Daily Listen-Shinobu Tanaka-Delfino Square Theme

Today’s song is kind of an unorthodox choice; composed by Shinobu Tanaka, it’s the background music for the Delfino Square level on Mario Kart, one of my favorite Nintendo DS games of all time. Sometimes, after a long day, I like nothing more than to hold a regression session and relive my childhood with a few rounds of video games. The DS was always my favorite back in the day (since you could also use it to play Gameboy Advance cartridges like Pokemon Sapphire and Metroid: Zero Mission), and I actually received one as a gift last summer. I hadn’t played in a while, but picked it up last week after some especially stressful days at work. Mario Kart gets the serotonin flowing in quick, exciting bursts; each race lasts only a few minutes, consisting of three laps around one of many vibrant, wacky racetracks. Delfino Square has the feel of a coastal Mediterranean fishing port, complete with clothes hanging out to dry on lines stretched between narrowly-spaced buildings, a dock along which a badly-timed power slide can send your character skidding off into the ocean (my power slide game is unrivaled, so I don’t worry about this), and a massive, turbocharged drawbridge whose gap you need to clear on the fly.

Clock tower and massive fountain
Drawbridge of doom

Each racetrack has its own theme music, and I’ve always been partial to both the gameplay and the jingle on the Delfino Square level. As a kid, I thought the music here sounded “classier” than it did on some other levels; listening now, I think I believed this due to the accordion synth that leads the way on this ditty. Accordions=French, and French=classy, of course. The music has a kind of old-timey saloon feel to it as well, with an 8-bit tack piano thrown into the mix. It’s borderline frantic, as is the rest of Mario Kart‘s music; this is a madcap cartoon racing game we’re talking about, after all. Music is an underrated aspect of the video game experience, and Tanaka really nails the soundtrack to this entire game. Come one, come all, and weep over the lost days of your youth as you listen to this cheery jingle.

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