As a kid, I loved vertical shooters. Ones like Galaga and Xevious, I specifically remember Galaga 88 being my favorite. Thus I never really got into other video games, until I was about eight years old.
My grandmother got me (Or my family, I don’t remember) a Wii for Christmas one year, along with it she bought some Pokemon game, and a few others which I can’t remember. I remember really liking Pokemon, but I wasn’t very good at it. But then my parents discovered the virtual console. My dad got me Galaga 88 (Even though I already had it on my computer via emulator), and my mom got Super Mario Bros. 3.
I had heard of Mario but never knew what he was about. In fact I kind of thought he was stupid. Boy was I wrong about that however. I watched my mom play the game for a little while, and my mind had been blown. I think it had something to do with the goombas, I have no idea. But somehow, I automatically loved it. I played single player all the time, and sometimes my mom and I would play it together, and we had so much fun!
After that, I got into other Mario games, I played the first three, I discovered Super Mario World (Which to this day is my favorite), and then Super Mario 64, and so many more games.
Later on, I started collecting the old consoles and the old games, and played them over and over and over again. I discovered how to hack the games, make them different, unfair and difficult, or mind blowingly easy. I also messed around with glitches within the games, just for the fun of it. But when I performed a certain glitch, something happened, that I’ll never forget.
April 10th, 5 PM
I was busting through Mario 3’s glitches on the NES out of boredom since I had nothing to do. I was basically just going down the Mario 3 wiki like a checklist. Then I stumbled upon the infinite warp whistle glitch. If you don’t know, the warp whistle is a secret item you can find in certain stages that let you skip to other worlds. According to the Mario 3 wiki what I was supposed to do was get the first two warp whistles in world one, then save and quit the game. Then turn it back on, and all the levels (except for the castle and hammer bro’s) would re-open. Then I could play world 1-3, get the warp whistle, and repeat the process as many times as I wanted.
However it said the glitch hasn’t been tested on the NES, but only in the All-Stars version. So I figured I’d look for myself to see if it worked. It didn't have a data saving function so I just reset the game and, surprisingly it did work, but something odd happened later on. I only did the glitch once, so I had three warp whistles. After I used both the normal ones, the glitched one changed color, in fact I don’t think it even changed color at all. It looked like the color was sucked out of it, itwas just black and white. But I passed it off as just being a glitch. But when I used it, things went wrong. The pitch of the melody you hear when you used it changed every few seconds, and when the tornado reached Mario the screen glitched constantly and random 8-bit noises played with no pattern whatsoever. Then suddenly, a small white flash and a loud bang came from my NES. My TV screen was blank, like the NES wasn’t even plugged in. As I opened the NES to retrieve the game, smoke emerged from the inside. Had the glitch actually destroyed my NES? Thats crazy, how can a glitch do that?
Well thankfully my NES wasn’t broken, all my other games played just fine. Mario 3 however wouldn’t turn on. I must have burned the game on the inside or something. I opened up the cartridge and the motherboards seemed unharmed. The game must be too old.
After thoroughly cleaning the cartridge, I actually got the game to work again. Although everything in the game seemed altered. Mario wasn’t on the title screen, or any of the enemies or power-ups, it was just empty. Then Mario poked his head out from behind a bush on the screen. He stepped out from behind the bush and started pacing back and forth as if he were looking for something. I figured this must be a glitch seeing as I nearly destroyed the game, but it didn’t look glitched.
I started up the game after watching Mario for awhile. When I entered world one, the theme was slowed down and the pitch was deeper with an occasional random noise. The palette had also been changed, everything except for Mario was in black and white. I started to play as I normally would, the levels themselves had similar music glitches and black and white palettes, however the palettes would occasionally spaz out on certain enemies or foreground objects. And occasionally a tile or foreground object would be in a random place.
