Track of the Week: Jolly Roger Bay (Super Mario 64)

This week’s track features a game to which I owe an apology!

By Marc Deschamps. Posted 01/19/2014 12:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

The year was 1996 and I hated Super Mario 64. Maybe “hated” is too strong a word. But I didn’t like it, that’s for sure. You see, I was 11-years-old when I first played the game at my grandmother’s house. At that age, I’d already had six or seven years of gaming experience under my belt. The idea of a Mario game where you went forward rather than left to right? It totally changed the way I looked at video games. I’m pretty sure I got stuck inside a wall during my first play session. I disliked it so much that, when I got my own Nintendo 64 for my 12th birthday, I opted to ask for Star Fox 64 and Wave Race rather than Mario’s latest. It seemed like maybe the red-hatted plumber and I were starting to drift apart.

Of course, time heals all wounds. As I got a little older, I realized that I probably owed the mustachioed one another shot, after all that we had been through. And I made it up to him by buying that N64 classic not once (Super Mario 64 DS) but twice (Virtual Console). Not to mention every other 3D Mario platformer since. And you know what? I was wrong. As part of my self-induced Mario 64-related community service, I’m dedicating this week’s Track of the Week to Jolly Roger Bay.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with water themed levels. The water levels in the Donkey Kong Country series are some of my favorites in any franchise, while the water level from the NES Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game resulted in it being sold at a garage sale. Luckily, Jolly Roger Bay falls on the former end of the spectrum, with a mellow experience that’s complemented by a track that evokes the setting in a way that may even rival Aquatic Ambiance. Composer Koji Kondo’s track seems to encourage discovery, and exploration. Considering that water levels often seem to discourage that (by way of timed breathing), it’s a refreshing change of pace. In a sense, it’s probably one of the best representations from the game, as Nintendo fans around the world were first learning what it was like to explore a 3D world. It’s a shame I took so long to join them!

That’s it for this week’s Track of the Week feature! Let us know what you think in the comments below, and any tracks you’d like to see us cover in the future!

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