This is the quintessential secret room. I cannot imagine the amazement felt by the first person outside of Nintendo to discover it. It breaks the fourth wall as Mario runs along in the score area of the screen. It shows you a side to the game that gamers back then didn't even know games could have. It helps you get to Zone 4 from Zone 1. Dang!
"WELCOME TO WARP ZONE!" says the text, in caps and exclamation mark as if to say 'THIS IS FRIGGIN' AMAZING'. And it is. Although there is something sinister about it. Once you fall down into it, there's no way out again unless you crawl through a pipe. I know Mario's a plumber, but surely that's the stuff of nightmares? Who knows what's lurking in those pipes?
Above: "No... Weegee... I don't-a want to go with you to see mama... no... Weegee... AAAAAARGH!!!
The beauty part is, there are no visual clues when you play the game properly. It's just a brick wall with apparently no way through it. Of course, not even brick walls are all they appear to be, as the entrance to the fabled minus world will attest.
How secret is it?
Sure, it's well hidden, but everyone knows it's there now and the challenge involved in getting to it is somewhere between breathing and putting on your socks.
How roomy is it?
Well, it's a clearly-defined space with walls and at least a partial ceiling. Most rooms are entered via a door situated somewhere near the floor, but that gives this a Terminator 2 bunker feel. If you know what I mean.
Above: It's a proper secret room. It's secret and it's a room. It's also full of win!
It had to be, didn't it? Warp Zone is our greatest secret room of all time.
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