Game Music

E3 2011: Nintendo’s Got Game (Booth Audio Impressions)

June 20, 2011 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook E3 2011: Nintendo’s Got Game (Booth Audio Impressions)on Twitter

Nintendo had a lot of stuff to show off this year. In addition to a new console announcement, there were a ton of games to play and hear on both the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Wii. We spent time with many of the games to catch a peek at what we can expect to hear from these games over the next year, and have posted many of the official E3 2011 trailers on our OSVchannel for your listening pleasure as well.

The games we checked out include Super Mario, Mario Kart, and Paper Mario on the 3DS as well as Rhythm Heaven, Kirby, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword on the Wii.

Join us after the jump for a crash course through the Nintendo booth this year.

Super Mario (Nintendo 3DS)

We had the opportunity to play Super Mario immediately following Nintendo’s E3 2011 press conference. I immediately plugged my headphones in and was tapping my foot with the jazzy big band track that you’ll hear in the above trailer. I think you’ll be with me in thinking that while this sounds cool, it’s not as catchy as past Mario stage themes. I also played through an airship level that sported a remix of the classic airship tune. Later, during a special presentation by Shigeru Miyamoto himself, we were shown a video of a top-down Zelda-themed level that unfortunately didn’t feature any music, but I’m sure will have some sort of Zelda music to honor the 25th anniversary of the Zelda franchise.

Oh, and the return of the tanooki suit is one of the best things I’ve ever heard.

Paper Mario (Nintendo 3DS)

I actually didn’t see any Paper Mario footage or gameplay at E3 2011. In fact, I didn’t even know it was announced until I got home and was browsing through Nintendo’s E3 website. This tends to happen when you’re in the thick of it at the show, as you often miss out on the big picture while checking out the individual titles you’re looking at. There is a cute little tune featured throughout the above trailer, however, that should give you an idea of the playful musical that will find its way into the game.

Mario Kart (Nintendo 3DS)

The demo of Mario Kart took players through a single, 2-lap stage. I had fun with the classic Mario Kart gameplay, and was surprised by the appearance of the kite on the back of my kart when I went over jumps. While I’m a hardcore fan of traditional go karts without the ridiculous kart designs that Nintendo has crammed in Mario Kart titles over the years, and while the kite (for air) and propeller (for water) kind of go along with that, I actually enjoyed maneuvering my kart through the air. Miyamoto made a comment about wanting to call the game Mario Kite, and I think that could actually work.

Anyway, the music. The track I heard in-game was the same as in the trailer above. It’s a cool rock tune, but why does it sound so general MIDI? I talked about this problem at great lengths in our “5 Reasons Why Audio on the Nintendo 3DS Should Sound Amazing” article a few months back, so it’s a shame that Nintendo is going the route of not maximizing the power of the system by using low quality samples.

Rhythm Heaven (Nintendo Wii)

Okay, so we already talked about Rhythm Heaven at length in our coverage of Nintendo’s rhythm-based experiences. You can check out our in-depth coverage there, but I wanted to provide the trailer here for you to get a listen of some of the music we described in our writeup.

Kirby (Nintendo Wii)

Kirby is another one of those games I had no idea had been announced until E3 was almost through. As such, I didn’t get the chance to play it at E3, but you can see gameplay footage in the above video, along with a light-hearted piece in the style of the Kirby universe.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

There was a lot to hear at E3 this year for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. We only heard a few pieces at last year’s E3, but this year there was trailer music and several in-game tracks that were distinctly different.

During a special presentation, we were shown some gameplay in a volcano area where two mischievous characters were discussing the hiding of the key to the next.  A jazzy piece played in the background with finger snapping percussion to highlight the playfulness of the two characters, and as a fan of jazz music, I was liking what I was hearing.  We were then shown a different part of the game taking place in the ‘Siren World,’ an alternate (and creepy!) dimension that was made even more tense by the world’s guardians who were constantly in pursuit of Link.  The music here stood out with its use to triangles and bells to accompany this ethereal dimension.  It’s also interesting to note that Link’s companion has been given a voice similar to Midna’s, coming as a spoken language but not sounding at all familiar.

While that was what we heard in-game, the official E3 trailer sports a completely different sound.  Seen above, the trailer features an epic orchestral sound with a distinctly Western flair.  I love the melody featured, and hope this is an indication of the quality of music that we’ll be hearing elsewhere in the game.


So, that’s what we saw and heard at the Nintendo booth this year.  Are you impressed by any of the music in these games?  Which titles are you looking forward to the most?

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