Gaming News

Random: Mario Wonder’s Weirdest Badge Called For A Rare Vocal Performance From Koji Kondo

Image: Nintendo Life

We are approaching six months (!!) since Super Mario Bros. Wonder leapt onto Switch, and while the launch chit-chat was dominated by the vocal talents of Kevin Afghani — the new voice of Mario — it turns out that the voice acting performance we should have been talking about was one by Nintendo’s own Koji Kondo (thanks, GamesRadar).

Note. We are about to head into some discussion of Mario Wonder’s final Badge. If you are still grinding out the platformer to discover its secrets yourself then we’d suggest looking away now. If not, brace for potential spoilers ahead.

As we were saying, Koji Kondo turned his talents to voice acting for Super Mario Wonder. The Koji Kondo. The man behind some of Nintendo’s most recognisable tunes from Mario, Zelda, Star Fox and more.

‘How did this happen?’ you might (reasonably) be asking. Well, as revealed in Nintendo’s recent GDC panel, it turns out that it all came from one of Kondo’s proposed Wonder effects. According to director Shiro Mouri, this effect on activation would have seen “a live-action version of Mario with human proportions” appear in the stage who would be “humming the background music and mimicking the various sound effects himself” as he went through it.

It’s a creepy idea and one that we’re not too surprised was cut. However, as anyone who has unlocked the game’s final ‘Sound Off’ Badge will be able to tell you, the core concept was not lost. Live-action Mario may have been cut, but the effect of hearing the sound effects performed by a human voice (which is exactly what the ‘Sound Off’ Badge does) remained. What’s more, Mouri revealed, “the man behind the voice of the Sound Off badge is Mr. Kondo himself” — come on, is there anyone better suited to the job?

So there you have it, it turns out the legendary composer is not only able to come up with some of the best pieces of video game music ever, but he can also produce a mean “brring,” “pop,” and “walla-walla-walla” with his voice when required. We like to think that this was the deciding factor in the composer’s recent induction into the AIAS Hall of Fame, though perhaps not…



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