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Game: Super Mario Kart
Song: Rainbow Road
Composer: Koji Kondo, Soyo Oka, Taro Bando
Above: Rainbow Road from Super Mario Kart
Today, Mario spin-off games are a dime a dozen. With so many choices, from tennis to racing to partying, it's increasingly difficult to muster up the same level of enthusiasm we would for a brand new platformer. But in the early SNES days Mario was still an impossibly hot property, so when he and the rest of the Mushroom Kingdom hopped into adorable go-karts, they didn't just cause a ruckus - they invented and popularized a new game genre, partly thanks to the endearing, catchy music surrounding the entire experience.
Rainbow Road has since become the standard game-ending track for the Mario Kart series, but its first appearance remains the most unforgiving level of them all. Almost every turn is a near-death plunge into the black abyss below, and every other kart on the track is constantly bumping into you, veering ever closer to the edge. Toss this music in and you're in for a white-knuckle race like no other.
However, Rainbow Road is all the way at the end of the game. Odds are you heard the Battle Mode music far more often, possibly enough to have it burned into your brain by now. I sure as hell do, as I spent New Years Eve 1992 playing more than 200 rounds of multiplayer. Hey, what else is a 12-year-old supposed to do?
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Funky grooves from Tim and Geoff Follin
Game music of the day: Mario Kart 64
Oddly inspiring credits music from Kenta Nagata
Game music of the day: GTA IV
Soviet Connection by Michael Hunter
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