Mario Bros.
Arcade flyer
Developer(s) Nintendo
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Platform(s) Arcade platform icon NES platform icon Game Boy Advance platform icon Virtual Console (Wii) platform icon Virtual Console (3DS) platform icon Virtual Console (Wii U) platform icon
Genre(s) Platform
Soundtrack(s) Famicom Sound History Series: Mario the Music

03ESRB - E  01PEGI 3  01CERO A  01Australian Classification Board - G

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Mario Bros. (マリオブラザーズ, Mario Brothers in Japan) is an arcade video game by Nintendo. Released in 1983, Mario Bros. is the successor to Donkey Kong and predecessor to Super Mario Bros. The game is noteworthy for being the first multiplayer Mario game and is also the first appearance of Mario's brother, Luigi.

Despite debuting in the arcades, Mario Bros. has appeared on countless home platforms and handhelds, including Nintendo systems such as the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Virtual Boy, as well as an extra in games such as Super Mario Bros. 3 and all four Super Mario Advance games as well as Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.

Mario Bros. expanded upon the Mario franchise. It gave Mario a history and introduced new characters as well as a brand new occupation as being a plumber in New York. Various aspects of the game, including the location and his heritage as an Italian-American, would be altered in future games as Earth is taken out of the equation and the series is granted its own universe.


In this game, Mario, along with his brother Luigi, have to defeat creatures that have emerged from the sewers in New York City.


In Mario Bros., the player will take control of Mario. Luigi is also available as a playable character to a second player who wishes to work competitively or cooperatively alongside another player. There are various stages in Mario Bros., and in each one the ultimate goal is to eliminate the threat of pesky critters that have been infiltrating New York's sewers. Stages consists of four levels, including the very bottom one. In order to defeat an enemy, the player is requested to go directly underneath the platform the enemy is on and jump.

If the portion of the platform that the enemy is on rises, then it will topple over (note this is not the case with some enemies that require multiple hits). Once this has been accomplished, the player is requested to go to the enemy and kick it off the screen, thus eliminating it from the game. If an enemy reaches the bottom of the stage, the only way the player can destroy it is by hitting the POW block (which can only be done a limited amount of times). Once the enemy crawls off screen, it will eventually come back out of the pipe at the top.
Mario bros
After a stage is completed, the next one begins. When a player reaches the farthest side of a stage, whether it be to the left or right, they will always pop out at the opposite end of the platform. For example, if they walk to the very right side of the stage and continue to walk, they'll reappear at the left side of the platform.

This is the same case with all types of enemies excluding fireballs, suggesting that you're actually in a circle like area, or a big pipe. If you kick 2 enemies in a row, you'll get a 2 combo, doubling the points you would have gotten if you had kicked the enemies separately. The combos work as follows:

  • 2 Combo: 2x 1600
  • 3 Combo: 2x 2400
  • 4 Combo: 2x 3200
  • 5 Combo 2x 3200
  • 6 Combo 2x 1UP

This combo system may only work for the Game Boy Advance versions of the game.

In the game there are bonus rounds where the goal is to rack up as many points as possible by collecting the coins that are scattered throughout the stage. Bonus rounds appear on level 3 (4 in the Japanese version), 8 (9 in the Japanese version), 15 (16 in the Japanese version), 22 (23 in the Japanese version), and 29 (30 in the Japanese version).

In the bonus stage there are ten coins that are placed in the same place every time (two on the bottom level, two on the second, four on the third, and two at the top). There are no enemies in the Bonus Stage, and as the game puts it is simply to "test your skill". The first time the player participates in a bonus round they'll be given twenty seconds to collect all of the coins, though every other time they'll be given only fifteen. The first bonus stage is relatively normal, though on the second bonus stage all of the platforms excluding the bottom one are frozen, and on the third, fourth and fifth stages the platforms are all invisible.


