Beautiful selections from Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda, and more stir the heart and the nostalgia too.

Thanks to its Mode 7 scaling/rotation effects and maximum of 256 simultaneous onscreen colors, when the Super NES was released it instantly boasted some of the prettiest video games ever seen. Something that often got overlooked, though, was something that couldn’t be seen: how nice Nintendo’s 16-bit system sounded.

The SNES was really the first cartridge-based console that could recognizably approximate the sound of a wide range of musical instruments, allowing its games’ arrangements to go far beyond beeps and bloops. In particular, there’s a distinct quality to how the system’s sound chip could replicate the sound of stringed instruments, and now that’s come full circle as Japanese YouTuber Teppei Okada performs amazing violin covers of famous Super NES soundtracks.

▼ Starting off with the first game for the system, here’s Super Mario World.

But what makes Okada’s videos extra special (aside from his assistance on formal concert attire) is that he’s not just performing the background music, but many of the sound effects too! Starting with the signature “coin” sound effect that many Nintendo games play on start up, his Super Mario World video also has him using his violin for the sound of dino buddy Yoshi hatching from an egg and spitting out enemies, the distressing footsteps of perilous enemy Chargin’ Chuck, and even the audio accompaniment of on-screen explanation text blocks.

Also impressive is how deftly Okada switches from one piece of background music to another on the fly, in real-time. For Super Mario Kart, he cycles through four different pieces within the first minute, and also emulates the sound of the race-start countdown.

▼ By the way, our new dream is to have a trained musician performing live during all of our gamer sessions.

Okada doesn’t limit himself to the 16-bit era, though. He’s also worked his magic for landmark 8-bit title The Legend of Zelda, including a violin rendition of “It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.”

And here’s the entire first level of the original Super Mario Bros., plus a selection of other scenes, such as the World 3-1 1-up loop trick.

Of course, depending on exactly where you retro game passions stretch too, you might be shouting at your screen that while the Super NES had the most impressive cartridge-based music to-date, the P.C. Engine/TurboGrafx-16’s CD-ROM add-on was providing pitch-perfect instrumentation before the first SNES ever hit store shelves. If so, please stop shouting and instead listen to Okada’s cover of the interlude that plays between the first and second parts of Ys I & II, the P.C. Engine CD’s flagship RPG.

Okada’s most recent video game-based cover is the Mute City theme from Super NES’ F-Zero (preceded by the title screen music and vehicle select sound effects).

With the SNES having one of the richest and most nostalgic collections of game soundtracks, we can’t wait to see/hear what Okada plays next.

Source: YouTube/岡田鉄平 公式チャンネル via IT Media
Top image: YouTube/岡田鉄平 公式チャンネル
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where his votes would be for “Tina’s Theme” and “Bloody Tears.”