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Super Mario Theme Inducted Into National Recording Registry; A Video Game First

Composer Koji Kondo says, ‘Having this music preserved alongside so many other classic songs is such a great honour’

The iconic theme song of Nintendo’s beloved Super Mario Bros franchise has made history by becoming the first-ever gaming score to secure a coveted spot in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.

This recognition comes as a testament to the undeniable impact that the game and its music have had on popular culture, making it an unforgettable part of our collective awareness.

The Library Of Congress confirmed that the ‘Ground Theme’ – Nintendo’s 1985 track for Super Mario Bros. which became the series’ main theme – is “The first sounds of a video game to join the registry.”

The National Recording Registry was created to, “Preserve our history through recorded sound and reflects our nation’s diverse culture,” as explained by the Library of Congress.

“Having this music preserved alongside so many other classic songs is such a great honour,” said composer Koji Kondo. “It’s actually a little bit difficult to believe.”

As for how the track was created, Kondo 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.”

The franchise continues to break records

The Library of Congress provided brief statements about the significance and influence of each track inducted into the Registry with their latest additions. For the Super Mario Bros. theme, the following was noted:

“Perhaps the most recognisable video game theme in history, Koji Kondo’s main motif for the 1985 Nintendo classic, ‘Super Mario Bros’ helped establish the game’s legendary status and proved that the five-channel Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) sound chip was capable of vast musical complexity and creativity.”

Speaking of records, The Super Mario Bros. Movie which was released on March 31st this year and has broken yet another record by becoming the highest-grossing video game adaptation ever after garnering more than $600 million worldwide and is well on the way to amassing a hefty $1 billion.

Written By

Isa Muhammad is a writer and video game journalist covering many aspects of entertainment media including the film industry. He's steadily writing his way to the sharp end of journalism and enjoys staying informed. If he's not reading, playing video games or catching up on his favourite TV series, then he's probably writing about them.

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