When Japanese video game company Nintendo decided to target the North American market in 1985, they knew their chances of success hinged on the public response to Super Mario Bros. The game, which pits swarthy Italian plumber Mario against Bowser and his minions, was bundled with the system and became a productivity-killing pastime for millions of children and adults.
It turns out the game was a lot easier to play than it seemed: Players didn’t have to start the entire thing over when they ran out of lives.
According to Lifehacker, the feature was recently excavated in a now-viral TikTok video from RetroGamingOnline. Normally, players who run out of lives have to begin the game at level 1-1, even if they progressed all the way to world 8. But if you press the A button and then Start after being killed once back on the home screen, Mario will be automatically transported to the last world he was in.
Say you plummet to your death in 5-3. Pressing A and Start means you can resume the game in 5-1 instead of 1-1.
The video has caused some controversy, with some ‘80s players insisting they already knew of the “hack” and others discovering it for the first time. It wasn’t included in the manual for the game, so it would have likely been disclosed via gaming magazines or word of mouth. The trick should work on the original NES cartridge, as well as the Wii U and Switch Online versions.
The news follows a similar revelation in 2018 that the duck in Duck Hunt could be controlled by a second player using a controller.
While these tricks may blow your mind, you can save your breath blowing into dirty NES cartridges: that old trick never really worked.