VGM Wednesdays – “Mushroom Kingdom” from Super Mario RPG

“Mushroom Kingdom” from Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, composed by Yoko Shimamura and released in 1996

Why isn’t there more bassoon in VGM? Seriously, its bouncy woodsiness sells me immediate in “Mushroom Kingdom.”

I love what Yoko Shimamura (or Parasite Eve and Kingdom Hearts fame) does here.  Instead of adapting a theme from Mario for the iconic Mushroom Kingdom, she puts pencil to paper and creates something new.

Because, let’s face it, we’ve been in the Mushroom Kingdom through most Mario games, but when have we ever been inside the Mushroom Kingdom? Maybe we have, but when we actually get to walk around and explore it feels like a new experience and I think it should have new music.  Thankfully, so does Shimamura 🙂

But it’s not only the bassoon in the beginning that make it shine, there is also tambourine and triangle which sits juuuuuuuust beneath the bassoon colour and adds some sparkle to the colour.  There’s also a click in there somewhere, maybe a cross stick, temple block or wood block.  I’m not sure what it is, but I like it.

Then we have English Horn on a small melody in the A section – a double reed duet.  YES!

Some low reed and low brass colours take over the melody in the B section (0:13) and catapult the listener back into A section, which now has a flute on top.

Until about 0:48, the piece is carried by the winds.  Now, why is that important? It’s really because we depend on strings for just-about-everything and the winds and percussion usually colour that sound.  This time, in the absence of strings, we have only colour and it’s beautiful 🙂

Thoughts? Write them below, send me a tweet or comment on the facebook post!


4 thoughts on “VGM Wednesdays – “Mushroom Kingdom” from Super Mario RPG

  1. The bassoon in this game KILLS me. Love this track, but I think my favourite track of all time from this OST has to be the boss battle track: Fight Against an Armed Boss. That bass line and percussion just keeps my foot tapping and that catchy clarinet (maybe bassoon) melody is just too much. 🙂

  2. Oh, and how can I forget about “Beware the Forest Mushrooms”. I have no idea what instrument they’re using at the start of that track, but it just feels magical.

  3. I actually just finished playing through this game again yesterday, believe it or not (I’ve lost count of how many that is now). It was definitely one of the most important games of my childhood, so the music is forever ingrained in my mind.

    While I wouldn’t say this is my favourite piece in the game (That would have to be the Forest Maze or “stronger monster” theme), it makes me feel totally nostalgic. Square Enix needs to work on a sequel, if only so some of these themes can be revisited.

  4. I love that you both commented here because I’d put money on the notion that you both know the score inside and out 🙂

    I love “Beware the Forest Mushrooms.” Especially love how the composer weaves in different colours to the forefront in this really seamless way. In the first 8 measures (assuming the piece is in 2/4), the strings have this really cool melodic line behind the actual melody, then it seamlessly colours the melody for the next 8… this happens through the whole piece. So awesome 🙂

    And yeah, “Armed Boss” is SO catchy 😛

    Brady: I love “Stronger Monster” too. It’s so quirky with all of its accordion and 80s Casio “Orchestra Hit.” But also, the transition at the end of the loop is in weird parallel intervals… but it works so well.

    I just love this whole game 🙂 Thanks for commenting, guys!

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