  • Shellcreeper: There are two types of Shellcreepers in the game including Green Shellcreepers and Red Shellcreepers. They're the simplest form of enemy and are the predecessors, forerunners, and possibly ancestors to the Koopa Troopa of later games. A single jump from underneath will cause them to turn over regardless of their color. Following this the player is requested to kick them away. The only difference between the two is that the red variations are a bit faster.
  • Sidestepper: The Sidesteppers resemble crabs, and there are three types including Red Sidesteppers, Green Sidesteppers and Pink Sidesteppers. Sidesteppers first appear on the scene on the fourth (fifth in the Japanese version) round. In order to defeat a Sidestepper, the player is required to jump underneath their platform twice before they are completely knocked on their head. Following that, the player can kick them away. After the first bop they start to increase in speed. The Red Sidestepper is the slowest of the bunch, the green is in the middle and the pink is the fastest.
  • Fighterfly: The Firefly first appears on the sixth (seventh in Japan) stage of the game. They're tricky because they are constantly jumping, and the only way to flip them over is to knock them when they are on the ground. Unlike the Sidesteppers, they only require one punch from underneath. Once they're on their head, the player can knock them away as they can any other enemy. This is the last of the standard enemies that the player will encounter in the game.
  • Slipice: The last creature the Mario bros. encounter, is the icicle-like enemy, called a Slipice, or Freezie in later games. They can be defeated by being hit from underneath, and don't have any other defenses. If the Mario Bros. fail to be defeat the Slipice in time, the platform it is standing on will become covered in ice, and will make it harder to control the brothers while on the platform. Slipices have made the most appearances outside this game, than any other enemy included in Mario Bros.


An obstacle to appear in the sewers, are the Red and Green Fireballs. If touched by a brother, he will be defeated. Red Fireballs move in an up and down pattern, whereas the Green Fireballs move straight across the screen, not being effected by gravity (Something taken into effect in Super Smash Bros. Melee). They can be defeated by a hit from underneath, if the fireball is touching the platform. Otherwise, there is no other way to defeat them. Icicles, which hang from the top of platforms, will occasionally appear in stages. When they drop from the platform, it is best to stay clear out of their way since they'll automatically kill either of the brothers if it touches them.


Mario Bros. was successful enough to warrant various ports. Ports for Nintendo manufactured systems were both published and developed by Nintendo, though Nintendo also licensed the game to other developers for them to create for their home consoles. The game was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Famicom (under the name Kaettekita Mario Bros. for the latter). It appeared as a mini-game in the NES title Super Mario Bros. 3, and the NES port was featured in the GameCube video game Animal Crossing and was distributed through the Virtual Console in all major regions.

For the SNES, the game Super Mario All-Stars contained a remade version of the game within Super Mario Bros. 3. Finally, all four of the Super Mario Advance games contained Mario Bros. as well as Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. The video game Famicom Mini: Mario Bros. was released exclusively in Japan for the Game Boy Advance, and the game Mario Bros.-e was released for the e-Reader.

Mario Bros. Special and Punch Ball Mario Bros. were both released by Hudson Soft for release on the Fujitsu FM-7. Hudson Soft was given the license to create the game, and both titles are generally considered to be above par. In Punch Ball Mario Bros. players are required to kick balls into the enemies and then knock them off the stage. A version was created for the Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, and XE. The atari 2600 versions graphics were significantly inferior to the arcade version, with far less detail and a line instead of the POW block. A Commodore 64 version was also released.

Super Mario Advance


Mario Bros. in the Super Mario Advance games.

Every game in the Super Mario Advance (Including Super Mario Advance, Super Mario Advance 2, Super Mario Advance 3 and Super Mario Advance 4) series came with an enhanced version of Mario Bros. It was also included in the Mario role-playing game Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. People have criticized this, claiming that other games could have been provided instead. On total Mario Bros. has been released on the Game Boy Advance seven times when the e-Reader and Famicom Mini games are included. When the Virtual Console re-release of the game was launched, most reviewers noted that if you already had a Game Boy Advance there was a good chance that you already owned the game. Some of the upgrades included:

  • The game featured updated sprites for Mario and Luigi.
  • The game featured backgrounds to each level.
  • While the Fighterflies and Sidesteppers had been retained, the Shellcreepers were replaced with Spinies.
  • Mario & Luigi were given voices, much like the Super Mario Advance series itself.
  • Various music from other Mario games were used, such as the underworld theme while in the lava world.
  • The Sidesteppers and Fighterflies were redesigned.
  • The title screen was updated.
  • Mario & Luigi were given their super jump ability from Super Mario Bros. 2.



