Just for fun, let’s go back to a different time, a time of 16-bits and chip tunes that would make your little ears weep tears of happiness. If ears could cry tears, that is. Once upon a time in Nintendo’s heyday, there was a little gem of a game known as Mario Paint and even though it was a really great and fun experiment, the painting isn’t what that game is most remembered for. Funnily enough, the game is actually more fondly remembered for its music composer rather than the animation, fly-swatting game, or painting programs. In some ways, we can thank the Internet and YouTube for keeping the dream alive because a few years ago some special individuals recreated just the composer as a stand alone program for PCs. Mario Paint Composer was born and now would-be chip tune artists or just enthusiasts could play and make music to their hearts’ content.
Now to be honest, I’m all for original compositions. Hell, most of mine would probably consist of just cats meowing, but what I love the most about people using Mario Paint Composer is when they recreate songs and give them that retro chip tune flavor that I love so much.
Before I get into that, though, a couple years ago Nintendo released what I like to think was their attempt to bottle lightning twice with a little game called Wii Music. This is my favorite video from that game mainly just due to the silliness of the instruments used.
Okay, enough of that. Let’s get to the good stuff. Here is a small selection of my favorite re-creations of well known songs and themes. Enjoy.
DragonForce – Through the Fire and Flames
The very first time I heard this song was in a little gem called Brutal Legend. The intense guitar playing and vocals made an epic scene in the game that much more epic and hearing it again in 16-bit sound effects is just too impressive not to share. It’s one thing to create and play such a fast song but another thing entirely to re-create it using Nintendo sound effects.
Michael Jackson – Thriller
“Thriller” is probably the only real Michael Jackson song that I really enjoy. Hearing it in chip tune form really just takes me back to the 80s, but just in a different way. Fun Fact: I was born in 1984 so I don’t really remember the 80s but I do really enjoy 80s music.
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
I grew up in a house where my mom would play Queen constantly, so it comes as no surprise that I also enjoy Queen. This song as a chip tune re-creation is just so amazing it really makes me wish I had more ambition to try my hand at creating these things myself. Oh, well.
Coldplay – Viva la Vida
I admit that I really like Coldplay. Their music is usually just the uplifting thing I need and hearing it in chip tune form makes my inner child want to break out and dance like a Goron listening to Saria’s Song.
Linkin Park – Numb
It’s just such a great tune all by itself. You can almost picture either a boss fight or some kind of intense scene in a SNES game. No, I’m not a fan of Linkin Park, but I do appreciate their music. When it came out I had never heard anything quite like it before.
Katy Perry – Hot n’ Cold
Honestly, I wish I could say that I hated Katy Perry but I know that would be a lie. While I don’t like all of her songs, I do like the more popular ones. This song was just made to be redone with Mario Paint Composer. Fun Fact: It was also re-recorded in Simlish for The Sims 2‘s Apartment Life Expansion Pack. You’re welcome.
Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
I love the overuse of cats. It’s also a really great remake, so I can’t fault it for being a song that I generally dislike.
Smash Mouth – All Star
“I found dogs to be the only thing close enough to Steve Harwell’s sweet crooning” That comment alone makes me smile.
Eiffel 65 – I’m Blue
Aside from really liking the song, hearing it in Mario Paint is just something I can’t quite explain. Maybe it’s the fact that it seems like it could have easily been made using Mario Paint originally or the fact that people actually go to such lengths to recreate these things. You kind of have to admire that.
Survivor – Eye of the Tiger
Man, just listening to that intro. It’s just so intense and epic at the same time. Easily one of my favorites of the bunch due to the fact that it sounds nearly perfect while at the same time sounding like it comes out of Mario Paint.
Let’s switch gears for a second. Professional songs that would live on the radio are one thing but then there are the other songs people also like, but just on a different level. I’m talking about iconic movie/TV themes and while I don’t have that many, these are definitely worth sharing.
Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers
There’s something about that car organ sound that, when used right, just sounds amazing, and this song actually makes great use of it. Same with the flower, which is normally a really annoying sound effect. It’s used sparingly enough to not make me grind my teeth.
Who doesn’t love the Ghostbusters theme? Sure, the NES game was an atrocity, but hearing the song remade using Mario Paint makes me forgive that fact.
I have three reasons why I like this remake: 1) I love the show and the theme and when I was little I used to run around singing the song. 2) Hearing the Mario Paint version makes me remember the excellent SNES game that I used to play a lot. 3) This video deserves more views because I feel it is underrated.
King of the Hill
It’s short and sweet and easily the perfect way to show off the power of Mario Paint.
It takes a bit to get started, and there’s some debate going on whether or not this video is fake. I’ll let you guys and gals be the judge. That being said, I think it’s probably the best chip tune version I have ever heard and makes the SNES/NES game versions sound like garbage in comparison.
Finally, if popular music and iconic theme songs weren’t your thing, then how about video game music re-created using Mario Paint? Whoa, meta!
The Legend of Zelda
The car organ sound effect is used perfectly here and it was made for playing exactly this song. Imagine if Nintendo threw this version into a Zelda game on the DS or something? Yeah, that would be pretty sweet.
Mega Man 2: Dr Wily Stage 1
It’s not perfect but it’s really amazing, and the use of the dogs and cats just add that extra bit of flair that I was not expecting the first time I heard it.
Man, what’s not to like? It’s an amazing remake of an N64 game theme song and it’s just so lively. Now if someone could demake Banjo into an SNES game, they would have the perfect music to go along with it. Super Banjo Kazooie needs to happen.
Mario Kart 64: Rainbow Road
Mario Kart 64‘s Rainbow Road is my favorite version of both the song and track, and it’s so wonderfully re-created that I almost can’t stand it. It’s just such an uplifting song for such a fucking hard track in the game. It’s like suffering through something horrible just to hear the song. Then again there’s YouTube now, so at least we can relax while we listen to the song instead of screaming at the TV while we get 8th place again.
This takes me back to a time when there were only 151 Pokémon to speak of, and man did I ever play my Pokemans. Now, I wasn’t the greatest trainer ever, but I did want to be the very best so you can imagine I heard this song a lot. It’s also a really awesome remake and you can tell that the person who did it definitely took their time with it.
Super Mario 64: Bob-omb Battlefield
Ah, Bob-omb Battlefield, the first proper level in the fantastic Mario 64. The set the standard for 3D platformers to come and even though the N64 was the beginning of Nintendo’s downfall, it still produced lots of games with amazing tunes that people still remember today. I love how just hearing this song even chip tuned makes me want to go back and play through Mario 64 all over again.
Kirby: Gourmet Race
I’ll be honest. I don’t really like this theme, but the remake is just so on point that I cannot help but want to share it. I do love Kirby games, though, so let’s not hunt me down with pitchforks and torches.
Ducktales: The Moon
I remember playing this game and loving it, but had it not been for TalkRadar I probably never would have remembered this theme. It’s just such an amazing song for a tie-in game and it has been beautifully recreated in Mario Paint.
Duh, it’s Bubble Bobble. How could it not be here? You’re talking to a guy who loves this game, owns it on PC as a part of a collection of classic games, will own the remake on PS3 and 360 and finally, I have the eating fruit sound as my text notification on my phone. Hearing this remake makes me want to play Bubble Bobble and make my friends play with me.
Super Mario Bros.
We’ve come full circle. This is the most iconic theme I know when it comes to video games, and was actually the first non-generic ringtone I had on my first cellphone. That’s the beauty of Mario Paint songs actually, they all remind me of classic ringtones.
Well, there you have it. Some great Mario Paint songs to listen to, and to probably annoy your non-chip tune-loving friends with. Not all people like chip tunes, but you have to at least appreciate the amount of time that these took to be remade. If you want to give it a go, you can download Mario Paint Composer for free right here. Don’t thank me, thank the Internets.
[Written by contributor Shane Peltzer]