Jun 292016


Look, we had to do a Super Mario episode at some point, and with Mario 64 turning 20 it seemed like a great time to look back on SMB1~64 and discuss its well-known (but still quite good) tunes.

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0:00:00 – File Select (Mario 64)

0:19:18 – Ground Theme (SMB2)

0:20:51 – Underground (SMB2)

0:32:27 – Ground Theme (SMB3)

0:33:25 – Athletic (SMB3)

0:34:33 – King Koopa (SMB3)

0:43:36 – Athletic (SMW)

0:45:02 – Underground (SMW)

0:48:28 – Sub-Castle (SMW)

0:51:07 – Bonus Screen (SMW)

1:02:28 – Main Theme (Mario 64)

1:04:48 – Slider (Mario 64)

1:07:35 – Powerful Mario (Mario 64)

1:16:01 – Dire Dire Docks (Mario 64)

1:19:04 – Koopa’s Road (Mario 64)

1:21:13 – King Koopa Theme (Mario 64)

1:26:49 – Staff Roll (Mario 64)

  21 Responses to “VGMpire 118 – Mario Madness”

  1. You guys seemed kinda meh on that castle/dungeon theme but that shit is HYPE…..seriously sinister arpeggios….in some ways I feel it’s the best of the Mario 1 tracks, despite it being a short loop

  2. So I suppose this isn’t directly related, but there is a Super Mario World Romhack series called the Lost Adventure that has all new stages, but more importantly it uses the SMW sound font to cover a ton of tunes from other games. Some don’t translate all that well, but its really neat hearing it.

  3. I was surprised that none of you guys noticed that the Title theme to SMB2 is a remix of SMB1’s water theme. It was funny listening to Dan talk about “Was this all just Doki Doki Panic music? Cause there’s was like no returning SMB1 music” while a SMB1 theme is actively playing.

    I won’t hold it against you guys though. I never realized until years later that all of the SMW stage themes were all variations on the same piece of music.

  4. Love VGMpire so very much Brett! I hope you continue to put out new episodes!

  5. Love this episode but felt so sad hearing that great Mario 64 ending music and thinking the show may have fewer episodes in the future.

    I’m hoping the community and Lasertime can come together and figure out a new plan soon.

    Thank you for everything you guys do and a special thank you to Brett for all these great episodes.

  6. That Mario 64 Ending Theme takes me back! I get emotional listening to it, it puts such a wonderful cap on such a revolutionary game. With that said I giggle at the “toot toot toot” pan flutey part.

    I was weird and started with Super Mario All-Stars in my childhood years, so it was really fun to later go back and see the NES originals. I will say that I much prefer NES Mario 1 over SNES Mario 1 both musically and gameplay-wise, but SMB2 & 3 have pretty solid remakes with their SNES & GBA counterparts.

    And while I still love Mario 64 and recognize its importance in videogame history, I stillll think Banjo-Kazooie at this point holds up better in terms of control and overall charm. I know it’s a controversial opinion, and I know B-K is one giant collectathon, but that’s just how I feel about it.

    I was always massively impressed with how well the motif in Super Mario World carried itself throughout all the different level themes. Makes you forgive the fact that the classic Mario theme was only included as an easter egg in the SPECIAL world.

    I also feel compelled to add that Super Mario Bros. 3 may have been the first videogame to ever make me babble out random nonsense lyrics to the tune of the music.

    tl;dr Koji Kondo is a god among men.

    With always look forward to all future VGMpire eps, no matter how sparse they might become!

    Some choice drum covers of Mario music that always make me smile, courtesy of Vadrum:
    SMB1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZqwvjwqwK4
    SMB2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF9e2ZVAapE
    SMB3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXKN1j_vrn4

  7. Brett, no need to feel apologetic about doing Super Mario. It may be the most well-known series out there, but that just means it’s a classic series that deserves an episode……or 3. Loved it. And the 1-1 stage music from SMB2 is one of my favorite, most nostalgic tunes ever.

