Friday, January 3, 2014


If you are like me, then a solid chunk of your childhood was spent in front of the Nintendo Entertainment System, trying (and mostly failing) to make it to the end of one of the system's many memorable yet unforgiving releases. The experience probably would have been more aggravating than it was if not for the many AWESOME theme songs Nintendo and its third-party developers cooked up for us. So let's take a little tour down memory lane and remember a few of the best ones:

6. Super Mario Bros. 2: Opening Theme/Level One

There are many reasons to love SMB 2, not least of which the fact that it's basically a port of a bizarre (and racist) Japanese game starring a portly mustachio'd man in what appears to be a loincloth and turban--only with said racist caricature exchanged with beloved ethnic caricatures Mario and Luigi. And you spend most of the game extracting and throwing turnips! But what you might not remember is that it also had one of the best (and jazziest) theme songs of the NES era. Enjoy...

5. Wizards & Warriors: Level One

Notoriously difficult, most people who owned this game never progressed past the first level (damn you, inside-the-tree sequences). But damn, that music!

4. Metroid: Opening Theme

Arguably the best NES game ever made, Metroid also boasted the most atmospheric opener--a perfect companion to the neon alienness of the game itself. A lot of techno pioneers (e.g. Drexciya) appear to have been heavily influenced by this one.

3. Ghosts and Goblins: Opening Theme

Another ridiculously difficult game made bearable by its insane music, which I now present to you in its entirety. There is no need for additional praise--the work stands on its own.

2. Super Mario Bros.: Level One Theme

It may not be the best song of the NES era, but it is certainly the most iconic. Nearly everyone who played anything on an NES played SMB, and played it a lot. Plus every note seems to reflect the game itself: the art style, the gameplay mechanics, the characters--everything. Now sing it along with me...

1. Contra: Stage One Theme

The ultimate NES co-op game and birthplace of the Konami Code, Contra also had the greatest, awesomest, most kickassiest song in the history of the NES. Up up down down left right left right b a start FTW!