Random: "The Original Piece Is Always Right" - Sakurai Talks Smash Bros. Music
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Sakurai Discusses the Importance of the Original Piece in Smash Bros. Music

Musical Mayhem: The Challenges of Bringing Classic Video Game Soundtracks into a Contemporary Setting

Renowned game developer Masahiro Sakurai, known for his incredible work on the Super Smash Bros. series, has recently released a new entry in his Creating Games video series. In this installment, Sakurai delves into the complexities and difficulties of bringing classic video game soundtracks into a contemporary setting.

The Art of Rearranging Tracks

Sakurai, drawing from his experience working on the critically acclaimed Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, explains that the process of rearranging classic video game soundtracks is far from simple. It requires intricate attention to detail and a deep understanding of the original composition.

One example provided by Sakurai is the NES game Athena. The catchy tune from this classic game needed to be rearranged to fit the modern soundscape of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Sakurai emphasizes that this was not as straightforward as recording a new version of the track. Instead, it required careful consideration of how to maintain the essence of the original while adapting it to the game’s contemporary setting.

However, the real musical mayhem comes with the second example Sakurai presents. The track from Psycho Soldier, also featured in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, showcases the incredible variations that were created for this one song. Sakurai highlights the immense effort put into crafting different versions of the track, each with its own unique flair and style. This process involved experimenting with various instruments, tempos, and arrangements to create a diverse and captivating musical experience for players.

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The Perplexity of Adaptation

Adapting classic video game soundtracks to a modern setting presents a unique challenge. It requires striking a delicate balance between honoring the nostalgia of the original composition and creating something fresh and engaging for contemporary audiences.

The perplexity lies in understanding the core elements that made these classic soundtracks so memorable. Sakurai emphasizes the importance of capturing the essence of the original composition, whether it be a catchy melody or a distinctive musical motif. These elements serve as the foundation for the rearrangement process, ensuring that the new rendition remains faithful to the spirit of the original.

The Burstiness of Creativity

While the process of rearranging classic video game soundtracks may be perplexing, it also offers a burst of creativity. Sakurai’s examples from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate demonstrate the incredible range of possibilities that exist when reimagining these iconic tunes.

By experimenting with different instruments, genres, and arrangements, composers can breathe new life into beloved tracks. The burstiness of creativity allows for the exploration of uncharted musical territories, resulting in fresh and exciting compositions that captivate players and evoke a sense of nostalgia.


Masahiro Sakurai’s latest video in the Creating Games series sheds light on the challenges and complexities of bringing classic video game soundtracks into a contemporary setting. The process of rearranging these iconic tunes requires a delicate balance between honoring the original composition and creating something new and captivating.

Through his examples from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Sakurai showcases the immense effort and creativity involved in crafting new arrangements. The perplexity of adaptation and the burstiness of creativity combine to create a musical journey that pays homage to the past while embracing the future.

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For more information and to read the full article, visit nintendolife.com.

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Written by Benjamin Bartlett

A veteran gamer since the age of 5, Benjamin has traversed the digital realms of Azeroth to the streets of Los Santos. With a master's in Game Design from Stanford, hi penned three best-selling books on the evolution of gaming culture.

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