It's the time of the year when the days get shorter, retailers stay open longer, big games are released and there seems to be a holiday every other week. Defunct Games wants to ring in this festive season with a look at the most memorable video game themes of all time. For five weeks straight, Cyril Lachel and Kevin Bailey will share their thoughts on themes from the last thirty years. Join us every day between November 22 and December 25 for The 34 Game Themes of Christmas!
Super Mario World
[ Company: Nintendo | Year: 1991 | Console: Super NES ]
Talk about putting your best foot forward. Super Mario World was the pack-in game for Nintendo's 16-bit console, making it the first game most Super NES owners played. Although it didn't show off the system's fancy scaling and rotation, it did offer a colorful adventure full of new power-ups and friends to meet. It also gave us this endlessly cheery song that has divided Mario fans for two decades.
I love the music of Super Mario Bros. Oh sure, I'm a little fed up of people playing that all-too-familiar first level theme, but no amount of repetition is going to make me turn against any of the 8-bit Mario music. Unfortunately, it's the 16-bit era where I started to have my doubts. This Super Mario World theme isn't terrible, but it relies a bit too heavily on high pitched notes that border on being shrill. And just in case you didn't think the song was cheery enough, it keeps throwing in sound effects, unnecessary flourishes and every other trick it can think of. At some point it starts to feel more like an exercise in showing off. Super Mario World remains one of the best 2D platformers of all time, but this theme song is the beginning of the end for Mario music. On the other hand, it's not nearly as bad as the New Super Mario Bros. U theme.
Super Mario World is the first Mario game with a theme that isn't doing double duty as level music. As with the 1-1 themes of previous Mario games, this song is very upbeat and catchy. It also feels as if it was designed specifically to show off the brand new SNES's sound bank, as many different instrument sounds are used throughout, mostly with short parts before another gets a turn in the spotlight or rhythm section. Because of this, it's fairly busy for a short, looping theme. Despite that, it doesn't stay interesting after multiple repetitions. Also, that high pitched flute or piccolo melody gives me a headache rather quickly. Make sure you mute the TV if you're playing this with a hangover. Overall though, it's not a bad theme. Just par for the course, as far as Mario is concerned.
Nothing is as funky as what we have in store for you tomorrow. It's a story about a couple of aliens who crash land on Earth. These two hip hop aliens may say they're into rap, but anybody that has played the game knows they are actually huge fans of George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars!