hey everyone

at the moment I'm playing this game on my 3DS and I'm quite amazed by its sound FXs since they sound so clear, juicy and compact

I should point that I'm leaving outside those reminescent 8Bit memorabilia... I'm only referring to the more realistic ones like footsteps, breaking the blocks etc...and also to those modern textures...in few words: any SFX that doesn't sound 8bit

and I'm curious to know more about how they're done..

what makes me curious is that the SFXs sound realistic .. if you hear the SFX of when you grab the flag pole, there's a realistic flapping sound thing is that, it sounds tiny .. like one of those photo FX that turn a normal picture into a miniature ... the FX is subtle but noticeable.. this is one of the things I want to research on a bit...

did some googling about Nintendo's audio team with no luck so far

any input is appreciated

2 Answers 2


I've just watched the longplay of Super Mario 3D Land, and have some advice for you. I work with casual games for about a year, and those sounds is from my type of work.

The basic rule for this SFX's is "imagine, that everything is tiny". It's like living in a toy world. The sounds is more rounded and all envelopes is as glide as possible. In foley try to use small pieces of wood, stones, plastic and much much more. Keep an eye on "candy", warm sound. Often it appears in rattle sounds. Just cut that small pieces (they can be very short some times). They are hard to get at first, but with some time spend on it, you start to hear them really well. Also you can hear them in big events, the most popular place is in a tale of explosions, cracks, drops and everything else that divides itself in to pieces. Just cut the tale and gain it up. You can hear a whole new world. Yes, the rattling stones on the seashore is welcome too.

Aim for develop your personal library with that tiny sounds. These would be very helpful in future, for interface sounds for example.

For the music pieces (jingles) use pitched percussions (marimba/xylophone/glocken etc.), combine them. They must be as tiny and dotted as possible - with no attack, sustain and release. Just a "pixel of sound". Most of instruments will be very sharp with this settings. To glide them just double the melody on a few instruments and slightly move left/right. Not too far, just to produce more smoothly and little bit of rattling sound. Just like a stones on the seashore. One of the best instruments for that goal is Korg M-1.

On the effects side the plate reverb and phaser will help you round these small pieces. Apply them not too much, just for subtle feeling. It must sound natural and warmy.

I hope my experience will help you!


I'd expect you to get best answers by trying to contact someone who's actually worked for Nintendo (or on that particular game). An internet search may bring up something. I know what you're speaking about though. Nintendo's games have tended to be crystal clear as well as highly inventive (to the point that the sounds are very "magical") in their sound (those talented perfectionist Japanese).

Not that there are particular secrets to recording or sound handling, but I'd guess experience and a perfectionist attention to detail (the Japanese are known for this in general) probably play the biggest roles. Even if you'd contact someone who's worked on Nintendo's sound, the answers you'd get would likely not be surprising at all, we all know how recording works, how MIDI works or how sound editing works. The key is just in how many takes one's willing to make and how one maximizes the potential of every sound that's included, and does not include mediocre sound. And having a taste for good/perfect sound with strong themes (I think the Japanese are really good at achieving integrity and in creating thematic content).

Credits: http://nintendo.wikia.com/wiki/Super_Mario_3D_Land/credits

  • @Internet Human thanks for the input and surely what you say is very true, maximizing the potential out of EVERY sound and lots of fine tuning but what makes me curious about them is consistency: the fact that there are lots of different sounds, lots of different textures and they blend so perfectly together... let's pick a very juicy one: Mario's footsteps you think it's based on a real sample? youtube.com/… I'm actually interested to replicate some of them with my tools like to play around with me and share ideas? Aug 16, 2013 at 8:56
  • @Dollosyntax I don't think it really matters, whether something is "based on a real sample" or not. The distinction between a cut and pitched sample and a "non-sample" (e.g. a synthesizer sound) is something sublime. And everyone knows how basic synthesizers are. I.e., for the most part, sounds and samples originally come from the real world. Regarding replicating sounds: try to pick up what kind of sounds may fit to what you're trying to do. Break the sound apart and seek for elements or objects that are in the ballpark, and start building and trying things out. Aug 16, 2013 at 12:07
  • The question of "how to make sound x" is generally a fairly stupid one, because no-one really knows, unless the sound source is obviously present. Everyone is really just trying things out and trying to create something that makes sense. And no two sounds are ever the same (expect for the special case of comparing a sound to itself / to the same sound). There's only trial, error, experience and sound libraries. Plus: a considerable part of the magic is usually in the mix and the overall combination and variation/contrasts, not only in the individual sounds. Aug 16, 2013 at 12:14
  • I think "how to make sound x" is the basis of learning. as anything it can be approached stupidly or intelligently. if approached intelligently it's about getting your hands in the dirt, make experience, fine tuning ears to capture nuances of the sounds you want to replicate, learning more about your tools etc...and sure, some sounds are un-replicable since they're based on a unique source and some other are perfectly replicable Aug 17, 2013 at 9:05
  • There are many sounds in that game that I already can replicate accurately and for those that are un-replicable, obviously, the interesting/useful point is "how to get as close as possible" and most of the time it all lies in the motion-modulation of a particular sound. rather than the sound itself Aug 17, 2013 at 9:12

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