Super Mario Bros Wonder adds in a slew of new features and content for Mario fans to enjoy, and that includes a series of collectible badges. These badges can make gameplay easier or harder depending on their aspects, but there’s one extra-secret badge that offers players quite the audio treat.

If you’re a Mario completionist, you probably already know how to get the Sound Off badge. It takes quite a bit of work to unlock this special badge, as the player has to find and complete every Special World Course, gather every Wonder Seed and Flower Coin, touch the top of the flagpole at the end of every level, and complete the Final-Final Test: Badge Marathon level. The good news is that going through all that work results in the Sound Off badge; a bonus item that is definitely worth the trouble.

Thanks to a Super Mario Bros. Wonder panel at GDC 2024 and some discussion from director Shiro Mouri, we now have even more insight into that badge. Those who’ve unlocked the Sound Off badge know that it replaces all the game’s sound effects with a human voice replicating them. Ever wonder who was behind those sound effects? Mouri has finally pulled back the curtain, revealing that Nintendo’s longtime sound designer/composer Koji Kondo did all the voice work himself!

Turns out the idea for the Sound Off badge stemmed from a cut Wonder idea for Super Mario Bros. Wonder. Mr. Kondo had an idea for a live-action Mario with human proportions that would run through levels and hum the background music. Turns out this idea proved too strange and difficulty to implement, which led to it being scrapped, but a portion of the idea lives on in Kondo’s Sound Off badge performance.

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4M ago

Love this. Is there anything the man can’t do? I don’t throw around the term genius, and Kondo is a generational example of staggering musical genius.