While I had plenty of things on my cultural bingo card for 2023, the surprise rise of the Super Mario 64 SoundFont remix was not one of them. But now it’s April, and I’ve already heard Nirvana’s Nevermind, Weezer’s self-titled debut, and plenty more classic albums reimagined using only the sounds from the classic Nintendo 64 soundtrack.
Sure, you might have heard Super Mario 64 SoundFont remixes before, with a couple beating the bandwagon and putting out tracks before the start of 2023, but if you simply search the term on YouTube, you can see just how many users have uploaded in just the first four months of this year. It’s not going unnoticed either, with some of these clips amassing thousands (or millions in the case of the Nevermind remix) of views from memelords and music lovers.
There are plenty of highlights from the swathe of Super Mario 64 SoundFont remixes we’ve heard in the last couple of months, but my personal highlight has to be this version of Nirvana’s Drain You, which substitutes Kurt Cobain’s iconic mid-bridge scream for Mario’s equally dramatic scream. While the intended purpose of these recreated tracks is quite obviously just for the memeage, for the giggles, I’ve surprised myself with how much time I’ve spent jamming out to the nostalgia-laden cover versions.
Of course, while SM64 SoundFont remixes are the most popular, the trend has inspired others to pick up SoundFonts from other classic titles to try them out on pop songs. From the Beach Boys’ classic Pet Sounds using sounds from Final Fantasy VII to The White Stripes’ stadium anthem Seven Nation Army recreated with the Goldeneye SoundFont, it looks like Mario has some competition incoming for the most used nineties sound library. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.
So you don’t have to spend forever searching through YouTube for the best pieces – admittedly, some of these covers are higher quality than others – we’ve got a list below of some of our favourites.
- Gorillaz – Melancholy Hill
- Metallica – Ride the Lightning
- Daft Punk – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
- The Smashing Pumpkins – 1979
- David Bowie – Heroes
- Pixies – Where is My Mind?
- Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
- The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun
- Phil Collins – Another Day in Paradise
- Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird
With that, you’re up to date on the Super Mario 64 SoundFont craze sweeping across YouTube. If all this is making you feel a little nostalgic, check out our picks for the best retro games plus our list of all the Nintendo Switch Online N64 games.