The Super Mario Bros 3 (GBA) E-levels thread

Apr 11, 2008
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#1
Super Mario 3 is awesome in both its original NES incarnation or its later ports. But as it was being ported to the GBA in the form of Super Mario Advance 4 Super Mario Bros 3, someone had a brilliant idea: why not create a load of new levels that employed mechanics from the entire Super Mario 2D continuum!

And then someone else had a brilliant (SHIT) idea: why not make people pay for an obscure accessory, and purchase/collect obscure cards for it, to play the levels!



And thus, approx. 40 new levels were born for Super Mario Bros. 3!

(Note: decision-making process may not have actually happened like this.)

I'm sure many of you already know this history too, but what has recently caught my interest in this subject is VGMaps.com's mapped-out levels. I've never actually seen them before, and though its sad to see what I'm missing, its nice to see the only Nintendo-designed 2D Mario levels developed in the decade between Yoshi's Island and NSMB.

Anway, thought I'd share the interesting ones. Credit to a person called "Peardian" who made the maps for the site. I've shrunk these ones down so they do not consume the forum, the full size ones can be found by following the above link.
















Note the features from other Mario games: Charging chucks (SMW), Flying-platform hammer-brother (SMW), Giant vegetables and vines (SMB2) and flipper-doors (YI). The levels seem to be designed as challenges to test experienced SMB3 players, many are mazes, some possess fiendishly-tricky platorming, and bosses have been refined and remixed.

I made this thread so that we could discuss the pros/cons of these levels, but also to say to any Nintendo employees who are reading this, if/when you release Super Mario Advance 4 Super Mario Bros. 3 for the DSi Downloadable Software, please intergrate these levels back into the game!
 

Wii

Banned
May 1, 2006
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#4
Mama Robotnik said:
I made this thread so that we could discuss the pros/cons of these levels, but also to say to any Nintendo employees who are reading this, if/when you release Super Mario Advance 4 Super Mario Bros. 3 for the DSi Downloadable Software, please intergrate these levels back into the game!
Unfortunately that's not how Nintendo works.

There is no feedback loop!
 
Jun 7, 2004
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#7
Yeah I wanted to get hold of the cards but gave up on it since it was gonna be dear near impossible.

If it gets DSi Ware or whatever format, definitely would like these to be included!

*waves money to Nintendo*
 
Oct 30, 2004
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#8
alistairw said:
There were a bunch that never got released, right?
Japan and America each got some exclusive levels, and neither got enough levels to properly unlock all the "Ace Coin"-based rewards. And Europe just got shafted. And I think the cards don't work cross-region, but I can't say that for absolutely certain.

What drove me crazy is that they didn't even include a few new levels as a tease for people without the e-Reader. You had to have the damn peripheral, and I think even access to a second GBA to play them.
 

Wii

Banned
May 1, 2006
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#9
If I recall correctly, someone dumped the data off all of the e-reader cards ever made.
So you could reverse-interpret the data and make an romhack with those identical levels if you knew what you were doing.
 
Apr 11, 2008
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#12
Wii said:
Unfortunately that's not how Nintendo works.

There is no feedback loop!
Nonesense! Zelda: Twilight Princess seemed heavily influenced by what the fans were asking for, and turned out to be the best Zelda ga....

Oh. Damn.

(In my opinion, the more eclectic projects that have followed a designer's unqiue vision, MM or WW say, were much better Zeldas. Nintendo should follow their own visions. But surely demanding the e-reader levels is harmless?! Right?)
 
Dec 14, 2007
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#17
I have the series 1 and 2 e-Reader cards but not the bs Wal-Mart exclusive cards that you had to buy a whole GBA to get (I think). The extras are really cool, if you have access to the cards.
 
Nov 9, 2007
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#19
the bs Wal-Mart exclusive cards that you had to buy a whole GBA to get (I think).
No, they were packed in with the game itself (IIRC the box had a sticker in the corner advertising the additional exclusive cards). However, I'm pretty sure it was only for the first print run of it, and only at Wal-Mart.
 
Aug 3, 2006
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#20
JodyAnthony said:
I remember seeing somewhere where you could print off e-reader codes. then again, that's probably considered piracy, so I dunno.
I did print the Japan-only ones, which were hacked so they worked on a U.S. copy of the game. They were a bitch to read and required me to find one very specific laser printer at work—no inkjet printers or other laser printers would create something that would scan.

