Koji Kondo

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For the Japanese footballer, see Koji Kondo (footballer).
Koji Kondo
Koji kondo.jpg
Koji Kondo in 2006
Background information
Born (1961-08-13) August 13, 1961 (age 53)[1]
Nagoya, Japan
Occupations Composer, sound designer, sound director, sound programmer
Instruments Piano, electronic organ, keyboards, synthesizers, Cello
Years active 1984–present
Associated acts Shigeru Miyamoto

Koji Kondo (近藤 浩治 Kondō Kōji?, born August 13, 1961[1]) is a Japanese video game composer and sound director who has been employed at Nintendo since 1984. He is best known for scoring numerous titles in the Mario and The Legend of Zelda series.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Koji Kondo was born in Nagoya, Japan, on August 13, 1961.[1] He began taking lessons in the electronic organ from the age of five. He improved his skills in the instrument in a cover band that played jazz and rock music.[2] Kondo studied at the Art Planning Department of Osaka University of Arts,[3] but was never classically trained or particularly dedicated to music. However, he gained some experience in composing and arranging pieces, using both the piano and a computer to assist him. During his senior year, Nintendo sent a recruitment message to his university stating that they were interested in hiring people dedicated to composition and sound programming. An LCD and arcade gamer, Kondo successfully applied for the job in 1984 without requiring any demo tapes.[2]

Career[edit]

Kondo was the first person hired by Nintendo for the sole purpose of creating compositions, and was to play an integral role in making the company's games and music recognizable worldwide. The first game he scored was the arcade game Punch-Out!!. Despite creating mostly jingles and sound effects, he was able to overcome the challenges of early arcade sound hardware. As the Famicom had become highly popular in Japan, Kondo was assigned to compose music for the console's subsequent games at Nintendo's new development team, Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development (EAD). Kondo also wrote an instruction manual on how to program Japanese popular music into the Famicom using the peripheral Family BASIC. To conclude his first year at Nintendo, he created the music to Devil World alongside Akito Nakatsuka.[2] In 1985, Nintendo started marketing the Famicom abroad under the name the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) to capitalize on the 1983 video game crash that devastated Atari, Inc.[2] He composed the music for the hit releases Super Mario Bros. (1985)[4] and The Legend of Zelda (1986)[5] which helped the system to sell 60 million copies in total and established some of the most well-known melodies in the video game industry.[2]

Kondo at the Game Developers Conference 2007

Super Mario Bros., for many years the best-selling video game of all time, was Kondo's first major score. The game's melodies were created with the intention that short segments of music could be endlessly repeated during the same gameplay without causing boredom. Kondo's soundtrack to Super Mario Bros. gained worldwide recognition, and is to this day the most well-known video game score. The main theme is iconic in popular culture and has been featured in over 50 concerts,[2] been a best-selling ringtone,[6] and been remixed or sampled by various musicians.[2] Kondo's work on The Legend of Zelda scores has also become highly recognized. He produced four main pieces of background music for the first installment of the series; the overworld theme has become comparable in popularity with the Super Mario Bros. main theme. Following the success of The Legend of Zelda, he provided the score for two Japanese-exclusive titles, Nazo no Murasame Jō (1986) and Shin Onigashima (1987). He also created the soundtrack to Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic (1987),[2] which was later rebranded outside of Japan as Super Mario Bros. 2 in 1988.[7][8]

Kondo returned to the Super Mario series to produce the scores to Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988) and the SNES launch title Super Mario World (1990). Koichi Sugiyama directed a jazz arrangement album of Super Mario World's music and oversaw its performance at the first Orchestral Game Music Concert in 1991. After finishing the soundtrack to Super Mario World, Kondo was in charge of the sound programming for Pilotwings, and created the sound effects for Star Fox. In 1995 he composed for the sequel to Super Mario World, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island.[2] Until the Nintendo 64 era, Kondo would usually write all compositions for a game, ending with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as the last score on which he worked alone.[9] Since then, he has been collaborating with other staff members at Nintendo EAD, advising and supervising music created by others, as well as providing additional compositions for games such as Super Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and Super Mario 3D World.[10][11][12]

Concerts[edit]

Kondo attended the world-premiere of Play! A Video Game Symphony at the Rosemont Theater in Rosemont, Illinois in May 2006. His music from the Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda series was performed by a full symphony orchestra. This event drew nearly four thousand attendees. He also attended and performed in a series of three concerts celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda series in late 2011.

Musical style and influences[edit]

The "Super Mario Bros. theme" was featured in Billboard Magazine's Hot Ringtones for 112 consecutive weeks.[13] Kondo cites rock bands Deep Purple and Emerson, Lake & Palmer as major musical influences.[14] He has also cited as influences the works of the Russian romantic composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, particularly his four piano concertos.[15]

Discography[edit]

