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As Super Mario Bros. 3 turns 30, we remember why it was great

Gloves off.

Super Mario Bros 3. turns 30 today - a milestone for perhaps the greatest NES game ever.

Nintendo's platformer, which came out in Japan on 23rd October 1988, introduced a number of new features into the Mario side-scrolling platforming gameplay, including flying and a world map.

There was a wonderful mystery to the game, too, that endured through playground whispers in the pre-internet era. How could you get behind the level? What happened if you flew up there? How could you warp to the secrets? From the moment the curtain raised, I was entranced.

Mario 3 wouldn't launch in the UK until August 1991, which meant my first experience of it was via the 1989 movie The Wizard, which ended with a scene that was little more than an advert for the game.

It worked! Eight-year-old me couldn't believe what he was seeing. The hype was all-too real.

What is Super Mario Bros 3.'s legacy? The world map idea carried over into SNES game Super Mario World, and flying is now a staple ability for the Italian plumber. Mario 3 is certainly fondly-remembered.

So, here's to you, Super Mario Bros. 3. A formative video game for a generation, and Nintendo - and the NES - at the peak of its power. Many happy returns.

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Wesley Yin-Poole avatar

Wesley Yin-Poole


Wesley worked at Eurogamer from 2010 to 2023. He liked news, interviews, and more news. He also liked Street Fighter more than anyone could get him to shut up about it.