Man, I really need to start paying more attention to these warning messages.
In addition to being one of the most popular video games of all time (in fact, it was the best-selling game ever for 20 years) and launching an iconic and endlessly marketable title character, Super Mario Bros. also contributed one of the catchiest and most enduring video game theme songs ever. Officially known as "Ground Theme", it was composed by Koji Kondo, who used Latin rhythms as the song's foundation. It's the song players hear when the game starts and has been featured in one variation or another throughout the Mario Bros. series. It's also inspired countless remakes and remixes over the years, from world famous bands to anonymous fans. I present to you but a sampling of some of my favorite takes on "Ground Theme", but begin with the one that started it all: Up first
The failures and successes of Atari in the '70s and '80s are well-documented, but if you were of gaming age back then there was no doubt that for a brief time, they were the kings of gaming. Oh sure, we all knew kids who had Intellivision or ColecoVision - and truth be told they were superior systems - but they were desperately out of step and knew it. Atari, like many of its contemporaries, was hit hard when the North American video game market imploded in 1983. They were never able to build on the success of the Atari 2600 console, as the subsequent 5200 console was discontinued after just 18 months on the market and the 7800 was halted for a few years. But none of that really mattered, as within a few years the Nintendo Entertainment System would begin its ascent into gaming l
Growing up, I was never very much into arcades. When it came to whiling away the precious days and weeks of my youth, I preferred to play video games at home. And in the early '80s there were plenty of platforms to choose from. One of the most interesting was the series of tabletop arcade games produced by Coleco. Coleco's strategy for miniaturizing video games apparently involved three crucial elements - A satin jacket, oversized navigator-style sunglasses and some jiggly hands. Being only 7 years old in 1982, I lacked the jacket and sunglasses. Therefore I had to wait until my birthday to receive my own tabletop arcade game. I ended up with Pac-Man, the undisputed king of video games in the 1980s (until he was dethroned in a bloodless coup by a seemingly harmless Italian plumber)....