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There are many levels where you can easily get 1-ups.

When I'm low on lives, I currently play world 1-1 to get about 5 or 6 lives per shot, but I think it's not the most effective solution.

What is the fastest way to get lives?

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Most of the time, I don't worry about 1-ups, because a continue gives you 5 more lives. – McKay Aug 11 '10 at 17:50
Year, but you loose your level progression from the last save. Same for multilayer if all players loose all theirs life in the same level. – DavRob60 Aug 11 '10 at 17:57
Ah, yeah, I usually play multiplayer. And it's kinda rare for all players to lose all their lives in the same level. I think it's happened once? – McKay Aug 11 '10 at 18:53
Well, when the 3 others players have 5 years old, this could happen quite often! – DavRob60 Aug 11 '10 at 20:19
Absolutely, trying playing with a 5 year old and you'll be seeing 'Game Over' on a regular basis. – Alan B Jan 8 '13 at 9:40
up vote 13 down vote accepted

This is my personal favourite way:

Go to level 3-2. Play the level until you get to the section with 4 bullet bills with a green warp pipe in the middle. Keep hopping on the bullets shot at you without touching the ground (hint: utilize shaking the Wii remote to stay in the air slightly longer). At first you will only gain points, but eventually every bullet bill you hit will get you a 1-up. It might take a while to get the hang of, but it's worth it.

Here's a video of the process.

You can also gain 1-ups quickly in level 2-3. At the very end of the stage, you have to run as far right as you can on any stair. Then, jump so that you land on the Koopa that is falling down the stairs towards you. After that, don't press anything. This method is much easier (if you can time the jump properly) as you just have to let your character jump on the shell repeatedly. Here's a video of this one.

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Wow! Impressive! – DavRob60 Aug 11 '10 at 20:17
That last one is a throw back to the original Super Mario Bros. There was a specific level you could do that on in the original as well (World 3, iirc. I don't remember which level). – whaley Aug 11 '10 at 22:08
yes, this was in 3-1. – DavRob60 Aug 12 '10 at 1:04

Go to World 6 and get hit by one of the Bullet Bills on the map to go to that toad-saving minigame. Try to get all the toad balloons without touching any Bullet Bills. The more Bullet Bills are on screen at the end, the more lives you get. I usually get 2-3 lives per attempt and very rarely walk away with none. It's pretty simple and very easy to repeat and practice.

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