Here's How Super Mario Odyssey's Iconic Song Got Its Finalized Lyrics

  • Switch
  • Action-Adventure
  • Open World
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Mayor Pauline of New Donk City sings "Jump Up, Super Star!"
Mayor Pauline of New Donk City sings "Jump Up, Super Star!" Nintendo

If you’ve enjoyed the gorgeous Nintendo Switch title Super Mario Odyssey, then you’re probably familiar with the vocal tune, “Jump Up, Super Star!” which plays at a pivotal moment in the game. It’s also been all over the marketing materials, which Nintendo has made sure everyone has had a chance to take in. It’s a catchy, upbeat song with lyrics referring to “grabbing coins” and “jumping up super high,” ultimately proclaiming that the singer will be your “1UP girl.” It’s absolutely adorable.

But the lyrics didn’t come so easily to the Nintendo Treehouse localization team. Over on the official Nintendo Treehouse Tumblr, Rob Tunstall took to the blog to discuss the changes that were made from the original Japanese lyrics to the ones you now know and love (and probably sing in the shower). Tunstall worked on the original translation of the lyrics and took phrases like, “The symbol of a voyage, let’s start to raise the sails/A tailwind dances at our backs” to “Oh we’re ta- / -king a trip / Here we go it’s time to raise the sails / The wind is dancing at our backs.” Quite a departure, but these types of changes were necessary to make the song flow better in English.

A good localization team is always needed to take the source material and punch it up so that it makes sense in English (or the language being worked in), sounds natural, and works with the material in general. That’s why Tunstall’s work here was so important, as he and the rest of the game’s team, such as main English writer Rob Heiret, reworked the lyrics to an even finer point. After many passes, the lyrics became something like “This time we’re / off the rails / Here we go let’s raise our sails / It’s freedom like you never knew,” which you’ve probably sang or hummed a few times after hearing it in the game.

Tunstall took the drafted lyrics and recorded a special demo version in his home studio to share with the Japanese crew to get a feel for how they felt about the localized English lyrics. The team wanted to dial back on the scattered Mario references throughout the song, and requested that there should be references, but at a level that if you were familiar with the Mario universe you’d understand, but if not, it wouldn’t detract from the song.

The changes were made, according to Tunstall, and the references dialed back until we were left with the final version of the song, which is just as grandiose and toe-tapping as it sounded in the Japanese version. You can read the entire bit of localization trivia over at the Nintendo Treehouse blog for the rest of the finer details, but don’t be afraid if those toes start tapping while you’re doing so.

Super Mario Odyssey
Charming, Fun And The Best Game Of 2017
The Nintendo Switch title has slick controls, amazing visuals and a charm (there’s that word again) that I haven't come across before. The story is simple but supplemented with a large cast of new characters and worlds that expand the Mario Universe in a way that, hopefully, Nintendo can expand on for years to come. It’s accessible for younger players and challenging enough for veterans.
  • Visually pleasing
  • Great Story
  • Controls are amazing and uses Switch motion controls the best
  • Great new characters and environments
  • Could be more difficult
  • Camera angles can get annoying
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