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In the SMW map we have four types of normal levels:

  • small yellow dot Yellow (small)
  • large yellow dot Yellow (big)
  • small red dot Red (small)
  • large red dot Red (big)

I know that the red levels have more than 1 exit, but what about the sizes?

Vanilla Dome with different level icon sizes

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  • 2
    Since the release of the game there has been speculation, but these levels seem to have nothing in common. So it's either still an unknown secret or it's just purely arbitrary.
    – sloth
    Commented May 19, 2020 at 9:18
  • I was always told that red worlds had multiple exits.
    – Aww_Geez
    Commented May 20, 2020 at 13:29

2 Answers 2

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There is no known reason why some levels have larger map icons.

On the SMW map there are three levels with large red icons (Vanilla Dome 1, Forest of Illusion 1, Valley of Bowser 2) and one with a large yellow icon (Vanilla Dome 3). Aside from all 4 levels being in sub-areas, these levels seem to have little in common.

Users in the Super Mario World Central Discord channel #smw-hacking mentioned there was speculation as to what the large icons were meant for. Some theorize large icons could indicate level size. Others think at some point in development large icons may have been meant for major split paths before a castle, but Vanilla Dome 3's single-exit yellow icon goes against this.

Ultimately, only Nintendo would know what the icons are truly for.

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As sloth mentioned in their comment, the size of the level icons don't seem to have any reasoning. This GameFAQs question essentially has the same answer (although keep in mind that it is for Super Mario Advance 2 rather than the standard Super Mario World)

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