The Musical Box #29: Rolling Musically

The Musical Box features 30 articles focusing on game music production and implementation. Edition #29: Super Mario Galaxy

Super Mario Galaxy was featured two times on The Musical Box (editions 2 and 22). I chose Super Mario Galaxy again because Nintendo games (most notably the main Mario series and The Legend of Zelda series) have great examples of dynamic music implementation. Some are very traditional (adding a layer of percussion when you ride Yoshi, for instance), but some are unique, like the music in the stage Rolling in the Clouds.

Game: Super Mario Galaxy
Released: 2007
Platform: Wii
Developer: Nintendo
Composers: Mahito Yokota and Koji Kondo

The Set-Up
In this stage, the player needs to move the Wiimote to control the speed of the ball. Depending on the angle of the inclination, the ball can move faster or slower. The implementation itself is pretty cool, but what we want to focus here is the usage of music.

The music tempo changes according to the speed you’re rolling the ball. This creates a strong sense of immersion since the faster you go the more tense you become! As you progress in the game, those stages become more difficult and players may notice that the tempo changes add value to the game experience.

The Moment

Check the video below to see the entire stage.

The Impact

The implementation of this feature is so good that it’s impossible to stay unnoticed. The usage of the Wiimote to control the ball is a really powerful experience. And I truly believe that a lot of people that played Super Mario Galaxy also paid attention to the tempo change of the music. In short, this clever audio implementation helped Super Mario Galaxy become an even better game.

Special thanks: Gilliard Lopes, Rafael Kuhnen, Fernando Secco and Sandro Tomasetti.

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