears in Super Mario Bros. 2 that was also featured in another prior Mario-related title. Sparks were present on Donkey Kong Jr. as an electrifying deterrent that Mario used against Donkey Kong Jr. on some of the stages. The Donkey Kong Jr. manual even refers to it by name.

    Spark from Donkey Kong Jr.      Spark from Super Mario Bros. 2.

  • Bob-omb, Ninji, Pokey, Shy Guy, Snifit and Birdo made their debuts in Super Mario Bros. 2. They are some of the new cast of enemies that appear in later Mario-related titles.

    Bob-omb from Super Mario Bros. 2. Ninji from Super Mario Bros. 2. Pokey from Super Mario Bros. 2. Shy Guy from Super Mario Bros. 2. Snifit from Super Mario Bros. 2. Birdo from Super Mario Bros. 2.

  • One wonders about the true intentions for what kind of game, Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic, was originally intended to be. Could it have been secretly planned to be a future Mario title before the Yume Kojo '87 event and the Fuji Corporation's request to work with Nintendo was consummated?

    It was released after the original Super Mario Bros. in Japan and abroad, and after the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2, yet it contained familiar power-ups known in the Mario universe: such as Starman with its invincibility and Coins used in a different manner to earn 1UPs. The main characters could, also, travel down vases or jars — which were, essentially, this game's version of the green pipes from Super Mario Bros. And yes, there are Warps hidden down some of them, as well.

    This is purely speculation since it is fairly common to see similar items or ideas translated across various Nintendo-made titles, especially those by Shigeru Miyamoto across The Legend Of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. series. Nevertheless, there may be something to it. Hmmm...

    Since Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic had some similarities with Super Mario Bros. 2, could it had been planned to be used as a Super Mario game all along?

  • On the box art for Super Mario Bros. 2, Mario is shown leaping in the air with a vegetable in hand (notably a turnip or beet). If you pay close attention, the box shows Mario dressed in red overalls and a blue shirt. However, in the game, he wears blue overalls and a red shirt... the colors are swapped.

    Box art from Super Mario Bros. 2           Mario from Super Mario Bros. 2

  • The game's soundtrack contains an unusual aberration — pausing the game reveals the music stripped of its main melodies! Under this unusual effect, the burden or harmonic bassline continues chugging along with percussive accents still in place, while the main melody is muted out.

    Listen to the samples below. ↓

    Compare the Main Overworld Theme (during normal play) ↓

    Versus the Main Overworld Theme (Paused) ↓

  • A shortened version of the original main theme to Super Mario Bros. plays in Super Mario Bros. 2 when the Player enters Sub-space. Ironically, under normal circumstances, the gamer never gets to hear the whole tune. But, certain exploits or glitches can be triggered that will extend the song to play and loop throughout.

    "Sub-space" ↓

  • The Autobomb enemy that rolls through Subcon has an "M" displayed across it. The game manual doesn't state what the "M" stands for. Perhaps it stems from Mamu, the original name for Wart in Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic. If so, it may be a remnant from Super Mario Bros. 2's secret past that was overlooked during conversion.

    Autobomb from Super Mario Bros. 2

  • Speaking of Mamu or Wart, it is interesting to note that he has never made another appearance in a Super Mario title. However, he has appeared in one of the other prominent series that Shigeru Miyamoto has created.

    In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, which was released on the Game Boy in 1993, Mamu appears as an ally to Link.

    One other interesting note: both games take place in dream worlds.

    Compare the two below (↓):

    Mamu from Link's Awakening or wart from Super Mario Bros. 2 - Are they the same?           Wart from Super Mario Bros. 2

  • Riding the recent wave of success from Super Mario Bros. 2, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! aired in late 1989. The short-lived series, which was part live-action, part animation, centered around storylines that featured a large lineup from the Super Mario Bros. 2 cast of characters. 65 episodes were broadcasted between September 4 and December 1 of that year.

    As an interesting side-note, the animated segment from The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! that aired every Friday, was dedicated to The Legend Of Zelda.

    The Super Mario Bros. Super Show

  • Super Mario Bros. 2 was featured along with a number of other games from similarly-high profile series of the day (The Legend Of Zelda, Mega Man, StarTropics, DuckTales, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, Ninja Gaiden, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Castlevania) in a special gaming guide.

    Officially released by Nintendo, the NES Game Atlas, was printed in 1991. The publication, replete with road signs on its cover, dissected 18 of the best titles the NES had to offer at the time, and created intricately-detailed maps and tips for each game.

    Super Mario Bros. 2 was highlighted and mapped out in the NES Game Atlas.

  • The very first issue of Nintendo's gaming magazine, Nintendo Power, featured Super Mario Bros. 2. That July/August 1988 cover showcased a clay animation-styled rendering of the box art of the game, showing a leaping Mario with vegetable in hand, running across rolling hillsides from Wart. This was the game's first formal announcement.

    The first issue of Nintendo Power, dated from July/August 1988, features Super Mario Bros. 2 on its cover.



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