Giard said:
Are the levels downloaded by e-reader cards temporary? Or could you download a saved game that includes all e-reader levels?
They could be saved to the cart permanently as they were beaten (and I think it could store one). It was a pretty crazy decision, though, because if you had it in mind that you were going to tackle a number of them, you'd have to go hook up the e-Reader again every time you finished one and went on to the next. I believe there weren't as many slots as there were levels, too.
 
Jun 12, 2008
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#21
Yeah, I HAVE to play these levels now. SMB3 with extra content is a simple no-brainer in terms of must-plays. The decision to make them e-Reader exclusive was silly even back then when I first heard of it.

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't most of the newer level packs not even release outside of Japan?
 

MisterHero

Super Member
Jul 24, 2007
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#22
don't forget hidden powers/features like having the Cape and throwing Vegetables

they took away SMB3's VS feature so NSMB's VS feature is infinitely superior by default

also

*shoves aside concept of personal opinion*
Mama Robotnik's wrong. TP is the best Zelda ever!!!!111!!
 

Slappy967

Neo Member
Jun 29, 2008
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#23
I actually owned an E-Reader and a few of the cards and I never once could get the SMBA4 levels to work. I had no problems getting Balloon Fight and Donkey Kong 3 working but the best reason to own the E-reader didn't even work :(
 
Apr 18, 2005
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#24
I loved the eReader cards with SMB3. I even got the Wal-Mart version of SMB3 with the exclusive extra cards. I also hate that they didn't put out the last two series, but what they did put out was great fun. :D

P.S. Air Hockey-e was also fun. I'm still waiting for an Air Hockey DS game that I can access (there was a downloadable version available at E3 2005, IIRC), too. Can Wii homebrew apps help in that regard to get a DS demo out?
 
Oct 24, 2005
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#25
I loved the e-Rader levels in SMB3, and still go back once in a while for a romp through SMB 1-1 with veggies in it.

donny2112 said:
P.S. Air Hockey-e was also fun. I'm still waiting for an Air Hockey DS game that I can access (there was a downloadable version available at E3 2005, IIRC), too. Can Wii homebrew apps help in that regard to get a DS demo out?
I don't know the legality of it, but someone captured that E3 Table Hockey demo among other E3 demos and put them on the internet.
 
Aug 3, 2006
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#26
AzureJericho said:
Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't most of the newer level packs not even release outside of Japan?
Yeah, you could only get a couple of the Classic worlds and ten of the new worlds in the U.S. I remember buying the last of each of the two card packs at two different GameStops...
 
Apr 11, 2008
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#27
Just found some good videos showing a sampling of the e-reader levels. I feel they give a better sense of scale than the maps.

http://tr.youtube.com/watch?v=mE-2dBLuUm4

http://tr.youtube.com/watch?v=8sbZMLkYgfM

Some of them look very challenging, far more than anything Nintendo delivered in NSMB. I miss challenging Nintendo games...!

HUELEN10 said:
BTW, excellent thread as usual Mama!
Thanks, I always like discussing the retro and obscure stuff.

zigg said:
I did print the Japan-only ones, which were hacked so they worked on a U.S. copy of the game. They were a bitch to read and required me to find one very specific laser printer at work—no inkjet printers or other laser printers would create something that would scan.
That is insane. Do you remember the name of the blessed printer, just out of curiosity?

MisterHero said:
*shoves aside concept of personal opinion*
Mama Robotnik's wrong. TP is the best Zelda ever!!!!111!!
Damn, well that's me proven wrong!
 

Mejilan

Running off of Custom Firmware
Jun 9, 2004
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#28
I think I have all of the US cards. It was my first ever Walmart purchase, and I have all of the series cards released in the US. I'm still pissed we never got series 3 and 4, though. I had them preordered forever, only to see the release date get pushed further and further back, until finally, my order was canceled.
 
Jan 6, 2005
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#31
Mama Robotnik said:
Nonesense! Zelda: Twilight Princess seemed heavily influenced by what the fans were asking for, and turned out to be the best Zelda ga....

Oh. Damn.

(In my opinion, the more eclectic projects that have followed a designer's unqiue vision, MM or WW say, were much better Zeldas. Nintendo should follow their own visions. But surely demanding the e-reader levels is harmless?! Right?)

0.99 cents per level

Nintendo hasn't yet entered the DLC market. They soon will.


Edit: how much 'new' data were actually being downloaded via e-reader? just tile arrangements ? Were there new sprites/music ?
 
