Few things are as satisfying as fully completing a game, especially ones that are sprinkled with plenty of extra content for players to find. Nintendo games in particular are highly admired for the sheer amount of fine detail put into each game, holding everything from franchise references to entire new games. While Nintendo’s GoldenEye 007 may have ten whole games hidden inside its code just waiting for emulation, many Mario games have underground spaces and levels that can grant the player new abilities, or even infinite lives.
In order to uncover many of Mario games’ most sought-after extra content, most players turn to walkthroughs to save time, which is understandable given the depth it takes to dig up the greatest details. Mario fans have made a habit of uncovering the hidden secrets of each game, but only the most advanced completionists have discovered these rare spots.
Mushroom Kingdom – Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey took the world by storm in 2017, revamping players’ love of the plumber with its invigorating and fresh play style that added a twist to that of previous classic Super Mario games, but that’s not all.
Ever wonder what the franchise’s old worlds look like in an extremely polished style? Well, look no further, Super Mario Odyssey outdid itself by including an unlockable Mushroom Kingdom. After finishing the main story and purchasing the game’s Super Mario 64 Suit, players can find Mario unwinding from his journey. Only by using the suit does collecting all the Power Stars become possible.
Princess Peach’s Secret Slide: Super Mario 64
Responsible for some of the most impressive speedruns of all time, Super Mario 64 engulfed the player in its entirely imaginative world. This iconic slide is one that becomes addictive to glide down once it is found.
After collecting the first of the 120 Stars needed to unlock the door to Princess Peach’s room, the area will be available for use. From there, all that is left to do is leap through the rightmost stained-glass window. Once the end of the slide is reached in under 21 seconds, a Power Star can be collected.
Casino Delfino – Super Mario Sunshine
The nostalgic wonderland that is Super Mario Sunshine is perhaps unmatched to this day, earning its reputation as one of the best Mario games to have ever been created, leaving fans itching for a sequel that may never come.
As if the game couldn’t get any better, a secret level can be ascertained when entering Hotel Delfino. Disregarding the Blue Coins there and hitting the first floor to talk to a pink Pianta brings players to the casino. Scoring a 777 on the slot machine, it will reveal a secret level where Mario can gather a Shine. A similar thing can even be done with the hotel’s red coins.
Grand Finale Galaxy – Super Mario Galaxy
The fan-favorite Super Mario Galaxy brought Mario and players to places they had never even dreamed of being before. But that’s not all, as one location can only be unlocked by both Mario and Luigi’s efforts.
To be awarded with access to the hard-earned locations, both brothers must collect all 120 stars, which will bring the player to the Grand Finale Galaxy, an astonishing spectacle to behold. Then, once 100 purple coins are obtained and mail toad is conversed with, the player is rewarded with a congratulatory picture that is posted to the Wii’s message board.
Castle Roof: Super Mario 64
Super Mario 64’s release in 1996 was every gamer’s dream, exposing Mario to a three-dimensional world that brought the franchise’s difficulty to another level. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
At the beginning of the game, the castle’s roof is unreachable until the player collects all 120 stars and the cannon outside the castle is unlocked. Using this, Mario can be fired onto the roof to speak with Yoshi and obtain 99 lives. Furthermore, Mario receives an enhanced triple jump and no longer takes fall damage while holding down A thanks to the Wing Cap.
Minus World – Super Mario Bros. (NES)
A glitch level discovered in Super Mario Bros known as the Minus World is an underwater level that never actually loads, leaving Mario in a black limbo until game over or a reset. Earning its name due to the World -1 the screen displays, it was actually supposed to display 36-1.
The world can only be reached at the end of the underground section in World 1-2, by standing on the leftmost pipe while crouching and facing left. Then, the player must quickly jump right to land in the perfect spot to pass through the wall. Fortunately for owners of the Famicom Disk System, the Minus World can truly be completed and the player will be taken to Worlds –2 then –3, where Princess Peach will be awaiting her savior.
Star World – Super Mario World
Super Mario World contains many hidden details and secrets levels for players to sink their teeth into, but Star World is by far the trickiest of them all. There are a total of 5 levels in this artistic world, along with an array of different colored Yoshis.
The key to accessing the world is acquiring peculiar star rod keys, the first of which is given to players after defeating a Ghost House on Donut Island, then using them in keyholes located at secret exits within each level of the world. On top of this, another hidden world can be found by beating every Star World level.
Koopa Troopa Cave – Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Exploits in newer Mario games, like Super Mario 3D World, can be scarce to come across. However, once they are unearthed, it can make all the difference, and sometimes give Mario much more lives than he would ever need.
In World 1-2 of Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, Koopa Troopa Cave has a secret underground area that can be used to do just that. After going through the first green pipe, followed by the first clear pipe there, ground pounding on some mysterious blocks will cause Mario to enter an even deeper area. From here, he can pass through a cave to knock out a Koopa and use its shell to get as many lives as his heart desires.
Hidden Room – Luigi’s Mansion
The GameCube’s Luigi’s Mansion is not only responsible for the funniest Luigi memes, but includes many secret areas. The best of these is, without question, the hidden room that is located in the second area of the game.
To enter it, Luigi must find a mouse hole in the butler’s room and inspect it using Luigi’s Game Boy Horror. Following this, he will be sucked into the hole and discover a secret fortune, 8 separate chests full of treasure. However, caution is required when opening each of them, as mischievous Boos are ready to pop out and threaten the skittish protagonist.
Secret Levels – Super Mario Bros. (NES)
The most elusive and tedious hidden locations of any Mario game can be found in none other than Super Mario Bros for the NES, by utilizing a slew of other games for the console. First, the player will need an original copy of the game and a top-loading NES.
Insert the game and enter level 1-1, then pull out the cartridge, insert a copy of the game Tennis and start playing. Once a minute has passed, putting Super Mario Bros back in its place and pushing the reset button will reveal a new Mario level. The trick works with up to 256 NES cartridges, each unlocking a new secret level, but it’s dangerous for the console. Instead, find a Game Genie and input codes AANAAXZG and NNXAZZYE to safely receive every level.