If you're a fan of games like Super Mario Kart, Super Mario All-Stars, and Pilotwings, then you may have heard of Soyo Oka, a composer who worked with Nintendo from 1987 to 1995.
Even if you're not aware of her by name, you will have no doubt heard a number of her more famous tracks, including Mario Circuit and Rainbow Road. She continued to work on music over the years after her departure from Nintendo and has now launched a new chiptune album called LOOP816, which definitely harkens back to her work on key Nintendo titles.
As detailed above, the album is available via the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and more, so we highly recommend you check it out if you're a fan of '80s and '90s video game music.
As detailed in an interview from 2011, Oka started to play music on the piano at the age of four, and cites artists ranging from Sergei Rachmaninoff to Queen as inspiration. After majoring in music composition at Osaka College of Music, she joined Nintendo after making one simple phone call. Ahh, how times have changed.
We'd definitely love to see Oka return to composing for Nintendo, but we wish her every success with the launch of her new album.
Have you listened to LOOP816 yet? What do you make of it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
I saw this headline and thought "Soyo Oka??? Surely not." I'm a big fan of her work, and Pilotwings is certainly one of my favorite OSTs.
Around this time, she also did SimCity. I didn't see it mentioned in the article, but it was one of her first major projects with Nintendo if I recall correctly.
Edit: Gave it a listen. The 8 series tracks are kind of jazzy 8-bit tunes and sound akin to Pokemon Pinball, but the 16 series tracks are more in her classic style. Love it!
Digital only. Booooooo!
Well that was pleasant, thanks for the heads up.
Gonna check it out now. Sounds right up my Strasse 👍
That's wonderful. Oka is a legend. Super Mario Kart's Rainbow Road is still one of my all- time favourite chiptunes.
Well that’s spooky, I read that interview for the first time just last week!
Really I adore the work of Soyo Oka, constantly I listen OST of classic Sim City games (including SNES versión) and well, playing Mario Kart, are strong still her melodies in the Retro Tracks and title screen remixes.
As others have pointed out, she also did the beautiful and ethereal SNES SimCity soundtrack, which is definitely in my top 5 video game soundtracks.
Listening to the album, it sounds like she hasn't missed a beat from where she last left off! That'd be amazing if they had her do a new original Mario Kart composition in the remaining MK8 Deluxe DLC.
I just heard the album. It's only fifteen minutes long but it delivers everything. I'd say it's a complete 8-bit platformer soundtrack: opening theme, action theme, boss theme, even a slower ending song with a beautiful melody
Definitely worth listening to these well crafted tunes
@Hck what did you expect
I was just thinking it was a shame she didn’t work on more games. I hope Nintendo uses her again some day.
@World Pilotwings soundtrack is amazing and the "wah, wah wah wah" song always made me laugh as a child.
She also composed the Super Mario All-Stars soundtrack. Respect for the wonderful SMB2 overworld theme remix.
@N00BiSH a CD release. CDs might have gone out of vogue in the west, but they're still the norm in Japan.
I listened to the album, and it’s pretty good. Personally I think other artists like RRThiel have much better work, but this album certainly isn’t bad in any sense of the word.
@Hck oh cry. sometimes it works better for the artist that way. just burn it on to a cd if you need it physically that bad.
@demacho dude, have a Snickers. I collect game soundtrack CDs so I would have loved to have added her CD to my collection.
Ok, that album is a bit weird. They're looping tracks made for people to put in their retro games or something? Is that the composer's intention? It's only 15 minutes total, and the tracks don't even have real names.
Sure, bring her back to Mario Kart. Most MK8 songs are a bit crap anyway, so someone fresh like her might help.
I visited Soyo Oka’s personal website, and the first sentence reads, “ Born in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture, he started playing the piano at the age of six”. The entire home page describes the life of a man.
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