Friday, March 13, 2009

Artistic Interpretations of the "Super Mario Theme"

One of the major popular culture phenomenons of the late 20th century is Supa Mario Burazazu (in Japanese), or as it is better known, Super Mario Bros. Released in 1985, it is the second highest selling video game of all time, and the foundation upon which Nintendo built its empire of global domination. It even spawned a television series and live-action movie.

One of the most noteworthy elements is the theme music - indeed, there was actually a Mario soundtrack album released. Composer Koji Kondo had a very limited range of tinny electronic sounds with which to create the music, yet he managed to create something surprisingly enduring. In case you've been living in a cave and have never heard it, below is the music in its original form, from the very first level of the game.

Ok, so its kinda cute, kinda catchy, but is it really that special?

Apparently so, if the number of cover versions on youtube are any indication. There are heaps of them. This next one is my favourite - the theme tune played only using a remote-control car and a bunch of partly-filled bottles, it shows what happens when a Chinese guy has waaaayyy too much time on his hands. Brilliant.

Then theres this guy, who has substantial musical talent and could probably achieve anything in life, but chose instead to channel his creativity into replicating the Super Mario theme on two guitars.

And then there's the beatboxing flute player... sick of the tune yet?

But the proof of the kooky postmodern world we live in is this: a massive orchestra, the embodiment of Western art and high culture, playing a tune from a video game. It's here that you start to appreciate the depth of what initially seems such a simple composition.

Finally, if you haven't had a Mario OD yet, here are some guys doing a live enactment of the game on stage. Credit where its due, this is some very clever stuff.

By now, you'll either never want to hear this music again, or you'll be humming it to yourself for the next few days.

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