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Topics - HolaHashad

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Feedback / Erroneous Composer Attributions (Koji Kondo)
« on: August 11, 2020, 01:32:14 AM »

I've been looking around this site for a number of years looking at Mario scores, and I've come across several errors when it comes to attributing each tune to the right composer.

I realize some of these transcriptions are quite old, but I find it quite unacceptable that we have cases where tunes such as Flipside from Super Paper Mario being, the Flat Zone theme from Super Smash Bros. Melee, or much of the Mario & Luigi music being credited to Koji Kondo, when in fact, he had ZERO involvement with these games.

It's one thing to not know which composer did what when you have a soundtrack that involves more than one composer, but with games like Super Paper Mario, it's quite easy to just look this information up. It's particularly unacceptable with games such as the Mario & Luigi series when only one composer has been involved with all of them.

Seriously, just look it up on Wikipedia, there you'll see "Yoko Shimomura." Similar with games like Super Paper Mario. Just earlier, I found "Flipside" attributed to Koji Kondo. How on earth could someone get this wrong? Look up the Super Paper Mario Wikipedia page, and there you'll find who composed the soundtrack. NOWHERE is Koji Kondo mentioned

However, since I understand many don't know this, let me clear a few things up:

Until the first Super Mario Maker, Koji Kondo hadn't significantly worked on a soundtrack since Super Mario Sunshine. And even with that game, he only contributed about half (mostly in the first half of the game, it seems).

After this, he became more of a manager/supervisor, completely taking a backseat with most games. Hence, when you read the credits to these games, you'll see his name credited at the bottom of a long list of composers. (Whereas in Sunshine, he was the first of two names credited for its music, because he still contributed a significant amount of music)

Example, in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Kondo played a very small role in its soundtrack. The primary composer and sound director was Kenta Nagata, with Hajime Wakai contributing a good amount as well, then Toru Minegishi had a somewhat smaller roll, and Kondo being the least involved.

The only time he involved himself with any composition (and by that I mean, "contribute a handful of compositions to a soundtrack with hundreds of them") were the major Mario and Zelda titles (and a couple Smash Bros. games).

These include:
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
- New Super Mario Bros.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
- Super Mario Galaxy
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl
- The Legend of Zelda, Spirit Tracks
- Super Mario Galaxy 2
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
- Super Mario 3D World
- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

After this, he became more involved with a few other games, including some side games
- Super Mario Maker
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- Super Mario Odyssey
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Super Mario Maker 2.

So, let's start with Super Mario Sunshine. Kondo was still main composer of this game, and contributed all the main themes. Since Nintendo never released an official soundtrack, it'll never be 100% certain as to which ones he wrote. My guess is that he wrote most of the music that involves menus and fanfares and the like, along with some other tunes such as the original Delfino Airstrip music, the final battle with Bowser, and all the incidental music that plays during the cutscenes. But that's a whole other discussion.

We know, for sure, Kondo contributed the following:

- Delfino Plaza
- Bianco Hills
- Ricco Harbor
- Gelato Beach
- Secret Course
- Staff Roll

We know, for sure, that he did not write the following, as they were composed by Shinobu Nagata (known at the time as Shinobu Tanaka):

- Event
- Pinna Park
- Mecha-Bowser
- Noki Bay
- Sirena Beach
- Pianta Village
- The Nokis' Ocean Depths
- Sky & Sea

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was the first game Kondo took a backseat, as mentioned before, and there's only one composition known to be attributed to him, and that's:

- Grandma's Theme

With New Super Mario Bros. on the DS, Kondo acted as Sound Director, and composed only one composition:

- Aboveground BGM (the main theme of the game)

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Kondo contributed only one composition, and it's actually a demo piece that wasn't even used in-game. It was later released with Twilight Princess HD:

- Orchestral Piece #2

With Super Mario Galaxy, Kondo contributed four tracks. However, three of these tracks are just different arrangements of the same tune, so it's really just two compositions altogether:

- Good Egg Galaxy
- Rosalina's Comet Observatory 1
- Rosalina's Comet Observatory 2
- Rosalina's Comet Observatory 3

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Kondo arranged the classic Overworld theme from the original Super Mario Bros.:

- Ground Theme (Plays in the Mushroomy Kingdom stage)

