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The Super Mario Bros. theme is the first video game tune to enter the Library of Congress



The Super Mario Bros. theme is officially known as “Ground Theme,” as in the aboveground music in Super Mario Bros., and was first included in the game when it was released on the Famicom and Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. It marks the first video game music to be inducted into the Library of Congress.

Super Mario Bros. and its iconic theme music debuted in 1985 on the Famicom in Japan and the NES in the US. The two systems are displayed in the Nintendo New York store in NYC.
Image: Umar Shakir / The Verge

“Ground Theme” was produced by longtime and current Nintendo composer Koji Kondo, who created not only the many iterations of the Mario theme but also many other recognizable tunes from Punch-Out!! to The Legend of Zelda. He’s also arranged music in the Super Smash Bros. series, Star Fox, and the latest original music in games like Super Mario Odyssey and Super Mario Maker 2.

But Kondo’s Super Mario Bros. theme is certainly his most recognizable work, and its tune has been reused multiple times in different Mario games, shows, and movies. Nintendo even trademarked the famous coin sound from the game in 2016, which is one of the most reused sounds in all Super Mario titles.

The Super Mario Bros. theme is one of 25 new inductees to the US Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. It’s entering alongside well-known works like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams,” and Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina.”

But probably the biggest honor for Mario is entering the registry alongside Carl Sagan’s famous recording of the concept behind his book Pale Blue Dot in which Sagan describes an image of Earth taken about 3.7 billion miles away by the Voyager 1 probe in 1990. Personally, I’m thinking that pale blue dot is actually Luma from the Super Mario Galaxy games.

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