Mario vs. Donkey Kong's OG Composers Talk Making The Jump From GBA To Switch

  • Celeste Melville
  • Feb 20, 2024
  • 78
Mario vs. Donkey Kong's OG Composers Talk Making The Jump From GBA To Switch

The much-anticipated remake of "Mario vs. Donkey Kong" for the Nintendo Switch revitalizes the cherished Game Boy Advance puzzle platformer with updated visuals and several new features, including a reimagined soundtrack. The original game's music team from the DigiPen Music Department was invited back to enhance the score, incorporating a mix of acoustic performances to enrich the digital compositions of the past. 

The process of renewing the game's music went beyond simple digital manipulation. The project involved crafting tunes for two additional worlds introduced in the remake and integrating live musical elements with the existing synthetic sounds to create a blend that feels more organic and alive. Tacket Brown, who led production, engineering, and mastering, emphasized the significance of adding real instrumental layers to achieve a natural imperfection that resonates with listeners, making the auditory experience more relatable and genuine.

The narrative also delves into the longstanding partnership between DigiPen and Nintendo, tracing back to the 1990s. Lawrence Schwedler, a contributor to the original game's soundtrack, reflected on the creative freedom he experienced while collaborating with Nintendo legends Shigeru Miyamoto and Koji Kondo. Despite their minimal oversight, Schwedler felt empowered to explore his musical ideas freely, a testament to the trust and autonomy granted by the iconic game developers.

Balancing their roles as educators at DigiPen's music department with their secretive involvement in the remastering project, the team navigated the confidentiality inherent to working with Nintendo. However, the unique opportunity to revisit and enhance their previous work for a new generation of gamers proved to be an exhilarating endeavor for Schwedler and his colleagues, marking a significant milestone in their careers.

The remake of "Mario vs. Donkey Kong" not only serves as a nostalgic trip for long-time fans but also introduces the beloved franchise to a new audience with its polished visuals and enriched soundtrack. This collaborative effort between DigiPen and Nintendo underscores the enduring appeal of the game and the creative possibilities that emerge when original composers reimagine their work for contemporary platforms.

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