- Something's gumming up the plumbing, poor Luigi's in a bind
Giant turtles out to get him, creepy crabs are right behind
Fighter flies, jeepers, yipes!
They're all comin' out the pipes!
Luigi: Mario, where are you?!—The commercial for the Atari port of the game
- Bland-Name Product: A bootlegged version was called "M A S A O"note , with player one as "Masao", and player two as "Kohgi" (pronounced "Koji").
- Bonus Level/Timed Mission: One where the only goal was to collect all the coins before time ran out.
- Character Title
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Alas, poor Shellcreeper. In all remakes of this game except for the Super Smash Bros. Brawl level, Shellcreepers are replaced with Spinies. Justified; being turtles, Shellcreepers were the predecessors of the later Koopa Troopas, which are nigh-identical to Shellcreepers, and that would cause confusion."Why did that Koopa kill me even though I stepped on its head!?!"
- Early Installment Weirdness: No Goomba Stomp, and the turtles kill you when you try to jump on them. There's also no Princess Peach, Bowser, or the Mushroom Kingdom. Just to plumbers dealing with creatures in a Brooklyn sewer.
- Embedded Precursor: This game is playable in all the Super Mario Advance games note as well as in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, and in Super Mario 3D World as a slightly reworked version called Luigi Bros..
- Endless Game: As with most golden age games.
- Flipping Helpless: Mario and Luigi could flip turtles (Shellcreepers) over by jumping up from directly below and hitting the level the turtle was walking on. If neither Mario nor Luigi ran into the turtle and knocked it off, it would eventually jump out of its shell, kick the shell over, get back in and continue walking. This could be done with crabs (Sidesteppers) as well, but required two hits.
- Giant Enemy Crab: The Sidesteppers. You even have to flip them over, on their backs.
- Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: Both fireballs, the red one especially if you stay in a level too long.
- I Have Many Names: The Slipice and Sidesteppers were later renamed Freezies and Crabs.
- Jump Physics: Partly averted in the original game, since it lacked the ability to change direction in midair. The Japan-exclusive update Kaetta Kita Mario Bros. introduced this in order to bring it in line with the SMB series, and every other Updated Re-release has kept this as part of the game.
- Milestone Celebration: Nintendo declared the year 2013 "The Year of Luigi" to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Luigi's debut in this game.
- Multi-Mook Melee
- Public Domain Soundtrack: The game is famous for opening with Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.
- Scoring Points: This was the last Mario game whose primary goal was to score as many points as possible. Future games, starting with SMB1, would follow the "campaign" model.
- Shout-Out: The commercial for the "Atari" versions of the game uses a jingle set to the tune of the classic sitcom Car 54, Where Are You?.
- Inverted in the original and Super NES versions of Super Mario Bros. 3. If you enter the same space as the other player, you get to play a New Game+ version of this game. You must kill five enemies, like in the original, and if you hit the other player from below, you get to steal his cards. So, if you have two Stars, and the other guy has one, you can steal that card, and you'll get five extra lives, just like in the main game! You won't get the fanfare, though. The players' status (Super, Fire, Raccoon, etc.) have no effect in this game; both players are small.
- There are also a couple of extra games that load every four battles.
- The first game has five coins in the room, and whoever gets the most wins.
- The second game has a single pipe in the center of an open room from which coins and fireballs spew out. Players aim to get best three out of five coins while avoiding the fireballs.
- The third game has ? boxes on three floors with ladders at the center. Players must kick open the boxes with the run button and find best three out of five coins.
- The Super NES version also has a "battle mode" which consists exclusively of this game. However, the objective here is to get five coins, not kill five enemies. Both players start out in Super form (take two hits to kill), and Super Mushrooms are provided occasionally. Whoever wins five games wins. Curiously, Mercy Invincibility when hit once lasts forever if the player doesn't move (at least in the SNES version). Also, in this mode only, the fireballs are replaced with Boos, Koopa Troopas occasionally appear (and can be stomped on in order to use their shell like in other Mario games), and a new type of mushroom with a question mark on it will appear, either swapping the bros' places or inverting their powered-up states.
- And finally... There's no battle mode in the Super Mario Bros. 3 portion of Super Mario Advance 4, but a remake of Mario Bros. is in, and the multiplayer mode brings back the SNES version's "best 5 out of 9" format.
- Smart Bomb: The POW Block.
- Tremor Trampoline: The POW Block works by bouncing the entire stage each time it's hit, which potentially flips enemies over so you can knock them away. As a result, it does not work on enemies currently in the air, especially Fighterflies. In two-player mode, it also makes the other player bounce up slightly.
- Video Game Remake: The Game Boy Advance version. Most of it is based on the Famicom Disk System version, ''Kaettekita Mario Bros.''note , which is slightly closer to the original arcade version, but allows you to change directions while jumping.note It also uses Super Mario Bros. 2's sprites for the player characters, even allowing the use of the charged jump. Most people mainly remember this game due to it being released on all Super Mario Advance games and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.
- Wrap Around