While everyone knows that the Mario games series has been popular since it launched during the 1980s, not everyone knows that even the creator of Sonic the Hedgehog drew inspiration from it. This long-running success is down to innovative worlds and levels like these 10.
1. Level 8 Crown
This is the really hard final secret level in the Super Mario 3D Land game and requires you to claim no less than 290 Star Medals, beat each stage with Luigi as well as Mario and grab the Golden Flag Pole to make this level your own.
2. Negative World
The most well-known secret level in the original Super Mario Bros instalment of the series, Negative World is an underwater level and includes some unlikely company for Mario – such as a goomba.
3. Castle Roof Trick
The accepted way to reach the roof of the castle owned by Peach in Super Mario 64 is by dutifully securing all 120 Stars first – but you can speed things up if you are skilled in executing the Mario triple jump move. Go to the right end of the castle’s courtyard and start triple jumping using the hill and walls to help you reach the top.
4. Grate Guy’s Casino
One of the secret casino levels in Mario games, you get to the casino controlled by Grate Guy in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars by using the Bean Valley hidden passage
, beating the waiting Chomp Chomp and entering with a Bright Card. You can then win the Star Egg or Frog Coins by playing slots, blackjack and other games.
5. Star World
Super Mario World offered five Star World secret levels with Yoshis to be collected for use later and culminated in Star World 5, where the secret exit to the final Special World was hidden.
6. Special World
A really hard level to claim, this finale to Super Mario World
had lots of incredibly hard stages – with the last being the ‘Awesome’ one featuring angular, icy slopes to be negotiated while avoiding Bullet Bills.
7. Secret of Casino Delfino
There is a complex secret casino level on Delfino Island in Super Mario Sunshine. Accessed via the Hotel Casino’s fifth floor, scoring 777 on the twin slots and making a Shine Sprite from the question marks on the board provides entry to the next secret level where you can claim a Shine.
8. Retro Mario
Super Mario RPG features a secret level where Mario goes back in time to become an 8-bit animation, and is accessed by taking Mario behind one of the curtains in a small room within Booster Tower.
9. Autumn Re-skin
Having overcome the hard challenges of Super Mario World’s Special World, you will have the option of ‘re-skinning’ the entire game – changing everything from world map to colour scheme and taking on enemies wearing fresh masks in an autumnal Yoshi’s Island.
10. Negative Warp Zones
Found within Super Mario Bros 2, these are accessed by avoiding the standard World 3-1 exit by jumping over it using the trampoline. It is something of a mixed blessing though, as the Negative Warp Zone can only be escaped from through suicide or going back to the very start!
March the 10th will see the annual Mario Day
created to honour this games series, and you can always mark it by seeking out these secret levels.