Tag Archives: Super Nintendo

Sunday Game Soundtrack: Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (SFC/SNES)

Hi guys!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted one of these.  For those of you new to the blog, on Sundays (if I post), I like to post about games that have great soundtracks that AREN’T Lesser-known.  Today, we’ll talk about Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, composed by Koji Kondo.

Here’s the complete OST for your listening enjoyment.  Below, I’ll post some facts about the game.

  • The game was originally released on August 15th, 1995 in Japan and October 4th/6th for NA/EU markets respectively.  The game was re-released for Game Boy Advance as Yoshi’s Island:  Super Mario Advance 3 in 2002 and featured a couple extra stages and features.
  • Super Mario World 2 has not had an official re-release.  Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3 and NOT Super Mario World 2:  Yoshi’s Island was re-released for Virtual Console in 2011.
  • Yoshi’s Island DS is the direct sequel to this game and was released in 2006 for the Nintendo DS.
  • The game takes a departure from many of the other games in the Mario series as it is single player only.
  • The SNES version uses the Super FX 2 chip.  The original idea was to try to render the game just as they had rendered Donkey Kong Country.  According to Kent Steven’s “The Ultimate History of Video Games: The Story Behind the Craze that Touched our Lives and Changed the World”, Miyamoto brought the game to his board of directors with 3-D pre-rendered sprites and was ordered to change it to something else.  He then decided to develop it as if it had been drawn by children with crayons.  He brought the game back and it passed.  Miyamoto would eventually get his way, though, as Yoshi’s Story features 3D rendered characters.
    • The Super FX 2 chip allows the game to render those GIANT sprites, such as Burt the Bashful.  Many other games APPEAR to have large sprites (such as Contra III).  These sprites are actually part background/part moving sprite.  This game ACTUALLY HAS enormous, moving sprites.

The goal is to remove Burt the Bashful’s pants. And we’re okay with this.

  • The game sold about 4~ million copies.  It finds its way onto MANY “Greatest Video Games of All Time” lists.
  • Koji Kondo’s soundtrack to this game is exactly what you’d expect from him.  It’s goofy, rockin’, and thoughtful.  When I was a kid, the music stuck in my head for days.  My friend Mike and I actually arranged some of the tunes for trombone and bass back in the day.
    • One of the coolest things Kondo does is for the World Maps.  The game features 6 different worlds.  World 1 features a very simple melody.  As you travel from world to world, the map music becomes more and more diverse, adding drums, bass, strings, and trumpet.  It’s a really cool feature.  To hear it back to back, set the video to 23:20~.  Enjoy
    • One of my favorite tracks of all time is the Mid-Boss theme from this game.  Here’s a direct link to it.  It’s like… Mario meets Baby Elephant Walk meets Dancing Homer.  It’s so Koji Kondo though- that laid back jazz feel and subtly goofiness? It’s perfect.

At any rate, I hope I helped you feel some subtle nostalgia today!  Please feel free to leave comments!


Covering a Tune: Arranging Music for Groundhog’s Day with Beta Test Music – Part 5

On February 2nd, my band, Beta Test Music (betatestmusic.com), will be performing another big concert of video game music and other nerdy favorites at First Unitarian Church in downtown Philadelphia (see here for information and tickets).  This series of posts will highlight the music that I arranged for the concert, explaining the choices in musical selection, instrumentation, and overall presentation.

Man, I love Amano’s artwork.

In Part 1 and Part 2, I discussed my musical selection process/performance considerations for my medley of music from Akumajou Densetsu (Castlevania III) for Beta Test Music and 2a03+VRC6.  In Part 3, I discussed my arrangement of music from Earthbound/Mother 2.  In Part 4, I talked about my arrangement of tunes from Nintendo’s Pokemon – 1st Generation (Red, Green, Blue, Yellow).  AND TODAY – in the FIFTH AND FINAL INSTALLMENT of my posts – we’ll talk about my arrangement of music from Squaresoft’s (it was still Squaresoft back then, I believe) Final Fantasy III/VI.

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Sunday Game Soundtrack: Donkey Kong Country (SFC/SNES)

Happy New Year and all that belated stuff!

Wow, it’s been over a month since I’ve posted.  The holidays were absurdly busy.  I’ve been working on a ton of stuff right now (including a MASSIVE Beta Test Music concert on February 2nd… more about that in the next couple posts.)  For now, though, it’s Sunday and that means it’s time for another Sunday Game Soundtrack.  Today, let’s listen to the soundtrack to the SFC/SNES’s 2nd best selling game of all time, Donkey Kong Country.

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Sunday Game Soundtrack: Super Mario Kart (SFC/SNES)

It’s Sunday.  Time to highlight another legendary soundtrack!  Today, we’ll listen to Nintendo’s Super Mario Kart, one of the most influential games of the 90s.

Some cold hard facts:  Super Mario Kart has sold more than 8 million copies since its release in 1992.  It single-handedly launched the entire kart racing genre of games.  It was the first game to feature multiple Mario series characters in a non-platforming game.  Bet you didn’t think you’d learn that today?

This game is scored by Soyo Oka.  Her other original works include Pilot WingsWario’s Woods, and the SNES port of Sim City.  She also did all the arranging and original composition for Super Mario All-Stars.  Given her work, I’d say that Super Mario Kart represents her magnum opus.  Her use of style (from latin jazz to metal to steel drums) makes this soundtrack interesting.

An interesting aside:  Super Mario Kart was not originally developed as a game that would include Mario.  Shigeru Miyamoto stated that the original designs had a man in a cart driving around tracks.  They decided about 2-3 months into development of the game to include Mario.  How weird would this game have been without Mario characters?

Left: Super Mario Kart      Right: Super Generic Kart

Okay, let’s listen to the music.  Here’s the complete soundtrack below, posted on YouTube by f4m1lyGuy10.

Enjoy as always!  Expect to see some more posts about an upcoming concert I have with my band Beta Test Music on December 1st.  We’re playing some awesome stuff so stay tuned!


Lesser-known Video Game Soundtracks: SimEarth: The Living Planet (SFC/SNES)

Every once in a while, you stumble upon a soundtrack by accident that triggers incredible amounts of nostalgia.  Such a moment occurred today when I rediscovered the OST for Maxis’s SimEarth for SNES.  Let’s take a listen!

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