Breaking video games in exciting ways has become increasingly popular with the rise of Twitch and YouTube. Twitch provided a home for speedrunners and YouTube a home for all of the tricks and experiments that occur along the way. Now, breaking video games fosters a healthy community on its own. The latest target is once more Super Mario Bros. 3, with a previously undiscovered boundary break leading back to a surprising out-of-bounds area of the game.
The boundary break in question happens at the very beginning of Super Mario Bros. 3. YouTuber Shesez is able to glitch off the map of World 1 from the “Start” tile. From there, they move into the upper left corner and go entirely offscreen. Instead of jumping into a new map panel or something similar, however, the game jumps into an entirely different mode. It’s an entirely absurd boundary break discovery.
Once moving Mario off the upper left corner of the map, Super Mario Bros. 3 jumps into the competitive mode where Mario and Luigi face off to be the first to collect five coins. This is where it gets even more interesting. If the player then collects the five coins, defeating their lifeless Luigi opponent, the game will jump back to the World 1: Grass Land map. Only instead of Mario on the world’s “Start” tile, it’ll be Luigi in control.
This is the magic of boundary-breaking, particularly in older games where everything is so closely connected. A completely different part of the game can be just a single screen away, but in a direction that’s otherwise inaccessible without awareness of how to do boundary breaks. Shesez doesn’t explain the particulars of how they break out of the standard game state, or what else is required to reach out-of-bounds, but they make it look simple enough in their video.
Boundary breaks in Super Mario Bros. 3 are nothing new. In fact, YouTuber Shesez has a video from 2017 featuring over 12 minutes of boundary break, which they use to explore otherwise inaccessible areas of the game. They even discover secret Super Mario Bros. 3 glitch levels hidden in each World’s map.
Altogether, the newly discovered out-of-bounds connection in Super Mario Bros. 3 doesn’t result in anything productive. Speedrunners aren’t going to gain any time by visiting this area or switching to Luigi, as this one is just a bit of fun. For every valuable glitch discovered, dozens if not hundreds are found just for the heck of it.
Super Mario Bros. 3 is available on the Switch via a Nintendo Online subscription.