Super Mario theme becomes first piece of game music inducted into Library of Congress

Mario as a Tanooki in Super Mario Bros. 3
(Image credit: Nintendo)

The 'Super Mario theme' has become the first piece of video game music to be inducted into the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry.

The Library of Congress just published (opens in new tab) their list of musical tracks and scores that would be inducted into the National Recording Registry for 2023, and among them is Koji Kondo's Super Mario theme. This is actually the very first time in history that a piece of music composed for a video game has made it into the Registry.

The Super Mario theme has been available for induction for a fair few years now, considering it was first composed and released in 1985. All a track needs to do to be eligible for induction into the National Recording Registry is exist for exactly 10 years, so the Super Mario theme has technically been eligible since 1995.

Anyone is able to nominate up to 50 recordings for induction in a single year, and the list is then put to the Librarian of Congress for consideration, after they've conferred with the Library's curators and "distinguished members of the National Recording Preservation Board. That's got to be one exclusive group.

Considering this, it probably isn't surprising that this is the first piece of video game music to ever be inducted into the National Recording Registry. There's got to be an overwhelming number of tracks suggested to the Library of Congress every year, which immediately stacks the scales against video game music.

The very elite list of tracks for 2023's induction include Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, A Tribe Called Quest, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, B.B. King, and Louis Armstrong. Perhaps the Super Mario theme's induction can pave the way for other video game bangers in the near future.

Check out our new games 2023 guide for a look ahead at what the rest of the year holds for game releases.

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.