Hardcore Super Mario Maker players have recreated a batch of Nintendo-made Mario levels previously thought lost to time and outdated technology, bringing Super Mario Advance 3‘s e-Reader world to life for the first time in a decade.
These levels are now available for download and play using Nintendo’s Wii U game-design toolkit Super Mario Maker, though their designers had to make clever compromises to account for differences in format.
Related: Super Mario Maker review
Released in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance, Super Mario Advance 4 featured a host of bonus content and all-new levels in addition to a full remake of Nintendo’s 8-bit platformer Super Mario Bros. 3. The game includes support for the e-Reader peripheral, a short-lived device that scans Nintendo-produced trading cards and unlocks playable levels and other in-game content.
Given the scarcity of the trading cards and the e-Reader itself, few players had the opportunity to play the dozens of exclusive Nintendo-made Mario levels hidden within Super Mario Advance 4. While Japan saw Super Mario Advance 4‘s full collection of 38 level cards released at retail, only 12 were released in North America before Nintendo halted production of its e-Reader card packs, greatly limiting the amount of content players can unlock within the game.
More than a decade later, the majority of these lost levels are now available for play in Super Mario Maker. Creators Baddboy78 and theycallmeshaky note that “Five levels are missing, but only due to the screen size or because of design tools not yet avail[able] in Mario Maker.”
These recreated stages are largely faithful to the e-Reader originals, though some design elements and enemy types were swapped out to account for limitations within Super Mario Maker‘s level-building functionality. Enemies like the flying Hammer Brothers had to be swapped out with Super Mario Maker equivalents, and in-game elements like pluckable vegetables (ala Super Mario Bros. 2) are missing in action.
Access codes for Baddboy78 and theycallmeshaky’s creations are available in this Reddit thread.