Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island OSV – Athletic (Koji Kondo)November 15, 2009
It snowed all day today. Most people don’t seem to notice what happens outside after it’s dark out unless they have to go drive somewhere (and who in their right mind wants to drive through the snow?). However, it’s excellent to just go outside and walk through the snow because it’s so quiet. And it’s really hard to find quiet in the middle of a city. That and being able to see the snow on all the trees. Anyway, walking through the snow made me happy, and what’s more happy than Yoshi’s “Athletic”?
“Athletic” is a classic from Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (1995). You might have also heard it referred to as Ragtime, as it’s a pretty classic example of a ragtime theme. This time, Yoshi is the hero, and he carries Baby Mario around on his back (and has to deal with his godawful crying – this is seriously one of the most annoying sounds ever to appear in a game, next to the crying penguin from Mario 64). Yoshi’s Island was a late title for the Super Nintendo, and its colorful childlike artwork was a direct response to prerendered graphics from games like Rare’s Donkey Kong Country that were really popular at the time.
Anyway, “Athletic” plays in most of the main obstacle course stages: run, jump, and climb all the way up and through the level, dealing with falling platforms, rolling boulders and enemies while finding all the secrets. That navigation through game space is really what makes platformers classic, and that fun is perfectly captured in this track. The song is also pretty great because it has some really subtle underlying rhythms along with those nice Super Nintendo high hats.
Tom Brier, a professional ragtime musician, was given a copy of this sheet music by one of his students, and he does a pretty good job at it. Quite an enjoyable theme!