Koji Kondo’s Super Mario Bros. Theme Added to the Library of Congress

It’s the first video game tune to grace its collection!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 04/18/2023 12:53 Comment on this     ShareThis

The themes to Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, and countless other movies and TV franchises are tunes that fans know the second the notes hit their ears. However, along with those classics there are scores of video game music that have become ingrained into the larger cultural landscape, but rarely are these tracks elevated in the way that works from cinema and television typically are. Marking a delightful departure from the norm, one such video game track has now been immortalized for the first time by the venerable Library of Congress: Koji Kondo’s theme from Super Mario Bros.

Here’s the announcement regarding the inclusion of the track:

Video Game Soundtrack Joins Recording Registry for First Time

Few musicians have had their work become so internationally recognized for decades yet remain so relatively unknown as Koji Kondo, the man who composed the music for the Super Mario Bros. video games in the 1980s. Still today, Kondo is credited for original Nintendo music in the new “Super Mario Bros. Movie” out this month.

Kondo, born and raised in Japan, was a college senior in Osaka, interested in the piano and sound design, when he saw a recruiting flyer from Nintendo on a university bulletin board. He answered the ad, and the rest is video game history. His main, or “Ground Theme,” for the 1985 game is a jaunty, Latin-influenced melody that’s instantly recognizable around the world today.

“The amount of data that we could use for music and sound effects was extremely small, so I really had to be very innovative and make full use of the musical and programming ingenuity that we had at the time,” he said through an interpreter in a recent interview. “I used all sorts of genres that matched what was happening on screen. We had jingles to encourage players to try again after getting a ‘game over,’ fanfares to congratulate them for reaching goals, and pieces that sped up when the time remaining grew short.”

Now 61 and still working for Nintendo, he’s seen his “Mario” music used in films and played by orchestras. He’s designed the world of sound for dozens of other video games. He did, however, have an inkling that they were onto something at the beginning. “I also had a feeling that this game might be something that could turn into a series and continue for a long time,” he said.

“Having this music preserved alongside so many other classic songs is such a great honor,” he said. “It’s actually a little bit difficult to believe.”

What an amazing honor for both Kondo and video game music in general. Hopefully as time goes by, other composers and pieces of music from games will be similarly honored and preserved.

Source: Library of Congress Website

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