The birth of videogame cool
The Library of Congress is where you’ll find, among other things, the National Recording Registry. This Registry “preserves our history through recorded sound and reflects our nation’s diverse culture,” according to the Library of Congress. Back in April of this year, the Library revealed a new round of inductees for the National Recording Registry, and for the firs time ever, a videogame song made the cut.
The Library of Congress revealed that the Ground Theme from Super Mario Bros., aka the game’s main theme, was being added to the National Recording Registry. This marked the very first time the National Recording Registry has inducted a song from a videogame! This is no doubt was a huge honor for Koji Kondo, the song’s composer. Now we finally know what hue man himself thinks of the accolade, as he shared his thoughts in an interview with NHK.
I was very surprised at first. I never knew that America’s Library of Congress had been choosing records to archive. 25 records are added every year, and among them are famous songs that everyone knows like John Lennon’s “Imagine”, Lead Zeppelin, Madonna, Mariah Carey and so forth, so to be chosen as one among these was a great honor.
Though, unlike those other songs, I think the soundtrack of Super Mario Bros. was chosen for its symbolism as the early music and sounds of home consoles games, so I think this is all thanks to the staff who created the game, the people who designed the NES’ mechanism for producing sound, as well as the people around the world who played the game over and over, and I’m grateful to all of them.
Koji Kondo actually spoke to NHK about a great number of topics, and some of the discussion pertained to Kondo’s thoughts on Mario in general. During the interview, Kondo opened up on one specific aspect of Mario he believes to be true, so much so that he corrects new Nintendo composers when aiding them in their journey of writing Mario music.
I don’t know if this is correct or not, but when my juniors join the company to make music, it seems everyone’s initial impressions of Mario are that he’s cute, and that Latin music fits him, but I always tell them that’s not quite true. I tell them, “Mario isn’t cute”, “He’s cool”, “Please make cool music” and such.