Mario Bros. is one of the most pivotal games in the series. Various aspects from the game would later be integrated into future Mario titles. The brothers' occupation as plumbers would be retained and pipes, which were introduced in this title, would appear in nearly every future title. Coins, which were present in the bonus stages of Mario Bros., would become the primary form of currency in the Mario series.

Luigi, Mario's brother, would following this title be a prominent character and appear in most of the main games as well as spinoffs. The Shellcreeper design would eventually evolve into what is the Koopa Troopa, while Fighterflies would be included in Super Mario Land and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. Clawgrip from Super Mario Bros. 2 would be revealed to be a Sidestepper in Super Mario Advance. The crabs from Mario Kart: Super Circuit are suspected to be Sidesteppers due to the resemblance.

There is a stage based on this game in Super Smash Bros Brawl. It appears in its retro form. This stage has narrow KO zones, making it hard to score normal KO. However, players can stun the enemies that appear on the stage (Shellcreeper or Sidestepper) by hitting them from below through a floor, pick them up and then throw it at someone. A POW Block also appears in this stage.

Certain elements of Mario and Luigi such as their Italian-American background, their occupation as New York plumbers and enetering another world via the sewers provided the narrative basis for the notorious 1993 film adaptation, Super Mario Bros.

It is one of the 16 games included in NES Remix.


Mario Bros. was created by Shigeru Miyamoto and Gunpei Yokoi, two of the lead developers for the video game Donkey Kong. Donkey Kong had become one of Nintendo's biggest hits in years. Inevitably a host of sequels would follow. Donkey Kong Jr. was a direct sequel, but with its follow up Miyamoto would focus more on the protagonist of the first game and omit Donkey Kong altogether. In Donkey Kong, Mario dies if he falls too far. Yokoi suggested to Miyamoto that he should be able to fall from any height, which Miyamoto was not sure of, thinking that it would make it "not much of a game."

He eventually agreed, thinking it would be okay for him to have some super-human abilities. He designed a prototype that had Mario "jumping and bouncing around", which he was satisfied with. No longer would it be possible for Mario to die if he was to fall from a great hieght such as he was in the Donkey Kong game. Also the element of combating enemies from below was introduced after Yokoi suggested it, observing that it would work since there were multiple floors. However, it proved to be too easy to eliminate enemies this way, which the developers fixed by requiring players to touch the enemies after they've been flipped to defeat them. This was also how they introduced the turtle as an enemy, which they conceived as an enemy that could only be hit from below.

Because of Mario's appearance in Donkey Kong with overalls, a hat, and a thick moustache, Shigeru Miyamoto thought that he should be a plumber as opposed to a carpenter, and designed this game to reflect that. Another contributing factor was the game's setting: it was a large network of giant pipes, so they felt a change in occupation was necessary for him. A popular story of how Mario went from Jumpman to Mario is that an Italian-American landlord, Mario Segale, had barged in on Nintendo of America's staff to demand rent, and they decided to name Jumpman after him. Miyamoto also felt that the best setting for this game was New York because of its "labyrinthine subterranean network of sewage pipes.

The pipes were inspired by several manga, which Miyamoto states features waste grounds with pipes lying around it. In this game, they were used in a way to allow the enemies to enter and exit the stage through them to avoid getting enemies piled up on the bottom of the stage. The green coloring of the pipes, which Nintendo president Satoru Iwata calls an uncommon color, came from Miyamoto having a limited color palette and wanting to keep things colorful. He added that green was the best because it worked well when two shades of it were combined. The music of the game is based around the beginning of Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik.

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