RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Aug 9th 2011 at 01:27:21 PM by (nupoile)
Posted under Minus World, Nintendo Power, Super Mario Bros, Classic Gaming, Nintendo, NES

Nintendo Power #3 Most of you know there are several weird tricks in Super Mario Bros. One of the most famous of these is the Minus World. Did you ever wonder how to get there? I did, back in 1988. How does someone who knows of the Minus World but not how to get there figure out this trick? Write Nintendo Power of course!

In what must have been April of '88 my dad showed the family a newspaper article that changed my life. Well, maybe it wasn't really such a life altering event, but it did start me on the hobby of video games.  The Oregonian (newspaper) ran a nearly full page article on Super Mario Bros. and the NES. It was bold and colorful, showing something unknown in my household, a home videogame system. I read and reread the article absorbing everything; the colorful screenshots, the promise of excitement, and the few tricks. Then my dad announced the best part of all, we were getting one!

At that time my only contact with video games was the occasional dollar in quarters my parents would give me for the few arcade machines in the local pizza place, so this was pretty exciting.

As it turned out, this was going to be a lesson in patience. My dad went to the only place in our small town to buy the NES, the local Sears. It was sold out. We'd have to order it. A horrible thing to do to a kid, to make them learn what "on backorder" means on something so awesome as Mario! Before I was putting this together I would have said we had to wait 6 months for this "backorder" thing, turns out, now that I look at the dates, it was probably more like 6 weeks.

Oregonian ArticleI remember the wait as vividly as anything in my life. In that time the only Nintendo thing of substance in my possession was that newspaper article. Read, reread, study pictures, reread, think about, wait, reread, study.... The thing that most stood out was this fabled "Minus World", I couldn't wait to get there.

Finally the day arrived. It was as totally cool as I expected, running, jumping, waving the controller like it was a Wiimote...awesomness incarnate. But where was this Minus World? I guess I thought it would be in the instructions or explained in the game or be obvious in some other way. We had only gotten the most basic system, we didn't even have Duck Hunt, just Super Mario. To me the NES WAS Super Mario.

Shortly afterward, to our surprise, something called "Nintendo Fun Club News" arrived in the mail. A 28 page magazine all about Nintendo. Nothing about the Minus World but a promise of a larger magazine, "Nintendo Power", that was going to tell me how to get to the Minus World, I knew it. We subscribed right away.

Nintendo actually sent us two copies of the first issue, one must have been automatically sent to people, on a list of owners, to entice them and one because we subscribed so early. Filled with tons of information on all these games I didn't have, it was like a huge wish list. But still no info on how to get to World -1. Didn't Nintendo read my local paper? Didn't they know they were leaving the whole world hanging? I was running out of patience, but I figured issue #2 would tell me. Back then Nintendo Power only came out every two months, lots of waiting. I think we had Metroid by the time issue 2 got to our house so I had more to occupy my mind then SMB but they still didn't answer what I really wanted to know.

Nintendo Power had a section called "Counselors' Corner" where people would write in with questions about problems they were having in games. The format was a one or two sentence question with a Nintendo Counselor giving a paragraph answer with a couple of pictures. I wrote my letter soon after issue #2 arrived. It was something like, "Dear Nintendo Power, How do you get to the Minus World in Super Mario Brothers? I like your magazine." My mom thought I should write a longer letter because two sentences seemed kind of rude. I thought it should have been longer too, but what was I going to say? "How have you been? Do you like puppies?"

Nintendo sent me a very cool response.  It included a personalized, typewritten cover letter signed by a real person and three pages answering my question with two other SMB tricks. The format of the letter has always impressed me. There are pictures from the game and is written in such a way I can only think someone put these four pages together just for me.

When issue #3 (November/December 1988) came my question wasn't actually in the "Counselors' Corner" section, it was in the "Classified Information" section.  The format was a little different then "Counselors' Corner", there was no question, only a synopsis along with a paragraph of info and a couple of pictures. I had thought this section was where people from Nintendo submitted hints and tricks they had found and wanted the public to know about.

Minus WorldYou'll notice the tip in the magazine is much shorter then what they sent to me. Also it says it is from "Agent 826", where did this come from? Is it supposed to be me? And I like how the time, point and coin count don't match up from picture 2 to 3, it is sometimes a difficult trick to pull off, obviously it took them more them one try here. Personally I don't think anyone in my family could actually get to World -1 at the time. I think we became more infatuated with the "Little Fire Mario" and "Walking through bricks" tricks.

There are scans of all this, the article which probably came out in early April of '88 in the Oregonian, the four pages of response I got from Nintendo, the cover of issue #3 (awesome shoes, I still want a pair), and page 55 of the magazine.

I have to apologize about the format of these images. If you have a slow internet connection they are very large.  As they are typed pages, a newspaper article a couple of Nintendo Power pages, the scans are sized to read the text. Also the article is so physically large it wouldn't all fit on my scanner. I had to blend four images, sorry for any blurriness or odd lines.

These papers have been in my possession for 23 years. Only recently did it occur to me they would be an interest to the game collecting community (I think getting a new printer with a scanner helped spark this). Hope you enjoy!


-Thanks to my wife for helping with coding and pictures. thetechchef.wordpress.com

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