This didn’t really strike me as odd seeing as, again, I almost destroyed the game earlier. What I did find odd however, were the messages displayed in different places. The first one I noticed was in world 1-3 when I tried to get the warp whistle. I held down on the white block at the end of the level and went behind the goal to where the warp whistle was. When I entered Toad’s house however, the chest containing the whistle wasn’t there. In fact, there was no floor where the chest would be either. Then Toad’s message appeared, it said, “iLL NevvvVvvEЯ ÅiD ÿoUUUU”, then a long string of random characters. That message wasn’t a coincidence, “I will never aid you,” what is that supposed to mean?
Another message varioation being whenever I entered a regular toad house. They would always say, “Pick aaaaaaaaaan Itemm aand movve Oon. I DON’t Wantttt y0u Herrr e”. I get the letter spam and everything, but I knew this wasn’t just some random coincidence.
Also whenever I entered a secret Toad’s house, the Toad wouldn’t even say anything, it would just be random characters in various places.
I proceeded onwards through the game, finding more and more strange glitches on the way. The other two warp whistles you can get in the game were replaced with non-existent items that crashed the game, only to stir up more problems within the game. Now the overworld maps started to glitch in various ways. I couldn’t even walk on some paths because they were cut off by a foreground tile or something else blocking my path. This reminded me of the world 0 glitch where things were just in random places.
April 11th, 4:27 AM
Its now four in the morning and I’m still playing the game. I’d go to sleep but I’m determined to find out what’ll happen if I proceed through the game. I finally made it to the last level, after hours of seeing glitch upon glitch, getting worse and worse as the game progressed, making it even harder to play the game. But somehow I made it to the end. Time to finish this.
I entered Bowser’s castle with a hammer bro suit. Of all the glitchy levels in this game, this was by far the worst. It didn’t even resemble what the original level looked like anymore. There wasn’t any real music either, just a repeated noise. I made my way through this mess of random placement until I finally reached a door. Suddenly the game actually started to look somewhat normal again. The music was hardly altered at all, the palettes had returned to normal, and no objects were in random places. I was in the room before the fight with Bowser, I got a little excited as I walked forward. But the hallway you start out in that room, went on forever. Eventually I reached the end of the long hallway, only to be greeted by Bowser. But Bowser seemed different, he looked glitchy yes, but he appeared to have no pupils. At this point I wasn’t sure if it was a glitch or not, but I didn’t think it was. Using my hammer bro suit I repeatedly hit Bowser with my hammers until he died. Except he didn’t die like he normally would where he would fall to the bottom of the screen, he just stood there. But his palette kept constantly changing and flashing on the screen. Until finally, he just disappeared, gone. Then the door to the princess opened.
I made Mario enter the door, but rather than appearing in the room with the princess in the corner, the room was just black. There was nothing. Seeing as I couldn’t control Mario, I just sat back and watched, waiting for something to happen. Then Mario walked to the center of the screen and looked up. Above him, these words appeared: “Cheaters Never Prosper”. Then Mario died and fell off the screen, then the game was just black. It had crashed.
So this whole thing wasn’t a glitch? Because I used the infinite warp whistle glitch I discovered an alternate version of the game? Maybe this was a hacked cartridge, I have no clue, did Nintendo intend for this to be put in the game?
I restarted the game, and the whole game was back to normal, nothing seemed out of place. It was as if it never happened. After that I went to sleep, I had school in the morning.
April 17th, 6:30 PM
I decided to go back through the game to see if anything had been changed. I beat all eight worlds and nothing had changed, or so I had thought. After the credits, the curtains came down like normal. But instead of saying, “The end”, it said, “Cheaters Never Prosper. Congratulations!”.
So this was intended, wow. After seeing that, I wanted to do it again, to show the world this secret that perhaps no one has ever seen. But alas, it didn’t work. I didn’t have the money to buy a new cartridge, I was broke. It didn’t work on an emulator either. I could tell other people, but they wouldn’t believe me, it sounds like absolute gibberish anyway. I guess I’ll be the only one who ever knows of this.
Try this glitch for yourself at your own risk. It may not just be me.