ReMix: Super Mario Land 'Why So Serious?'

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Super Mario Land

So, craziness: SGC rocked last weekend, and we were lucky enough to be there. Larry and I were also lucky enough to end up as the finalists in the HD Remix tourney, but my lime green Ken sadly fell to the overwhelming masculine security of his pink T-hawk. We got this on video, but I'm currently looking for someone skilled enough to edit it so it looks like I won. Handily. There was a Nolan Bushnell keynote, a presentation and debate with Jack Thompson himself, and plenty of other awesomeness. If this con doesn't repeat next year and keep growing, there be no justice. We also need to send a major shout out to GPX Gaming - these guys run the gaming operations at tons of awesome events and do a first-class job. Manny hooked us up with speakers in the dealer's room so people could actually HEAR our shizz, and Javier and Glen made sure everything went smoothly with our live remix request set and HDR prize giveaway. It was glorious; we're definitely psyched about hanging with them again at Game Unicon in August.

We've been extra-super-busy with the convention circuit this summer, which has really exploded. Two additional announcements on that front:

Now on to the mix: halc showed up last year with a great Tetris Attack mix, and it's good to see him back in action in 2009, this time collabing with neighbor chthonic, whose last mix was (sadly) "way back" in 2007. Crazy, eh? Andrew writes:

"Let me start by saying that Super Mario Land is really hard. We've been producing this on Ben's computer, and there's no internet at his place, so everytime we needed to hear the source tune for Stage 2-1, I had to pick up the Gameboy and beat the first three stages, which was like... extremely difficult (for me, anyway) at first. Now I can play through the first three stages flawlessly without losing any lives. Enjoy and god bless the chip."

I'm really not a hardcore gamer, but I actually thought SML was pretty easy back in the day... I remember beating it and looping back to the beginning to accrue more extra lives - those bonus games were certainly helpful. I think the hardest thing about that game was playing on the Game Boy's un-backlit screen in low light, when the entire game basically looked like one big indeterminate greenish blob. Still, rather cool that the process for this mix involved playing the actual game each time they needed a source reference, and it seems like halc's platforming skills benefitted from the process. Ben writes:

"What to say. First off, I should probably mention that this is a collaborative effort... halcyon and I live in the same area, and we recently started using my brand new desktop pc. I thought of this theme on a whim, and we ran with it for a few months until it became this strange little super mario opus. This psuedo-chip tronica of sorts is becoming one of my personal favorite soundscapes... but really, the title says it all. Relax, people."

Of course, in the recent collective consciousness, the title question is being asked by a homicidal maniac dressed up in clown makeup, which might compromise the sentiment, but it's valid nonetheless. I'm sort of in a rush this morning, so it's time for the power of judgequote - Palpable writes:

"A few of the original sections also use the chord progression so I'm comfortable with the liberalness. Great use of texture in this, you constantly go from one soundscape to another (soundscape). Even though the 1-1 melody is used a bunch of times, the track still evolves through the use of different drums and synths."

BGC adds:

"I'm going to keep this short and sweet. SML was the first game I ever owned (besides Tetris which came with my Gameboy, so I don't count it). I'm quite familiar with the melody. I played this game for freaking hours and hours and hours. I think it's a fun deviation from what a lot of people around here seem to try to put into a remix lately. I didn't hear any production gripes that caused me to bite my cheek. I think it's a great arrangement and to me, the source connection remained plenty solid even during the parts where it seemed like entirely original music."

Mattias also wrote up a pretty detailed source breakdown in the judges' decision that you should read. Bottom line: great, interpretive collab from two guys who are each awesome in their own right and whose strengths are both put to great use; seriously good unseriousness.

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Argle
on 2012-11-15 09:59:18
There's something almost symphonic about this tune. It's totally epic, in a chippy way. I love it.
Darangen
on 2012-11-14 11:53:13
I somehow just discovered this.
It's been on repeat for the better part of two days now. Oh the nostalgia.
halc
on 2010-08-25 22:42:57
Geoffrey Taucer;708966 wrote: One of my girls will be competing a floor routine to this mix this season.