Aug 17, 2007
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#33
Interesting time for this topic to reappear...I bid for an e-reader recently. For some reason I really wanted one in its heyday, and was furious when they didn't release it over here in Europe...then again, I got waaaaaay too much playtime out of my Game Boy Camera+printer, guess I had a thing for ridiculous peripherals :p

I hope I can track some of the SMB3 cards, it's crazy they limited so many levels in such a contrived way...but dammit if I'm not going to try playing some of them :)
 

Lindsay

Dot Hacked
Jul 21, 2004
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#34
This was a cool feature but it always made me sad they didn't release all the levels! I do remember some hard levels mostly scrolling ones... x.x Stuff was cool plus having the Cape in regular Mario 3 levels was fun!

NOA gave up on the e-reader way to fast.
 

m3k

Member
Jul 24, 2007
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#35
im pretty sure i read that these could be remade

i loved the idea but didnt have the money to buy the ereader... and the super mario bro's 3 pictures always looked unappealing to me... also i worried that id have to be really careful with the cards or they wouldnt work

wasnt advertised properly i think, i thought it just added extra secret areas to levels, not full levels to play
 
Feb 5, 2008
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#37
Hopefully Nintendo will release a Super Mario All Stars game for the 3DS and include these levels with Super Mario Bros 3. They look great, I would love to play them all someday.
 
Jun 27, 2007
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#39
Drkirby said:
Is there any way to get these to work on an Emulator yet? Or some place to print out the dot codes and run them though?
Yes, there's a way to run the levels on an emulator (No$GBA), but isn't very easy. You need a hacked save file for the second machine (which will emulate SMA4), e-reader dot codes and of course, e-reader and SMA4 dumps. The worst part is that the emu is buggy when emulating two GBA at the same time, so you need to do some configuration actions in a particular order. IMO, not worth the hassle.
 

m3k

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Jul 24, 2007
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#40
Drkirby said:
Is there any way to get these to work on an Emulator yet? Or some place to print out the dot codes and run them though?
doing a google search shows that people can create their own roms but they are having difficulty with saving to the ereader

obviously it doesnt seem like many people have the tools for doing this and after skimming through one forum it seems like they are kind of in an inbetween stage of full emulation

seems like someone mentioned trouble in attaching these to games like super mario advance 4... where as the printing and reading of full nes/ nes like games is more or less done
 
Apr 18, 2005
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#41
donny2112 said:
I also hate that they didn't put out the last two series,
Me, too. CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY. The chance for more new levels in Super Mario Bros. 3, and they drop support!

Yes, I know I'm replying to myself, but my opinion hasn't changed. :D

GaussTek said:
Yes, there's a way to run the levels on an emulator (No$GBA), but isn't very easy.
You could just, I don't know, get two GBAs, the game, an e-Reader, and the cards.

Back when they came out, I bought an extra Wal-Mart version and the Series 1 and 2 cards to sell one eBay. Sold it to someone in Europe, which worked out great since it was never released there. I think I still have a couple of sealed packs somewhere, too. We need series 3 and 4 released ASAP!
 

Andrex

ὁ αἴσχιστος παῖς εἶ
Apr 14, 2007
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#42
I'm watching these levels being played on YouTube, and everything about them is amazing, the level design is so tight, some of them seem even better than NSMBW. One thing that's annoying me though, is the voice soundbits for almost every little thing. v_v
 
#43
A little less than a month ago I bought a mixed handful of SMB 3 e-cards off ebay. Well, after mastering the three level cards that came in that haul and the two level cards that came with the game itself, I got the fever. So in the last few weeks I ebay'd the following, new and sealed, not cheap aquisitions by any means:





And after opening them, here are my set 1 cards:



...and my set 2 cards:



Parabeetle Challenge is the hardest time you will ever have getting challenge coins in a SMB game. These levels are incredible and like I said, the power up cards are a blast to mess with (Hey Zigg, I still need to try the SMW fire-coin switch :) ) Anyways, for those that are interested, I still have my original scattered set of levels and power ups (plus one speed run demo card) in case anyone wants to buy or trade something for them, here they are before I move them to the sales thread in a week or so:

 

BocoDragon

or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Realize This Assgrab is Delicious
Dec 5, 2005
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#46
It would be interesting to see this work on a Mario game with a Dragon Quest 9-style "tag mode" or event downloadable maps or whatever.