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Vimeo / Chris Higgins
Vimeo / Chris Higgins

8 Super Mario Bros. Tips, Tricks, and Glitches

Vimeo / Chris Higgins
Vimeo / Chris Higgins

Super Mario Bros. turns 30 this year. I still love the game, as it was my first Nintendo game, and I spent endless hours trying to beat the stupid thing. Today, I have a treat for you: Eight excellent tips, tricks, and weird glitches in the game.

Robin Mihara in front of some very collectible games; photo courtesy of Mihara.

These are all performed by gaming superstar Robin Mihara, who came in third at the Nintendo World Championships (NWC) in 1990, in which Super Mario Bros. was one of three mini-games performed onstage. Recently, Mihara starred in the documentary Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters (2011)—featuring another game in the NWC pantheon.

I knew a few of these as a kid, but the rest are news to me. Dig in:

1. Jump Over the Flagpole (Glitch)

If you time the jump just right, on World 3-3 you can jump over the flagpole and...well, you just keep running. There's nothing special over there.

2. Skating (Glitch)

If you're Fire Mario, you can "skate" without moving your feet—at least for a moment. When you exit a tunnel or enter a new World, jump and shoot a fireball (B+A buttons) and press right. The skating effect only lasts ten seconds or so.

3. How to Get Maximum Fireworks (Tip)

This was common knowledge when I was a kid, but I have run into some people who didn't hear about it. When you hit the flagpole, the timer in the upper right stops. If that number ends in 1, 3, or 6, you'll get the corresponding number of fireworks...and everybody knows, six fireworks rules!

4. How to Get Infinite 1-UPs (Trick)

First, get to World 3-1, a find a pair of koopa troopas descending stairs. Ignore the first one. When the second one is still on the stairs, jump on it to put it into shell-mode, then stand one step below where the shell lies. Now jump on the shell. If you time it right, you'll automatically bounce off the shell over and over, so you get lots of points and 1-UPs.

5. Win and Die Simultaneously (Glitch)

There's a weird poetic justice to this one. If Mario hits Bowser on World 8-4 at the exact moment he hits the axe (which drops Bowser into the lava pit), Mario dies. But he still wins. This results in an odd scene where Princess Peach gives a speech to no one.

6. Become Small Fire Mario (Glitch)

Okay, this is amazing, but complex. Watch the video for an example, but the gist of it is if you are any version of a "Big" Mario, Luigi, etc. (including Fire versions), and you hit any of the mini-Bowsers (anything before World 8-4) at the same moment you hit the axe, a glitch occurs. Long story short, on the next World you need to get a Mushroom (which makes you small!), then a Fire Flower, which of course makes you Small Fire Mario.

The fun part is when Small Fire Mario spits out a fireball—he briefly becomes regular Fire Mario. While you can do this on lots of levels, I recommend World 1-4 because the necessary power-ups are available early in World 2-1.

7. Vine Dancing (Trick)

This just adds some flair to your performance; it doesn't get you anything special. When you reach the top of a vine, keep pressing up, and you'll "dance." I feel that this is appropriate when you're about to steal a bunch of coins from a bonus World. (Note that in this run, Mihara missed one coin—that pesky last one—and let out a groan that I did not record.)

8. Reach World -1 (Glitch)

This is epic. If you do a special crouch-jump on World 1-2, you enter a glitched-out Warp Zone that brings you to "World -1," a water world identical to World 7-2. The only difference is that you can't win; you just keep swimming until you run out of time...even if you reach the pipe. Brutal and weird.

Further Reading

For more Super Mario Bros. glitches, check out the Super Mario Wiki list of glitches. You might also be interested in my article Will the Real "Super Mario Bros. 2" Please Stand Up?

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Is There a Limit to How Many Balls You Can Juggle?
Carl Court, Getty Images
Carl Court, Getty Images

In 2017, a juggler named Alex Barron broke a record when he tossed 14 balls into the air and caught them each once. The feat is fascinating to watch, and it becomes even more impressive once you understand the physics behind it.

As WIRED explains in a new video, juggling any more than 14 balls at once may be physically impossible. Researchers who study the limits of juggling have found that the success of a performance relies on a number of different components. Speed, a.k.a. the juggler's capacity to move their hands in time to catch each ball as it lands, is a big one, but it's not the most important factor.

What really determines how many balls one person can juggle is their accuracy. An accurate juggler knows how to keep their balls from colliding in midair and make them land within arm's reach. If they can't pull that off, their act falls apart in seconds.

Breaking a juggling world record isn't the same as breaking a record for sprinting or shot put. With each new ball that's added to the routine, jugglers need to toss higher and move their hands faster, which means their throws need to be significantly more accurate than what's needed with just one ball fewer. And skill and hours of practice aren't always enough; according to expert jugglers, the current world records were likely made possible by a decent amount of luck.

For a closer look at the physics of juggling, check out the video below.

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'Puggle,' 'Emoji,' and 298 Other New Words Added to Scrabble Dictionary
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iStock

Scrabble aficionados and wordsmiths around the world will soon have some new reading material to bone up on. In celebration of National Scrabble Day today, the makers of the classic word game announced that 300 new words will be added to Scrabble’s official dictionary.

The new words will be published in the sixth edition of Merriam-Webster’s The Official Scrabble Player’s Dictionary, which will be released this fall, according to Mashable.

Here are just a few of the new additions:

Emoji (noun): A small computer symbol used to express emotion
Ew (interjection): Used to express disgust
Facepalm (verb): To cover the face with the hand
Macaron (noun): A cookie with filling in the middle
Puggle (noun): A kind of dog
Sriracha (noun): A spicy pepper sauce

Some players of the 70-year-old game may be surprised to learn that “ew” isn’t already a word, especially considering that Scrabble recognizes more than 100 two-letter words, including “hm” (another expression), “ai” (a three-toed sloth), and “za” (slang for pizza). If played strategically and placed on a triple word square, “ew” can land you 15 points—not bad for two measly letters.

New Scrabble words must meet a few criteria before they’re added to the official dictionary. They must be two to eight letters long and already in a standard dictionary. Abbreviations, capitalized words, and words with hyphens or apostrophes are immediately ruled out.

Peter Sokolowski, editor at large at Merriam-Webster, told Entertainment Weekly, “For a living language, the only constant is change. New dictionary entries reflect our language and our culture, including rich sources of new words such as communication technology and food terms from foreign languages.”

The last edition of the Scrabble dictionary came out in 2014 and included 5000 new words, such as "selfie," "hashtag," "geocache," and "quinzhee."

[h/t Mashable]

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