Would we consider 1983's Super Mario Bros. as iconic a piece of video gaming history without its perfect 8-bit soundtrack? The pixelated art and accompanying tunes compliment each other so well, it's difficult to imagine Shigeru Miyamoto had anything else in mind apart from that minimalist background music. In reality, however, the Super Mario Bros. audio was the result of needing to fit all the game's sounds within a standard SNES cartridge's storage limits. Now, fans can hear those songs pre-compression, thanks to the hard work of some very dedicated dataminers.
Unsurprisingly calming retrowave soundscapes — As highlighted by YouTuber The Brickster and their dedicated friends, the entire original soundtrack for Super Mario Bros. can now be heard in fully restored audio, essentially as each track sounded before getting compressed for SNES carts. To do this, the dataminers scoured Super Mario Advance's previously leaked source code to find its music samples. As it turns out, those files are simply reused audio from Super Mario Bros, but as The Verge notes, "this isn’t simply a case of taking the tracks from the original game and cleaning them up." Instead, people like unknown and Moola "rebuild" each song using those original, pre-compressed samples. The full tracklist so far can be found on YouTube here.
The results? Pretty wonderful, if we're being honest. While everyone's obviously used to the classic Mario sounds, there's something very cool about getting to hear the compositions before they were tossed into the sonic blender that was 80's file compression.
At least something Super Mario-related is open to the public — We'll take whatever Nintendo nostalgia we can get these days. With Super Nintendo World's opening on hiatus for the conceivable future (despite having a very cute train to nowhere) until the we get to the other side of the pandemic, there's been a lot of Mario-related disappointment lately. TheBrickster has promised more revamped original Super Mario Bros. songs coming in the near future, which is great. We'll take as many as we can get. In any case, the newly, full Mario sounds are certainly not something to rush through in three-minutes-or-less.