Last week, I took a look at the enigmatic portion of Super Mario Bros. 2 known as Subspace. The items, the sights, the sounds — though I didn’t linger too long on the sounds, because that’s what I wanted to focus on here today.
Upon entering Subspace, players are treated to a neat little ditty that is unique to Super Mario Bros. 2 when compared to Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic: A remix of the overworld theme from the original Super Mario Bros. Despite all the run-ins with Hammer Bros., Koopa Troopas, Bullet Bills, and more to this tune, hearing it in Subspace as you set your eyes upon a life-extending Mushroom lent a certain comfort to the space.
Ah, but in the game, it only lasts around ten seconds — so pleasant, yet so brief. If only there were a way to listen to it more fully while you played.
As it just so happens, there is.
I discovered the trick completely by accident: By gathering an invincibility-granting Starman and letting it begin to flicker out, you can quickly enter Subspace to trigger the music, then exit just as quickly. Performed correctly, the music will continue playing until you do something that would change the music, i.e. dying, entering a door/jar, getting another Starman, or going into Subspace again.
With this knowledge, is it any wonder I thought there might be a Super Mario Bros. 2-ified Mushroom Kingdom on the other side of The Door?
What’s more is, while you can’t pause the game while in Subspace (dumb), you can pause it when you’ve exited, and you’ll get the same sort of variation on the tune as when you pause during any other portion of the game:
I held on to this trick for years, always intending to send it in to Nintendo Power, but I never did. Strangely enough, I don’t think the trick ever appeared in that magazine, nor any other that I ever saw.
Of course, with the rise of the internet, it was inevitable that someone else who had discovered the trick would put it on display for all to see. Gaijillionaire on YouTube, for example, has a great video that explores the trick in great detail:
Much to my disappointment over the years, as Gaijillionaire points out, this only works in the Nintendo Entertainment System version of the game (and Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic) — that is, none of the remakes or anything, but Virtual Console and the like are good.
Still, it’s a fun trick to pull off to change things up a bit — and impress your friends, since it’s not a particularly well-known trick, either.
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.