Transmission Zero

Super Mario Bros. “Minus World”


This page often generates a reaction of “That’s good use of Microsoft Paint!”. However, the images shown here are not fake, rather they demonstrate a bug in the NES version of the original Super Mario Bros. game. This infamous glitch will allow you to access a world which has been dubbed “World −1”, or the “Minus World”.

Performing The Trick

The trick takes place in World 1–2, and is accessed via the Warp Zone at the end of the level. However, instead of walking along the ceiling, past the exit pipe, you must access the the Warp Zone by walking through the wall. Sounds crazy? Well it is!

[Image showing Mario standing on the exit pipe of World 1–2]

To pass through the wall, crouch down near the end of the exit pipe, jump upwards (staying crouched), and push right on the joypad as Mario nears the ceiling. You must be careful not to smash the brick directly to the left of the exit pipe, otherwise it won’t work.

[Image of Mario jumping towards the wall whilst crouching]

It may take several attempts, but once you’ve entered the wall, you’ll find that Mario slides through it on his own.

[Image showing Mario sliding through the wall, and into the Warp Zone]

You will then end up in the Warp Zone. Don’t go too far to the right, otherwise you’ll get the usual “Welcome To Warp Zone” message, and the trick won’t work. If you are using the SNES version, the Warp Zone will take you to Worlds 2, 3, or 4 as usual. However, in the original NES version, the two outer pipes will take you to World −1, and the middle pipe will take you to World 5. It’s actually the same Warp Zone as the one at the end of World 4–2, it’s just that the two outer pipes are not present in World 4–2. If they were present, they would also take you to World −1.

[Image of Mario jumping from the centre pipe in the Warp Zone]

Enter the pipe on the left, and you’ll end up in the “Minus World”!

[Super Mario Bros. level introduction screen, which reads “World −1”]

There’s no real point to the level, other than being a fascinating glitch. Once you enter the pipe at the end of the level, you’ll end up back at the beginning of the level!

[Image of an underwater Super Mario Bros. level, which reads “World −1”]

Why does the “Minus World” exist?

The “Minus World” isn’t a secret bonus level, and in fact isn’t really numbered ‘−1’ at all. The level is actually numbered ‘36–1’, but the number ‘36’ happens to be represented by a blank tile in the game. This gives the impression that the screen reads “World −1”. The world is also identical to World 7–2, because it actually is World 7–2 with a different number.