Super Mario Bros.
Sound Programmer : Koji Kondo
|Game Over||Koji Kondo|
The first video game to ever have a constant background music composed by a professional music composer was the Super Mario Bros, for the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in the year 1985. It established and set the standards for game music industry which survive to this present day.
For every area of the game Mario visited, Koji Kondo provided the apt music for the scene. The music was upbeat and chirpier when he was outdoors. The bass riffs dominated the scenes inside the underworld in the sewers. In the enemy’s Castle, the music was frantic and high pitched which suited the mood of the play – to save the princess. The one neat thing was also the increase in tempo when time runs out. The tracks were all done with three instruments and crude percussion sounds.
It is almost impossible to describe the Mario main theme. It is a sort of light jazz tune, but with so much energy pumped into each articulated note, one is not sure whether it invokes cheesy Vegas lounge music or a Dixieland band. It is sort of like mellow elevator music on psychedelic drugs. At times, it invokes the Tijuana Brass with its cheerful cheesiness. It’s light, it’s playful, the tracks are really well put together. And yet, it’s got a unique cultural feel to it. The Japanese invented a fun sort of music very light and folky. It’s a takeoff on 60’s cartoon music, and 30’s vaudeville music.
The music became such a rage that, it still holds the record of being the number one in Game OST download as well as being the top ringtone favorite around the world. This overly-peppy, off-kilter take on Western music is very indicative of game music in general. It’s a mixed bag. They pulled from all kinds of influences, many of them western influences; put their own little twist on it, and yes the bottom-line is ‘Wow! That’s gotta nice ring to it’