In The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, there's an old interview that stated that Kondo worked on:

- "Ending" theme (Don't know if this is the credits theme, or music that plays towards the end)

In Super Mario Galaxy 2, Kondo contributed five tracks. Just like Super Mario Galaxy 1, three of these are arrangements of the same tune:

- Yoshi Star Galaxy
- Starship Mario 1
- Starship Mario 2
- Starship Mario 3
- Bowser Jr.'s Fort

In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Kondo contributed only one composition. It plays during the opening cinematic that beings playing when you set your controller down at the title screen for a little bit:

- The Legend of Skyloft

In Super Mario 3D World, Kondo contributed two compositions, and they're really just different arrangements of the same melody:

- Chainlink Charge
- Sunshine Seaside ~ Underwater

For Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Kondo once again arranged music of the past, this time, a medley:

- Super Mario Bros. Medley

Super Mario Maker is where things get tricky, as he was considered "main composer" of the game. He wasn't the only composer, however, he was sound director, and was responsible for the majority of it from what it sounded like in interviews. Nintendo, however, never released this soundtrack. It can be assumed that he wrote some of the new retroactive compositions for older game styles, such as the Ghost House theme for Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3, as well as the Airship theme for Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World. Again, though, two other composers worked on this soundtrack: Naoto Kubo and Asuka Hayazaki.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe credits him at the very end as a composer, likely for contributing one of the additional battle tracks. It's not known which one he wrote, but some believe it to be the regular Battle Stadium course. However, again, that's speculation, so it really isn't known.

Super Mario Odyssey was a massive project, and saw the first time Kondo contributed a significant amount of original music for a mainline Mario game sinceā€¦ Super Mario Sunshine:

- Wooded Kingdom: Steam Gardens*
- Wooded Kingdom: Steam Gardens - Sherm Zone
- Wooded Kingdom: Torkdrift Battle
- Lost Kingdom: Klepto Appearance
- Lost Kingdom: Cappy Gets Taken Away!
- Lost Kingdom: Forgotten Isle*
- Bowser Kingdom: Bowser Castle*
- Bowser Kingdom: Bowser Castle: Main Courtyard
- Bowser Kingdom: RoboBrood Battle
- Crazy Cap Shop
- Run, Jump Throw! Stage 1

*8-bit versions of these were composed by Kondo as well

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Kondo arranged the final battle music from Super Mario Bros. 3:

- King Bowser (Super Mario Bros. 3)

Finally, Super Mario Maker 2, Kondo acted as sound director, but also contributed new retroactive compositions for the old game styles with the Desert, Snow, Forest, and Sky themes that didn't exist back then.

Seriously, after Wind Waker (since again, it's not known exactly what was contributed there 100%), these are ALL the compositions that are confirmed to be composed and arranged by Koji Kondo himself. He did not work on the Paper Mario, the Mario & Luigi, nor the Mario Kart games (until Mario Kart 8 Deluxe that is), he didn't work on any remakes of old Mario/Zelda games, he didn't work on any Mario Party games, and he wasn't at all involved with the rest of the New Super Mario Bros. series. Similarly, Kondo had ZERO involvement in Breath of the Wild, composition-wise.

I know some people will say "B-b-but, he supervised it, right?" "Supervising" could be anything, like passively accepting and rejecting a piece. That doesn't mean he composed it, and furthermore, it diminishes the hard work someone else put into making that composition. He's credited as "supervisor" for many different soundtracks because he's the manager of the entire sound group there at Nintendo. This is similar to how Nintendo presidents are credited as "Executive Producer" for every game that released under their leadership, that doesn't mean they had any creative involvement with the projects whatsoever.

I know others will point out that many of these games reuse compositions from Kondo's older games, and they do indeed. But I still think it's inappropriate to just credit Kondo on these, because someone else was involved in arranging them. There are a lot of callbacks to his older games in Super Mario Odyssey, for example, but the soundtrack booklet does a great job at crediting the arranger first, then Kondo second.

I'm not trying to put Kondo down. Quite the opposite, I actually have the utmost respect for his music, but I hate how he's erroneously attributed to a lot of work that he had zero involvement with. Similarly, I hate it when some of the music he did gets wrongly attributed to another Nintendo staff member.

I hope this clears up a lot.

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