Tags: koji kondo, piano, shigeru miyamoto, video game music, Yoshi's Island
I don’t know why Yoshi makes me so happy. Perhaps it’s because I have such fond memories of playing Yoshi’s Island when I was younger. Perhaps it’s because everything in his world is so weird and funny and cute…
See those puffy white things? If you eat them then your pupils will get really small, you’ll completely lose your balance, and the world will wave back and forth as if you’ve had too much to drink. The level is very appropriately named, “Touch Fuzzy Get Dizzy.” Besides hallucinogenic dandelion puffs, you will also be shrunken and eaten by a frog (your only way out being to shoot eggs at its uvula), sent into outerspace to fight a crow by pushing spikes through the other side of the planet (which I suspect was an inspiration for Mario Galaxy), morphed into trains, cars, helicopters, and submarines, and chased by someone named “Tap Tap the Red Nose.”
The world is highly interactive for a Super Nintendo game, which is probably why I spent so much time replaying it… Besides wanting to get 100% on all the levels so I could unlock bonus mini-games and secret levels, I also wanted to uncover all the little hidden details that made the world feel so creative and whimsical. In one of the levels, there’s a row of enemies standing above you. Their goal is to pass a bomb from one side of the room to your location so that they can hit you with it… But if you stomp the ground while the bomb is being passed from enemy to enemy, whoever is holding the bomb will prematurely drop it, causing the poor butterfingers to lower his head in shame as his peers disapprovingly shake their heads.
I could go on and on about how much I loved the gameplay, the puzzles, the character art, the music, and the world… but the thing I love the most about this game was how it inspired me. When I was younger, I used to subscribe to Nintendo Power (I also got grounded a lot for calling the Nintendo Power Hotline, but that’s another story)… My favorite issue was #77 because it had an article on Shigeru Miyamoto that completely fascinated me. This was the first time I’d ever heard anything about the creator of Super Mario Bros. and I was immediately impressed by him. When I was growing up, I always found myself immersed in some sort of creative activity… I drew comics of my friends on the side of my math homework, I procrastinated practicing my Classical music assignments because I was too busy improvising new songs or figuring out how to play the music from Little Nemo the Dream Master on the piano, I wrote stories and designed new levels in Megaman, and I was always imagining. The more I learned about Shigeru Miyamoto, the more I felt like I could relate to him and how he saw the world. Yoshi’s Island was like this big crazy manifestation of all that creativity… and after reading that Nintendo Power article, it became my dream to work in the video game industry; I promised myself that I would never abandon my creativity and that I’d always try to look at the world with a childlike heart.
So that brings me to the latest video:
This is my improvisation of the ending theme song from Yoshi’s Island, which was written by Koji Kondo. It’s beautiful and sweet; a perfect way to end the game. The premise of the game is that Kamek (a wizard and caretaker of Baby Bowser) has foretold that Mario would stop Bowser in the future… so he sends his cronies to kidnap Baby Mario as he’s being transported by the stork to his future parents. The cronies are able to kidnap Luigi and the stork, but Mario falls safely onto the island of the Yoshis. Shortly after, the Yoshis set forth to rescue Luigi and the stork so that the babies can be delivered to their parents. At the very end of the game, the parents hold up Baby Mario and Luigi, and “heroes are born” is shown at the bottom of the screen. Right at that moment, the Super Mario Bros. “level completed” riff from the original game is been worked into the composition… it’s so beautiful… I’m slightly embarassed to admit this, but I get tears in my eyes during that part.
Anyways, I hope you like this rendition… and if you’ve never played Yoshi’s Island, I hope you get the chance to play this wonderful game. Who knows, maybe it’ll inspire you, too.