Nintendo data miners rebuild Super Mario World soundtrack from original samples

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Recap: Super Mario World was the best-selling game ever on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, with sales totaling north of 20.6 million units during its lifetime. This was no doubt helped by the fact that Super Mario World was bundled with select SNES consoles, but still, it was a fantastic game with an excellent soundtrack.

In fact, it was prominently featured in our piece on memorable 8-bit and 16-bit video game music from last September.

The SNES was powerful hardware for its time, but compared to what is possible today, it was quite limited. The audio subsystem, for example, only had 64 KB of SRAM, meaning composers had to use lots of compression to make everything fit. It’s enough to make you wonder what SNES soundtracks could have sounded like without all the sacrifices.

(The original version of the swimming theme from Super Mario World as heard on the SNES.)

Now, we have some answers.

Twitter user The Brickster and some of his friends are actively working on Super Mario World Restored, a project that involves tracking down the original samples used to create the music in the game and rebuilding the tunes from the ground up.

Why hadn’t anyone done this before? Simple – nobody knew the names of the original samples.

(A restored version of the swimming theme from Super Mario World.)

Remember that massive leak of Nintendo IP from last year? As it turns out, it contained source code for Super Mario Advanced which reuses samples from Super Mario World. Now that people knew the names of the original samples, they were able to track them down and rebuild the songs.

The Brickster and crew have thus far published nine restored tracks and they sound pretty incredible. Compared to the originals, they’re a bit livelier and have more echoes. It’s probably the sort of thing that you’re either going to really appreciate or outright hate.

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