Kōji Kondō

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Kōji Kondō
Koji Kondo.jpg
Local 近藤 浩治 (こんどう こうじ)
Born 1961-08-13
Birth Place Nagoya, Japan
Nationality Japanese   Japan.svg
Aliases Nick Kondo
Konchan

Kōji Kondō was born on August 13, 1961 in Nagoya, Japan in the Aichi Prefecture. His love for music appeared early in his life when he would create short tunes for fun, and by seventeen he began to study music professionally.

In the early 1980's Kondo heard that a company called Nintendo was looking for music composers to create music for video games. Kondo never thought of composing music for games before, but he decided to try it out and in 1984 he was hired. He felt very confined to writing music on the Famicom because it had such a low quality of music, but as Nintendo released new systems, the quality of music also increased.

Kondo went on to compose music for some of the biggest known titles for Nintendo including the Mario and Zelda series. To this day, Kondo continues to work with Nintendo making music for video games.

Kondo's style shows elements of Jazz, Classical, and Latin influences with a cinematic theme that have remained fairly similar throughout his career. His music has been released on a multitude of albums. Some have drawn a parallel calling him the John Williams of video games.

Audio Development

N64

It hasn't been documented how Kondo wrote music for the Nintendo 64, but it sounds like Kondo used some sort of MIDI or MIDI-like sequencer. The instrument samples sound like they have come from either Korg and/or Roland sound devices. Most of the ambient sounds in the Zelda games were taken from sound effects CDs such as Distorted Reality, Zero-G: Ethnic, and Best Service Gigapack. Examples of these samples can be seen here.

In addition, Kondo's instrument samples were reportedly taken from the Korg M1 and various Akai samplers.

NES

At the time, Nintendo required their main composers such as Hirokazu Tanaka and Akito Nakatsuka to write their own sound engines for the NES/Famicom, so Kondo programmed a sound driver in 6502 assembly, though he originally used the original sound driver programmed by Yukio Kaneoka.

SNES

Kondo wrote his music on a digital piano and used Nintendo's Kankichi-kun software on a Sony NEWS computer to sequence his music. It is unknown where the sound samples came from, but it's rumored they were from a Casio keyboard.

The marcato strings in Link to the Past are reportedly from either an Emu Emulator II or Emax.

This forum post on Reddit has a list of various sound sources Kondo used.

Gameography

Released Title Sample Notes
1984-02-?? Punch-Out!! (ARC)
1984-05-01 Golf (NES) Sound effects; game has no music.
1984-06-12 Vs. Stroke & Match: Golf (ARC) Sound effects; game has no music.
1984-06-21 Family BASIC (FC) Sound programming
1984-10-05 Devil World (FC) (デビルワールド)
With Akito Nakatsuka
1985-04-09 Soccer (NES) (サッカー)
1985-05-?? Arm Wrestling (ARC)
1985-06-21 Kung Fu (NES) (スパルタンX)
Sound effects, arranged Masato Ishizaki's music.
1985-09-13 Super Mario Bros. (NES) (スーパーマリオブラザーズ)
1986-02-21 The Legend of Zelda (NES) (ゼルダの伝説 THE HYRULE FANTASY)
1986-04-14 Nazo no Murasamejou (FDS) (謎の村雨城)
1986-05-03 Super Mario Bros. 2 (FDS) (スーパーマリオブラザーズ2)
1986-07-21 Volleyball (FDS)
1987-07-10 Yume Koujo: Dokidoki Panic (FDS) (夢工場 ドキドキパニック)
1987-09-04 Famicom Tale: New Onigashima - Prequel (FDS) (ファミコン昔話 新鬼ヶ島 前編)
1987-09-30 Famicom Tale: New Onigashima - Sequel (FDS) (ファミコン昔話 新鬼ヶ島 後編)
1988-10-?? Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES) (スーパーマリオ USA)
1988-10-23 Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES) (スーパーマリオブラザーズ3)
1990-11-21 Super Mario World (SNES) (スーパーマリオワールド Super Mario Bros. 4)
1990-12-21 Pilotwings (SNES) (パイロットウィングス) Composed Helicopter; Sound programming
Unreleased SimCity (NES) Sound Driver
1991-04-26 SimCity (SNES) (シムシティ)
Mario Sound Effect
1991-11-21 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) (ゼルダの伝説 神々のトライフォース)
1993-02-21 Star Fox (SNES) (スターフォックス) Sound Effects
Unreleased Super Mario's Wacky Worlds (CDI) Reused from Super Mario World (SNES).
1995-08-15 Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES) (スーパーマリオ ヨッシーアイランド)
1996-06-23 Super Mario 64 (N64) (スーパーマリオ64)
Programmed by Hideaki Shimizu
1997-05-27 Star Fox 64 (N64) (スターフォックス64) Sound effects
1998-11-21 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64) (ゼルダの伝説 時のオカリナ) Last game entirely composed by Kondo
2000-05-27 The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64) (ゼルダの伝説 ムジュラの仮面) With Toru Minegishi
2002-07-19 Super Mario Sunshine (GC) (スーパーマリオサンシャイン) With Shinobu Tanaka
2002-12-13 The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (GC) (ゼルダの伝説 風のタクト) Composed Grandma's Theme
2004-03-18 The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (GC)
2006-05-15 New Super Mario Bros. (DS) (ニュー・スーパーマリオブラザーズ) Composed Ground BGM; Sound Director
2006-11-19 The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (WII) (ゼルダの伝説 トワイライトプリンセス) Composed Orchestra Piece #1
2007-11-01 Super Mario Galaxy (WII) (スーパーマリオギャラクシー) Composed Rosalina in the Observatory, Egg Planet
2008-01-31 Super Smash Bros. Brawl (WII) (大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズX) Arrangements
2009-12-07 The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS) (ゼルダの伝説 大地の汽笛) Composed Ending
2010-05-23 Super Mario Galaxy 2 (WII) (スーパーマリオギャラクシー2) Composed Yoshi Star Galaxy, Starship Mario, Bowser Jr.'s Fiery Flotilla
2011-11-18 The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (WII) Composed Legend of Skyloft
2013-11-21 Super Mario 3D World (WIIU) Composed Chain-Link Charge, Sunshine Seaside
2014-11-21 Super Smash Bros. For Wii U (WIIU) Arrangement
2015-09-10 Super Mario Maker (WIIU) Arrangements; marks first role as lead composer in 15 years
2017-04-28 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (SW) (マリオカート8 デラックス) Composed Battle Theme
2017-10-27 Super Mario Odyssey (SW) (スーパーマリオ オデッセイ) Composed Wooded Kingdom, Bowser Castle
2018-06-22 Mario Tennis Aces (SW) (マリオテニス エース) Sound Supervisor
2018-10-05 Super Mario Party (SW) (スーパー マリオパーティ) Sound Supervisor
2018-12-07 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (SW) (大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズ SPECIAL)
2019-06-28 Super Mario Maker 2 (SW) (スーパーマリオメーカー 2) Sound Director
2019-11-01 Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games: Tokyo 2020 (SW) (マリオ&ソニック AT 東京2020オリンピック) Sound Supervisor
2020-07-17 Paper Mario: The Origami King (SW) (ペーパーマリオ オリガミキング) Sound Supervisor
2021-10-29 Mario Party Superstars (SW) (マリオパーティ スーパースターズ) Sound Supervisor

Picture Gallery

Links