The theme song for Nintendo‘s Super Mario Bros. series has become the first gaming score to be entered into the Library Of Congress’ National Recording Registry.
In a press release, the Library Of Congress confirmed that the ‘Ground Theme’ – Nintendo’s 1985 track for Super Mario Bros. that became the series’ main theme – is “the first sounds of a video game to join the registry”.
The National Recording Registry aims to highlight and preserve “the richness of the nations’ audio legacy” and includes the likes of The Velvet Underground, The Beach Boys and De La Soul.
“Having this music preserved alongside so many other classic songs is such a great honour,” shared composer Koji Kondo. “It’s actually a little bit difficult to believe.”
As for how Kondo created the track, he explained that he was limited by an “extremely small” amount of space reserved for audio on the Super Mario Bros. cartridge.
“I really had to be very innovative and make full use of the musical and programming ingenuity that we had at the time,” shared Kondo.
“I used all sorts of genres that matched what was happening on screen,” the composer continued. “We had jingles to encourage players to try again after getting a ‘game over,’ fanfares to congratulate them for reaching goals, and pieces that sped up when the time remaining grew short.”
Kondo’s Mario theme is joined by another 24 recordings of 2023’s National Recording Registry — including Mariah Carey‘s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’, ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ by John Denver, and The Police‘s ‘Synchronicity’.
Other artists to make the cut include Jimmy Buffett, Queen Latifah, Eurythmics and Led Zeppelin.
As for Nintendo, The Super Mario Bros. Movie – which features Kondo’s track – broke box office records when it released in cinemas last week.
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