By Andrew Liszewski
With titles like Nintendogs, Elektroplankton or the upcoming Wii Music, Nintendo has shown that they’re a big advocate of casual or ‘non-game’ games. (Or whatever you want to call them.) And while you might think this is a recent trend, from what I can recall, their first venture away from traditional games was a title called Mario Paint for the Super Nintendo. While it did include a couple of simple games that were basically there to teach you how to use the included mouse, Mario Paint was more focused on creative activities like drawing, painting or even animation. I definitely enjoyed Mario Paint as a kid, particularly when I needed a break from Super Mario World, and in my later years (high school-ish) it even came in handy for creating animated titles for a handful of video projects.
But what really made Mario Paint fun (for me at least), and what seems to have given the game a new life on YouTube, was the built-in song composer where you could lay out various classic Nintendo sound effects on a virtual piece of sheet music and then play back your musical creations. When I first got the game I actually wasn’t that interested in the song composer (the songs I made were usually pretty crappy) until I found a book that showed you how to use it to recreate actual songs like the Star Wars theme. After that I spent countless hours painstakingly laying out the sound effects while I tried to figure out what notes came next in a particular song. By the time the N64 came along, Mario Paint was all but forgotten, but last month I was surprised to find there was still a thriving community of people creating (and re-creating) music using the Mario Paint composer. To give you an idea of what it was capable of, and how awesome it really was, here’s a video of Michael Jackson’s Thriller as re-created in the MP composer.
And if you’re looking to kill some more time, here’s a few other impressive Mario Paint creations I found on YouTube:
Mario Paint – Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
Mario Paint – Portal – Still Alive
Mario Paint – The Office Theme
Mario Paint – Gary Jules – Mad World
Mario Paint – The Beatles – Blackbird
Mario Paint – Haddaway – What Is Love?
And if this post has inspired you to make your own Mario Paint musical masterpiece, but you don’t have an SNES or a copy of the game, there’s actually a PC version (Windows or OSX) of the song composer called Mario Paint Composer which features all of the samples from the original game.