Every now and then, gamers take it upon themselves to bring the worlds of high-profile television and video games together in unusual ways. For example, when Game of Thrones accidentally inserted a Starbucks cup into its last season, that Starbucks cup ended up in a mod for The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. In a similar joking spirit, another fan has taken another HBO show, Succession, but instead put it in somewhere very different: the 1992 art-creation game Mario Paint.
While most HBO-goers have been focused on Game of Thrones in the last year, Succession has been managing to build up a steady following in the background. For those who don’t know, the show depicts the lives of the Roy family, the owners of a fictional media conglomerate, and how its individual members vie for control once the aging family patriarch begins to step down from running the empire.
It’s a pointed, darkly comedic satire of the ultra-rich and the way they wield power, and that is well encapsulated by Succession's opening theme. Between a moody orchestral melody and a low-key drum-based beat, it aptly conveys both the Roys’ prestige and the subtle menace lurking under the surface of their power politics.
That’s why it’s impressive that Twitter user Rev. Adam Catino was able to recreate that rather faithfully in Nintendo’s Mario Paint. The orchestra and drums may have been replaced with synthesized chirps and cat sounds playing against a bright pixel background, but it’s still undoubtedly the Succession theme. Its dramatic edge remains intact even as lighthearted 16-bit chiptune.
For comparison, here’s the actual theme:
That Catino’s rendition works so well probably won’t surprise some. Mario Paint has long been known to be a surprisingly versatile music-making tool. When the SNES Mario game came out, it didn’t take long for creative players to release that the music editor, with its track-based layout and wide selection of notes to choose from, had a lot of potential.
While Catino actually used a fan-made remake called Advanced Mario Sequencer that sports a greater range of notes, one need only type in “Mario Paint songs” on YouTube to see how much mileage can be gotten out of the original. Countless tunes have been made and recreated over the years, ranging from classic hits to modern memes, so if anyone ever wants to hear a 16-bit version of Smash Mouth’s “All Star,” Mario Paint makes that possible.