    The importance of the Dire Dire Docks music can’t be overstated. It marks a revolution in game music; It’s the first time(to my knowledge) that a track changes intensity depending on your situation or location. This is significant because it’s the point in history where videogame music evolved beyond all other forms of music to become truly interactive. It was the first time in history where a game’s music could not be adequately captured on a soundtrack album (well, there was Otocky for the Famicom Disk System, but that was actually based on music).

    I have to respectfully disagree with you and Henry a little bit about your takes on Sonic versus Mario(here we go again, right?). Firstly, I think some of both of your Sonic assessments are subconsciously including SOA’s marketing image at the time, and not just the game itself. Sure, Sonic had a bit of attitude(basically he tapped his foot impatiently, shook his finger at the title screen, and sported a furrowed brow), but it was still in the context of a bright, cartoony, 30’s animation-inspired world where he rescued cute animals from cute robots. Sonic’s hues were darker than Mario’s, but only by direct comparison; Sonic was the most bright and vibrant game on the Genesis up to that point.

    And Sonic’s music wasn’t dance/hip-hop; it was straight J-pop, bright and happy. Sonic had no equivalent to SMBW’s Vanilla Dome, which had a straight up 80’s rap beat. No rocking guitars in Sonic, either.

    And lastly, I don’t feel that SMBW “beats Sonic every which way”. The 2 games reflect the sensibilities of their principal designers pretty closely. SMBW definitely has better level design, it’s a longer game, and if you take the time to master its play mechanics(I still hate that cape), I would say a more richly rewarding sense of mastery. That reflects Miyamoto’s philosophies about the essence of gaming.

    Sonic, on the other hand, is about the thrill of playing games. It’s about momentum; Sonic is immediately fun to play, and first-time players can access and experience the visceral rush as soon as Sonic starts moving. This, more than any sassy marketing, is why those early mall comparisons that SOA did favored Sonic over Mario.

    It’s also why I prefer the first Sonic to SMBW. No doubt SMBW has better overall level design. No doubt the gameplay is deeper and more complex, and the sense of accomplishment when I beat the game 100% was greater than when I beat Sonic(Although getting all the chaos emeralds is no easy feat). But to me, Sonic is just more fun to play. I get more joy and “nazukashii” when I play Sonic, because it’s a simple game about having fun. It brings me back to even before I played Sonic, when I was a little kid exposed to the wonder and excitement that playing games created.

    Speaking of having fun, I totally agree with you that Mario 64 is one of the greatest games ever. I was lucky enough to be on a NATO base when the N64 came out, and since nobody there knew what it was, I got one with Mario on the first weekend. And I played that game to death, finding everything. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had…..I sold the N64 after that, since it was pretty much the only reason to own one until Zelda game out. But it was as phenomenal as you said it was.

  8. And I hope you still continue VGMpire as long as you can. Do you find it less rewarding than you used to? I know nostalgia is a huge factor lot your show; more than any other VGM podcast, your show is based around your experiences playing games that had music you love. Have you shared most of what you wanted to share with us? Would you find the experience of sharing new findings with the listeners to be less rewarding?

    I ask these questions for your benefit as much as ours. Because VGMpire is not primarily focused on new stuff you’ve discovered, I’ve always wondered when the well would dry up. As with most podcasts that are labors of love, the host usually stops when the things they want to say/the fulfillment they get from doing the show becomes less than their everyday responsibilities. Are you reaching the end? I hope not, but in either case, VGMpire is one of my very favorite shows and it’s been a very rewarding journey for me. Thank you.

  9. In no way do we blame you for having less time for VGMpire Brett but I am a little crushed. Simply put it’s my favorite podcast and I wait for it anxiously. We were even getting extra spoiled with VGMinis in the mix! But with your added responsibilities it makes sense. Here’s a question: Is there any way we the listeners can contribute or help? Can we research, make playlists, find music, etc. to help you make episodes? I think you have a pretty big fanbase that would love to do our part to keep expanding the VGMpire!