Video games
Year Title Role Co-worker
1984 Punch-Out!! Composition[16]
Golf Composition
Vs. Stroke & Match: Golf Composition[17]
Family BASIC Sound programming
Devil World Composition Akito Nakatsuka
1985 Soccer Composition
Arm Wrestling Composition
Kung Fu Sound effects[18]
Super Mario Bros. Composition
1986 The Legend of Zelda Composition
Nazo no Murasamejo Composition
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels Composition
1987 Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic Composition
Shin Onigashima Composition
1988 Super Mario Bros. 2 Composition
Super Mario Bros. 3 Composition
1990 Super Mario World Composition/arrangement
Pilotwings Sound programming[19]
1991 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Composition/arrangement
1993 Star Fox Sound effects
1995 Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island Composition/arrangement
1996 Super Mario 64 Composition/arrangement
1997 Star Fox 64 Composition/arrangement Hajime Wakai
1998 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Composition/arrangement
Mario Party Sound support Taro Bando and Yoji Inagaki
1999 Mario Golf Supervisor Kenji Miki, Shigeru Miyamoto, Takashi Tezuka, Haruki Kodera, and Toru Takamatsu
Mario Party 2 Sound support
2000 The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Composition/arrangement Toru Minegishi
Mario Tennis Supervisor Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka
Mario Party 3 Sound support
2001 Mario Kart Super Circuit Supervisor Hiroyuki Kimura, Tadashi Sugiyama, Hideki Konno, and Takashi Tezuka
2002 Super Mario Sunshine Composition/arrangement Shinobu Tanaka
Mario Party 4 Sound support
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past & Four Swords Sound support
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Composition Kenta Nagata, Hajime Wakai, and Toru Minegishi
2003 Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour Sound support
Mario Party 5 Sound support
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga Sound support
Donkey Konga Sound support Toru Minegishi
2004 The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure Composition Asuka Ohta
Mario vs. Donkey Kong Advisor Tadashi Sugiyama and Shinya Takahashi
Mario Power Tennis Sound support
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap Sound advisor
Mario Party 6 Sound support
Yoshi Topsy-Turvy Sound support
2005 Mario Party Advance Sound support
Mario Superstar Baseball Sound support Taro Bando
Mario Tennis: Power Tour Sound support
Mario Party 7 Sound support
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time Sound support
2006 New Super Mario Bros. Composition Asuka Ohta and Hajime Wakai
Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis Sound supervisor
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Composition Toru Minegishi and Asuka Ohta
2007 Mario Party 8 Sound support
DK Jungle Climber Sound supervisor
Super Mario Galaxy Composition Mahito Yokota
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Sound supervisor Taro Bando
Mario Party DS Sound support Keita Hoshi, Shohei Bando, and Shiho Yonemoto
2008 Super Smash Bros. Brawl Arrangement
Mario Super Sluggers Sound support Taro Bando, Akito Nakatsuka, and Tomokazu Abe
2009 Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story Sound support
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! Music supervisor
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games Sound supervisor Taro Bando
New Super Mario Bros. Wii Sound advisor
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks Composition Toru Minegishi, Manaka Tominaga, and Asuka Ohta
2010 Super Mario Galaxy 2 Composition Mahito Yokota and Ryo Nagamatsu
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! Music supervisor
Mario Sports Mix Sound supervisor
2011 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D Music supervisor
Star Fox 64 3D Composition (reused) Hajime Wakai and Satomi Terui
Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games Sound supervisor Taro Bando
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Composition Hajime Wakai,[12] Shiho Fujii, Mahito Yokota, and Takeshi Hama
Fortune Street Sound supervisor
2012 Mario Party 9 Sound supervisor
Mario Tennis Open Sound supervisor
New Super Mario Bros. 2 Sound advisor Yoji Inagaki
New Super Mario Bros. U Sound advisor
Paper Mario: Sticker Star Sound advisor
2013 Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon Sound supervisor Kazumi Totaka and Yoji Inagaki
New Super Luigi U Sound supervisor
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Sound supervisor
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD Composition (reused) Kenta Nagata, Hajime Wakai, and Toru Minegishi
Wii Party U Music supervisor
Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Sound supervisor
Super Mario 3D World Composition Mahito Yokota, Toru Minegishi, and Yasuaki Iwata
Mario Party: Island Tour Sound supervisor
2014 Mario Golf: World Tour Sound supervisor

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "VGMdb". VGMdb. Retrieved 2014-05-22. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Chris Greening. "Koji Kondo Profile". Game Music Online. Retrieved 2014-06-20. 
  3. ^ "Mario and Zelda composer Koji Kondo shares all at GDC '07". Music4Games. 2007-01-19. Archived from the original on 2007-11-10. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  4. ^ "Super Mario Bros. Tech Info". GameSpot. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  5. ^ "The Legend of Zelda Tech Info". GameSpot. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  6. ^ Pearce, James Quintana (2007-01-04). "Top Selling Ringtones In US For 2006". mocoNews. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  7. ^ McLaughlin, Rus (2007-11-08). "IGN Presents The History of Super Mario Bros.". IGN. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  8. ^ "Super Mario Bros. 2 Tech Info". GameSpot. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  9. ^ Kohler, Chris (2007-03-15). "Behind the Mario Maestro's Music". Wired. Condé Nast Digital. Archived from the original on 2011-02-13. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  10. ^ Super Mario Galaxy Original Sound Track Platinum Version (Media notes). Nintendo Co., Ltd. 2008. 
  11. ^ Gifford, Kevin (2010-02-24). "How Mario Music Gets Made". 1UP.com. UGO Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  12. ^ a b Napolitano, Jayson (June 21, 2011). "Koji Kondo Talks Ocarina of Time, Gives Details on Skyward Sword". Original Sound Version. Archived from the original on June 22, 2011. Retrieved June 22, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Mario ringtone marks over two years on charts. Who knew?". Joystiq. 2006-12-07. Retrieved 2014-05-22. 
  14. ^ "Inside Zelda Part 4: Natural Rhythms of Hyrule". Nintendo Power (Nintendo of America, Inc.) (195). September 2005. 
  15. ^ [NC UK] Koji Kondo Interview. 
  16. ^ "Video Games Daily | Nintendo Interview: Koji Kondo, May 2007". Archive.videogamesdaily.com. 2007-05-10. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  17. ^ "Vs. Stroke & Match: Golf - Kyoto Report". Kyoto-report.wikidot.com. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  18. ^ "Iwata Asks". Iwataasks.nintendo.com. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  19. ^ Greening, Chris; Harris, Dave (March 2011). "Interview with Soyo Oka". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2011-04-01. 

External links[edit]