Mario: as far as video games go he is the first and the last, the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega, the big cheese, the head honcho, the chairman of the board, and the guy who gives you the extra french fries at McDonald’s. What is it about this rotund mildly stereotypical video game icon that has captivated gamers from 1 to 92? Is it the simple yet varied gameplay? Or is it the imagination that goes into designing the colorful Mario worlds? To tell the truth there probably isn’t one single thing that makes Mario such a success: rather there is a myriad of different things that have made (and will continue to make) Mario the undisputed king, mascot, spokesman, ambassador, and hero of video game culture.
One area that I feel sets Mario far apart from other games is the music: the Mario franchise has the greatest musical accompaniment of any video game character in the history of gaming. Save me your talk of how the latest God of War or BioShock game has the greatest soundtrack ever cause it just ain’t true. In a couple of months that supposedly great soundtrack will be out in the trash heap and the various wonderful Mario themes will continue to live on. Like so:
Did you listen to that? It should be illegal for a theme to be so catchy. Even people who have never played a single video game could probably hum you the Mario theme. My mom doesn’t know a video game machine from a toaster over but even she knows it. It’s just that good. However as I alluded to earlier it’s not just one Mario theme that has gone on to legend but various Mario themes from different Mario games over the years have embedded themselves in the hearts and minds of video gamers and non video gamers across the globe. This has helped make Mario one of the most identifiable pop culture institutions ever while in turn making the Mario music library the most revered collection of video game music in the history of video game music and music in general.
Here are a few choice selections from that great Mario catalog of music which I feel aptly exhibit the superiority of Mario music over any other form of video game music known to man. Still, regardless of whether you’re a video game fan or not, if you like music in general you’ll find some themes and melody’s in this list that will enchant and delight you taking up permanent residence in you collective consciousness.
So have fun trying to get these themes out your head…
10. Super Mario 64: Dire Dire Docks
“Who switched to the new age jazz station while I was playing the game” That’s probably what some people thought when they first heard this famous and much beloved theme from Super Mario 64. It must have been a shock to hear such a beautiful and haunting piece of music in a Mario game. Not that Mario had been a slouch in the music department up to that point, but this took it to a whole new level. The piano and synth combination make for an enchanting duo and the way the tempo picks up midway through the song is amazing. A hallmark in the field of Mario game music and video game music in general.
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This article was first posted on April 21, 2013