Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Soundtrack September: Super Mario Bros. 3

Game: Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988)
Platform: NES/Famicom
Composers: Kondo Koji

Previously honored in Soundtrack September for his later work on A Link to the Past, Kondo Koji was also the composer behind the game widely regarded as the greatest Super Mario title of all. Here, Kondo used the tried-and-true 8-bit trick of using PCM drum samples to add power and character -- not only for kicks and snares, but also rim shots, wood blocks, timbales and timpani. His soundtrack gives each of the game's eight map screens a unique theme, in a variety of styles including reggae, disco and bossa nova. The soundtrack during gameplay is memorable as well, now cemented in most NES-era gamers' minds as a classic. (The first time I heard this game's funky take on the old Underworld music from Super Mario Bros., I was pretty impressed.)

I'm not sure why, but most of the music in this game is in the same key (C major). Kondo wasn't a trained musician, so it's possible he wrote predominantly in this key due to it being his "comfort zone" on the piano.

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