I have to admit that I was secretly looking forward to Nintendo Land a great deal. While I wasn't sold after Nintendo's E3 press conference last year, seeing the title in action really got the nostalgia flowing for me in all the right ways. And as a fan of game music in particular, I was excited to hear what the compnay would do with the title given that it paid homage to most of Nintendo's classic franchises.
As it turns out, Ryo Nagamatsu of Nintendo's EAD Sound Group (who's worked on several recent Mario titles, including New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2) was tasked with all of the music for the game, including original tunes and arrangements. He's taken the time to walk us through each of the attractions in the game, sharing his inspirations, the challenges he faced, and pointing out a few things here and there that fans may not have noticed. He also answers a few other questions along the way.
Join us for part one of our feature below, which visits Animal Crossing: Sweet Day, Balloon Trip Breeze, Captain Falcon's Twister Race, and Donkey Kong's Crash Course.
On the pressure he faced working with Nintendo's most beloved franchises
"There was a certain amount of pressure that I felt.
"However, as a composer, I think it's vital that you produce the kind of music that's most appropriate for the game you're working on. As a result, the amount of excitement I had over producing the music for a game running on the new Wii U console, not to mention one called Nintendo Land that bears the Nintendo name so brightly, was greater than any pressure there was.
"I had the original composers (including Mr. Kondo) look over the tracks regularly and offer their advice, but I was able to do my work freely without any great restrictions."
Animal Crossing: Sweet Day
"The Animal Crossing series has a massive amount of music attached to it, a package that's attracted a lot of fans, so it was hard for me to decide what to use. I used the title tune from Animal Crossing: Wild World as one of the stage tracks -- it's a light, breezy tune that wouldn't normally at all match with the gameplay here, but I think I've managed to arrange it so it matches well enough. I think a march-like tune goes really well with a game like this.
"Another stage uses a song taken from Animal Crossing: City Folk. I've made this into another march-like song, although it retains some of the laid-back feel of the original.
"The tunes change in the second stage, so hopefully you'll make note of that tempo change as you play!"
Balloon Trip Breeze
"The main title music from the original Balloon Fight is one of the most famous tunes in games, but since Balloon Trip Breeze runs on regular morning/afternoon/evening/night cycles, I challenged myself to produce a number of arrangements of this one song and make the results impressive to players.
"All four time periods feature the original tune with the melody arranged to fit appropriately with the visuals. Each time period experiences its own changes, from rain to wind and storms, and the tune changes to reflect the atmosphere this weather brings to the experience. I hope you enjoy all of this audio and visual variety as you have a nice trip!"
Captain Falcon's Twister Race
"This is one of those game series where the soundtracks are really popular, so I decided to use tracks from the original games to some extent in this title.
"However, since this game's play style and sense of speed differ from the original, I don't bring the old songs out right after you start the game. They come in the later areas, and that also serves to provide some of that "I'm in the final stage" emotional excitement.
"Some of the tunes differ quite a bit from the originals, but I think that's resulted in music with a new and unique taste. Hopefully you can get into the tempo while you play!"
Donkey Kong's Crash Course
"Personally, this is my favorite of all the Nintendo Land attractions.
"It's a game with a flat look similar to the original, but requires an extreme level of concentration to master. I tried to give the music a simple, retro feel that wouldn't interrupt players' concentration."
"The melody in the music for Stages 2 and 4 is simply the reverse (from the end) of the melody in Stages 1 and 3. I wonder if anybody has noticed."