o_o epic!
youtube link when this happens
Geoffrey Taucer
on 2010-08-25 21:53:47
One of my girls will be competing a floor routine to this mix this season.
Nario
on 2010-01-14 21:28:50
Whoa, I loved ALL of chthonic's work back in the day, and I'm so surprised and so happy to discover that a new song was made! Of course, seeing as how halc worked on it too, I'll definitely have to check out his stuff too!
In any case, this song is just as enjoyable as any other chthonic song! No gripes, always interesting, always charming, nothing short of genius! Yeah, I'm a total fanboy, and proud of it!
Great song, you two! Now I'm off to check out halc's music! :D
Seriously, I'm so excited to find more chthonic material!
Marmiduke
on 2010-01-03 00:48:33
Interesting lo-fi approach to the chiptune formula. Fuzzed production and a slew of more traditional sounding synths give this a feeling removed from the chip mixes I've heard lately. Which is actually refreshing. In exchange for oomph and clarity, there's an array of texture and density to music.
I think the mix gets better and better as it progresses; the arrangement certainly takes on a life of its own, moving into unfamiliar tangents that complement the nostalgic melodies quite nicely. This is constantly keeping things fresh, despite the fact it is the length of an average dance mix. Sustaining happy, lo-fi electronic music that long and never having it grow tedious is a commendable achievement.
The chiptune scene on the site seems to be going from strength to strength, and this very enjoyable collab mix is a definite stepping stone to the current awesomeness.
Emunator
on 2009-12-22 01:17:25
I remember seeing this one in the judge's queue and thinking "WTF is with the hackneyed, year-old Dark Knight reference? I can't think of how this could possibly be appropriate."
Then I listened, and I realized that I was taking it too seriously myself :-P This is a plain happy remix and, between the infectious dance beat and the chipper chiptune style, I can't help but feel a bit more joyous while I'm listening :-)
The subtle use of the guitar toward the end really inspires me, and I plan to blatantly rip that off in a coming collab of my own ;-)
Great Job!
Zombie
on 2009-12-21 13:36:29
Great remix! This was THE mario game that got me into videogames when I was kid. I love it.
:D
Pachi Risu
on 2009-11-22 19:11:09
Nice Remix. Very enjoyable.
Polo
on 2009-11-07 08:22:16
The arrangement's personalized every step of the way, crafting hills and valleys through natural, invigorating transitions and an expanse of old-school sounds. This in turn helps channel one's imagination as they enjoy a pleasurable romp through Retro Land. Top it all off with a calm ending of guitar strums and you have an enticing masterpiece.
MaxxAndrew
on 2009-09-29 19:01:46
This track is just awesome. Yeah it kinda has some emo kid feel to it, but that doesn't diminish the fact that is done well. I wish some of the melodies were a little louder and the bass was a little sub woofer oriented, but this is a style and mood Id like to see much more of on ocremix. Most similar tracks come off as a little too simple rave repetitive beat. This one stays true to the style with the snare drum, but has many ambient drums that just flow each part together and build up to the leading snare... ahhh its great. There is kinda this static orchestra to the whole track caused by maybe compression Idk but it creates a progression and a introduction to each new section of the song which is cool. DOWNLOAD IT. I know I did.
halc
on 2009-09-25 04:32:55
KyleJCrb;564420 wrote: Loved this so much I played it on an episode of NGI awhile back. Nice one, dudes.

wow, i guess i never caught this. you guys are awesome - i definitely enjoyed that. and larry, you are the man.
also just a comment on this whole live collaboration situation; ben's one of my good buds - not only do we live in the same 'general' area, but we actually went to high school together and have been within that proximity ever since.
anyway, thanks! glad you guys dig our mix. you'll certainly hear from us again. :-D
Red_Link
on 2009-09-14 23:36:11
This is, as rainmanbk said, one of 'those' mixes. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS MIX! And actually, this was the mix that convinced me to join this site finally :razz:. One thing I did notice was that while it said that it was a mix of the second stage, it seemed to me, at least in the beginning, that it more resembled the credits music, which incidentally is also a really good song. Anyways, THANK YOU CHTHONIC AND HALCYON (ack, I keep thinking it's spelled 'Halycon')!!!! This is one of those that makes me go back and look up others by these remixers, regardless of whether I've played that game or not. And, incidentally, I find that all the ones they've done in other games I looked up were all ones I thought were good enough to keep, no exceptions.
Now to actual critiquing.
The intro was nice, with the coming in on those broken chords, and I liked how remniscent it was of the actual music. The slowdown later in the piece was a nice touch, and I also liked the 'background' type synth. As to negatives.... Well, this is one where I actually can't really catch much of anything. The coin sound was a bit annoying as it happened at irregular intervals, and was fairly quiet, making you listen harder for it, but not finding it. I also wish this had lasted longer... it seemed to end too soon, and the ending didn't really match the tone of the rest of the piece. Other than that, great job!
stkyle
on 2009-08-19 01:32:38
This is one of my favorite mixes. The first day I downloaded it, I listened to it 21 times ... and that was only in the brief periods in my car or walking between classes. Excellent job guys! The title makes me happy ^_^
halc
on 2009-08-16 02:28:47
thanks for all the great comments, everyone :D