To commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Super Mario, Nintendo will be releasing Super Mario All-Stars – 25th Anniversary Edition for Wii. It will include a “Super Mario History” booklet with information about the 25-year history and development of the Super Mario games, along with a soundtrack CD featuring music from the Super Mario games. Today I’ve invited three sound staff members to ask them about the tradition behind the music of Super Mario. Thank you for coming today.
When 25 years pass, the generation gap spreads out nicely! (laughs)
(looking to either side) Yeah. About 10 years separates me from each of them.
(gesturing toward Yokota) There are several people between us too, though.
Right. The three of you appeared in the session of “Iwata Asks” on Super Mario Galaxy 21 , but would you please introduce yourselves? 1 Super Mario Galaxy 2: An action game released for the Wii console in May 2010 in Japan.
I’m Kondo from the Software Development Department of the Entertainment Analysis & Development Division. I worked on the music for Super Mario2 25 years ago, and I’ve been involved with the series all the way up through the most recent Super Mario Galaxy 2. 2 Super Mario Bros.: An action game released for the Famicom (NES) in September 1985 in Japan. It is included in Super Mario All-Stars – 25th Anniversary Edition.
I’m Yokota from the Tokyo Software Development Department. I’ve been involved with making Mario music since Super Mario Galaxy.3 3 Super Mario Galaxy: An action game released for the Wii console in November 2007.
I’m Nagamatsu, also in the Software Development Department’s Sound Group, just like Kondo-san. The first Mario game I worked on was Mario Kart Wii4, but when it comes to the traditional Super Mario series, I’ve worked on New Super Mario Bros. Wii5 and Super Mario Galaxy 2. 4 Mario Kart Wii: A racing game released for the Wii console in April 2008. 5 New Super Mario Bros. Wii: An action game released for the Wii console in December 2009 in Japan.
There’s quite a catalogue of music for the Mario games. Wasn’t it hard to choose certain songs from that vast amount of music for this CD to commemorate the series?
It sure was. At first we were worried about how to structure the compilation, but then we decided the fans would probably be most pleased to hear one representative song from each of the ten games from the original Super Mario Bros. through Super Mario Galaxy 2.
Was it hard to choose just one representative song from each game?
Certainly everyone has their own favourites.
We started by lining them up in the order you hear them in a game - starting with Ground Themes or Main Themes - then partway through we introduced a change, slipping in music from more athletic scenes.
In order to make this CD, we researched the past music, and we found out that title songs didn’t appear up through Super Mario Bros. 3.6 6Super Mario Bros. 3: An action game released for the Famicom (NES) in October 1988 in Japan. It is included in Super Mario All-Stars – 25th Anniversary Edition.
Oh, that’s right. Title songs didn’t appear in the Super Mario games that came out for the Famicom.
Well, title songs wouldn’t fit into the game back then. There wasn’t the memory for it. It was a pretty simple reason.
And there really wasn’t one in Super Mario Bros. 3?
Didn’t leaves fall and a curtain come down?
But there’s no sound.
Right. We put the first title song into Mario World7 for the Super Famicom. 7Super Mario World: An action game released simultaneously with the Super Famicom (Super NES) in November 1990 in Japan. It is the fourth game in the series.
Kondo-san, were you the one who chose the music for this CD?
Yes. I got to choose my own songs! (laughs)
You could say it’s your “best of” album!
So it’s Koji Kondo’s Greatest Hits! (laughs)
What do you think of this selection, Yokota-san?
I’m a real game music fanatic. I love Mario music, and I think fans will like this selection, too.
Can you give me a specific example?
For example, “Slider” from Mario 64.8 8Super Mario 64: The first Mario 3D action game, released simultaneously with the Nintendo 64 system in June 1996 in Japan.
Oh, that song! It certainly is catchy!
I really like that song. I didn’t work for Nintendo when the N64 came out, but it’s a dear song to me. I had my wife listen to it saying, “This is a great song!” I didn’t notice at first, but it’s an arrangement of the Ground Theme for Super Mario 64. Which did you make first, Kondo-san?
The Ground Theme.
Oh, really? When I listened closely, the melodies were the same for “Slider” and the Ground Theme. As a gamer playing the N64, I was impressed at how big a change an arrangement could make.
How old were you then?
I was a working adult. I think I was about 23 or 24. I had just gotten married and was playing video games at home too…
And you said to your wife, “Listen to the music in this video game!”
Yeah! (laughs) I was raving to her about how great Kondo-san’s music was. (to Kondo-san) Have I ever told you that story?
(tilts head in silence)
I had always loved the “Slider” song, and then when I heard the orchestral arrangement for the Smash Bros. Concert9, I liked it even more and thought I wanted to arrange it myself someday. I thought I would use it in the first Super Mario Galaxy, and was all ready, but when it came to places where the song would fit, places with sliding... 9Super Smash Bros. DX Orchestra Concert: An event hosted by Nintendo and HAL Laboratory in Tokyo in August 2002.
There weren’t any. (laughs)
Right. (laughs) So I put it on hold. There was some sliding action in Super Mario Galaxy 2, though, so I put in an arrangement of it without even asking anyone’s opinion first.
I didn’t get anyone’s permission, but I thought it was perfect. Then my dream arrangement…
It finally came true.
Yeah. I was really happy.
By the way, when your wife heard “Slider” for the N64, did she like it?
She didn’t have much to say about it. (laughs)
Did she play that part of the game?
No, I don’t think so.
You inevitably fall down quite a lot, and you say to yourself “one more time”! (laughs) After that you will know that song by heart.
That’s right. (laughs)
That’s why that song has really stuck with me, too.
Me too. Because I fell off a bunch of times, missed a bunch of coins, and then said, “One more time!” (laughs)