Retro gamers restore Super Mario World's (SNES) soundtrack with uncompressed, lossless audio
The Super Nintendo (SNES) is known for having some of the best soundtracks in video game history. Titles like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6 (or Final Fantasy 3 in the U.S.), and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island have some of the most creative, fanciful, epic, and intriguing earworms to grace gamers’ ears. Perhaps one of the most memorable original soundtracks (OSTs) on the system comes from the most popular launch title, Super Mario World.
But there’s always been a little something off about Super Mario World’s soundtrack. Because of the limitations of the SNES hardware, music was often compressed, losing much of the wonder and nuance present in the original tracks. Thanks to the work of intrepid restorationists and the Nintendo “gigaleak” of data last year, we can now enjoy the original lossless and uncompressed tracks from Super Mario World.
The restoration project, which seems to be led by a Twitter user known as “The Brickster,” found the original source code for Super Mario Advance in Nintendo’s massive 2020 data leak. Super Mario Advance was a remake of Super Mario World for the GameBoy Advance, and (importantly for this project) its source code contains samples and instrument names for the original Super Mario World soundtrack.
Using this information, The Brickster and others meticulously recreated the game’s soundtrack using the original synthesizers and instruments. The results are beautiful uncompressed and lossless versions of the famous tracks.
It will be obvious that these tracks sound noticeably different from those heard on an original SNES. After all, these are made with uncompressed synth samples rather than the console’s sound chip. The Brickster notes this, stating that this is more of a “what if” project exploring what the game could have sounded like if Koji Kondo (the composer) hadn’t been limited to the Super Nintendo’s hardware.
What do you think of the uncompressed versions of the Super Mario World soundtrack? Take a listen and let us know in the comments below.
The full soundtrack can be found here.