Forums  /  Super Mario series  /  Super Mario Bros. 3  /  Version Differences and Unified Leaderboard
  KiruaKirua

People request from time to time that the All-Stars version gets its own leaderboard, so I'm making this thread to try and clarify what the main differences are between the various versions of SMB3, how the versions rank in terms of speed, and why we've decided in the past to keep all of them in a unified leaderboard.

~ Version Differences ~

NES (NTSC US)
+ fastest loading time for stages
+ Mario loses only one powerup increment per hit
- slower castles than japanese versions (text speed)

NES (PAL)
+ Mario loses only one powerup increment per hit
- game runs at 50 hz instead of 60 hz (so the game speed is only 5/6 of the NTSC speed)
- shorter jumps than NTSC, making many strats impossible

FC (NTSC J)
+ fastest castles (gains several seconds per castle compared to US versions) due to text speed
- Mario goes small mario when hit, regardless of powerup (makes a few strats impossible)
- extra fade-in at the start of every "stage" (includes overworld pipes among other things) wastes around 1s each time
- extra wall & pipe at the end of 5-1, wastes a few seconds

SNES (All-Stars US)
+ lagless, which works in your favor most of the time but can potentially hinder a couple of despawning strats
+ can use fireballs with two different buttons: allows faster mashing, and using fireballs without releasing B (run)
+ Mario loses only one powerup increment per hit
+ 4-4 is easier & slightly faster (small detail)
- extra "Mario Start!" screen at the start of every stage, wastes around 86 frames each time
- doors are slightly slower
- slower fall after grabbing the wand
- can't fireball while offscreen, hinders a few strats

SFC (All-Stars J)
+ lagless, which works in your favor most of the time but can potentially hinder a couple of despawning strats
+ semi fast castles (combination of faster text & slower fall)
+ Mario loses only one powerup increment per hit
+ can use fireballs with two different buttons: allows faster mashing, and using fireballs without releasing B (run)
+ 4-4 is easier & slightly faster (small detail)
- extra "Mario Start!" screen at the start of every stage, wastes around 86 frames each time
- doors are slightly slower
- can't fireball while offscreen, hinders a few strats

Extra: Wii VC
- slightly slower framerate than the NES, wastes around 20s for a hundo run

Note that this isn't meant to be an exhaustive list of the differences. For example, Mario appears in the overworld 1s faster in All-Stars at the start of the game compared to NES. Also, the 1-3 whistle Mushroom House is faster on J. The differences listed should be the biggest though.

~ Version Ranking ~

It's impossible to quantify exactly what the difference is between let's say NES & All-Stars. For example, you can't put a number on the "lagless" aspect of All-Stars.

That being said, the time gained/lost due to certain aspects is big enough that we can determine a ranking:

NES > FC > SFC > SNES >>>>>> PAL

The NES Wii VC version would be somewhere between NES & FC, closer to FC.

Also note that the FC version is the most difficult version due to being less forgiving for hits. In that regard, PAL's difficulty is hard to assess because PAL is the only version that requires its own set of strats for almost every stage.

~ Unified Leaderboard ~

-> So, if there's a clear time disparity between some of the versions, why not separate LBs?

The main idea behind the unified LB is that almost every strat is the same in every version (ignoring PAL), the routes are also pretty much identical, and all the physics/core mechanics are the same. Meaning that the time difference is mostly from loading times. Having an entirely separate category/LB just because of loading times seems really overkill to us. Using filters is usually more adequate for cases like this (like for LBs with multiple language versions).

-> But other Mario games do it!

Other 2D Mario games with separate LBs for All-Stars usually have major gameplay differences between the two. For example Super Mario Bros. 2 (USA) allows you to Save & Quit, which allows you to do a completely different route in any%. In SMB3, the gameplay & routes being almost identical, it's a different case (although obviously subjective to some degree).

But there's also other reasons. For example, if you're gonna have a separate LB for All-Stars, you then need to separate SNES & SFC. Because the time difference during castles is big enough that SFC is clearly better than SNES.

In that regard, PAL would obviously "deserve" a separate category way more than any other version, considering you need your own set of strats for it.

All in all it would end up looking like this: Any% Warpless (NES) / Any% Warpless (FC) / Any% Warpless (SFC) / Any% Warpless (SNES) / Any% Warpless (PAL)
And now imagine that for every category.

Additionally, the bulk of the competition being on NES, we strongly feel that fragmenting the community and isolating a few runners is unneeded.

Lastly, as mentioned earlier, you can (and should) use filters if you want to see the competition/best times on a specific version. For example select Filter -> Platforms -> SNES if needed.

The unified leaderboard is not meant to be unfair or insulting to players using different versions. We're just trying to be coherent and efficient.

squibbonssquibbons, CujoIHSVCujoIHSV and 6 others like this. 
  grandpoobeargrandpoobear

I got all excited as I thought this meant we were finally bringing the great category of all forts here to unify all the really important categories 🙂

Mr.JacoPbassMr.JacoPbass, TussengasTussengas and osumariokartmanosumariokartman like this.