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It's only fitting that the Super Mario Bros. theme be the first piece of video game music to join Congress' National Recording Registry.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

April 12, 2023

2 Min Read
Key art for New Super Mario Bros. U, featuring Mario, Luigi, and two Toads.

Koji Kondo's original musical theme for Super Mario Bros. has been recognized by the US Library of Congress. Referred to by Congress as "probably the most recognizable" theme song in video game history, the theme has been added to the National Recording Registry. 

Notably, this is the first ever video game theme to be recognized for the registry. It joins other songs for the 2023 selection, including "Sweet Dreams Are Made of This" by Eurythmics and Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville."  

The Mario theme first appeared in 1985's Super Mario Bros. for arcades and the Nintendo Entertainment System. It's been used countless times in the franchise's history, and was recently featured in the Super Mario Bros. Movie. Kondo worked with that film's composer, Brian Tyler, to incorporate the game's themes into the movie's score.

As for Kondo, he's been with the Mario series, and Nintendo overall, for decades. Not only has he composed music for a multitude of Mario titles like Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Odyssey, he's also done music for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD and Star Fox 64.  

"Few musicians have had their work become so internationally recognized for decades yet remain so relatively unknown as Koji Kondo," wrote Congress librarian Carla Hayden

Speaking to Congress on his song's addition to the registry, Kondo called it a "great honor. It's actually a little bit difficult to believe."

For the full list of 2023 additions to the National Recording Registry, you can see all 25 songs here.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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