    • Completely agree! If there’s some way to crowd source the community we’d be happy to contribute!

  10. Please don’t spin down VGMpire Brett/Laser Time! I understand getting busier with other commitments, but maybe you could make time by dialing back other projects instead?

    For example, Thirty-Twenty-Ten is a nice idea, but perhaps it could go from weekly to monthly? It is a little too much pure “remember-whenning” for me – one of my favorite aspects of VGMpire is that it not only is a nice sampling of music from games of long ago, but it also hits on more recent games, or takes a look at a long-standing franchise across time up to the present.

    So not only do you get the nostalgia hit, but you also can get exposure to newer games. There are games I might never even have heard of if it weren’t for VGMpire (e.g. Kentucky Route 0, Double Dragon Neon, etc.), or some recent games whose great music I might never have heard, due to not having time to play them (e.g. Undertale).

    Respectfully though, I say all this so you know the opinion of 1 listener, but if you enjoy some of your other commitments more, of course follow your passions and don’t do regular VGMpire episodes only because people want more of it. I love the show and will keep listening as long as there are new episodes!

    • Thanks for the kind words, but it’s worth noting that 302010 has about 2.5 times as many listeners as VGMpire, so it by far is the more “successful” show. So that one has to keep going, which is fine because it’s fun and is also a Patreon unlock thing.

      But, I do hope to keep making episodes and seeing everyone’s responses here helps me find the time/motivation for that. The show definitely isn’t “done”!

      • So good to hear that 302010 is performing well, you have a lot of hardcore fans here for VGA, and we could create a Google doc to help source things/set up shows? Might help with the “time” side of your schedule

  11. I never realized how much Kondo used base to drive the rhythm in these songs. Guess when they are stuck in your head you sort of only remember the predominate notes. Thanks for putting together all of these shows over the years. Maybe swapping to a monthly schedule would be easier (Rocktober excepted). Whatever you decide though will be fine by me because you turned me on to the awesomeness of so many different VGM soundtracks.

  12. Brett, It’s not for me to tell you how to spend your time, especially since I’m not paying anything for vgmpire, but I would be very sad to see this podcast go… It’s the best game music podcast out there and such pleasant company throughout my day. Your work is much appreciated.

  13. For what it’s worth VGMpire is my favourite LT show. Obviously you guys need to work out a schedule that works for you but I hope VGMpire can continue in some way, maybe as a monthly or even bi-monthly!

  14. I just want to remind people that there are a lot of listeners out there who may not participate with comments or forums but we are dedicated fans. I have been listening since early GR days and the background music helped me realize my love of game music. Your posts on Game Music of the Day and then onto VGMpire have helped foster a passing interest into a deep love and admiration for the genre. Thank you for everything you have been doing these past years and I will follow whatever you decide to do.

  15. Bret, I enjoyed the episode first of all. But I have to echo the comments made by many as to the fate of Vgmpire. This show got me back into video game music, much less introduced me to games I haven’t gotten around to playing. It’s important to keep this thing going.. How many podcasts can be truly said of that they have impacted someone’s life? I can say that of this show. If you need to go Patreon for this, the community can support it. Heck, I’ll do it, and I’m not a guy who usually supports stuff online. Maybe Kulikowski could host every other episode? I’m sure he could introduce the audience to other tracks you might not have a reference point for. In short, this show is simply too important and too meaningful to so many people to simply let it become intermittent. Give it some thought. Rock on

  16. This may be one of the most Cliché episodes but these games and their music are so engrained in a whole generation that it would be an absolute shame to not devote an episode the them just because they might be “overplayed”.

    I remember spending hours upon hours in Super Mario World just trying to get out of the Forest of Illusion until my cousin, who was 8 years older than me) explained to me that there where stages with multiple exits and I shouldn’t just take the first one I see.

    It’s was great time and all theses songs make me feel warm and fuzzy. And the a little nauseous when I realise it’s been over 20 years.

    Also I never noticed that the SMW music changed depending on if you where riding Yoshi or not.

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