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This page is to explain the controls in Super Mario Bros. 3, and how they differ between each of the different Marios.

Controller Layout

  • Start Button - The Start button pauses the game.
  • Select Button - Unused.
  • A Button - Jump.
  • B Button - Run. Pick up and hold koopa and buzzy shells.


  • Running - Running is simple. Just hold B and press left or right on the D-Pad. It takes some time to get up to full speed. When running at max speed, if you press the opposite direction on the D-Pad, Mario will slide to a stop then start moving that direction.
  • Jumping - Jump on enemies to kill them. Certain enemies react differently to being jumped on; for instance, cannon balls.
  • Crouching - To crouch all you do is press down. You won't really need to use this that often. You can slide by pressing down while running at speed. If you jump while sliding, you can perform a crouch jump.
  • Interacting with Items - To pick up shells, hold the B button and walk into it.
  • Entering Pipes - Stand on top of the pipe and press down on the D-Pad. If the pipe is suspended in the air, jump and hold Up.
  • Piranha Plant Vines - To grab on to a vine, regular jump and press Up. When on a vine, holding Up or Down will make Mario climb up or down.
  • Entering Doors - Stand in front of a door and press Up on the D-Pad. Mario must be on the ground to enter the door.
  • Breaking Blocks - Jump underneath a brick while in any state except small to break it.

Specific Controls

Fire Mario

When you are Fire Mario, you have the exact same controls as Super Mario, except that pressing B shoots fireballs.

Raccoon Mario

When you are Raccoon Mario, the controls differ a bit. Pressing B will make Mario do a spin attack with his tail. To fly, run at full speed until the P meter is full then press the jump button. Press B to flap your tail and ascend while the meter is full. When the meter drops off, you will descend. Press B to flap your tail and ease your descent.

The spin attack with the tail can also be used to quickly kill and grab koopas midair, this is notably useful in the "WW" speedrun.


Swimming is easy enough. You press the jump button and you go up. You let go and you fall. The frog suit enables mario to navigate the water with ease, as pressing B gives him a burst of velocity, as well as having different underwater controls.