Super Mario RPG will let players switch between the new and original versions of its soundtrack, which can also work as an excellent accessibility option.
Shortly after last week’s Nintendo Direct presentation, the ‘No Context Super Mario’ Twitter account noticed that the upcoming Super Mario RPG remake will let players switch between the original game’s SNES soundtrack and the new Switch one – both composed by video game music legend Yoko Shimomura. This is great news for fans of the original, but even better for accessibility.
As highlighted by another Twitter user, and Game Accessibility Lead at EA, Morgan Baker, Super Mario RPG’s soundtrack option is actually really beneficial for players with hearing impairments. Baker, who is “completely deaf” and has cochlear implants, explains in a thread that the device is “neat and can be helpful (for me) but sound quality sucks.”
I am completely deaf, meaning I can’t hear at all. However, I have cochlear implants—an electronic device that can create an artificial sense of sound. It’s surgically placed and involves a removable outer processor.It’s neat and can be helpful (for me) but sound quality sucks.September 14, 2023
I’ve been hearing, hard of hearing, and deaf—so I have a very strong understanding of sound. There are plenty of games I’ve replayed through all these stages. I know exactly what this song sounds like. I can barely comprehend the newest version, but the original crystal clear.September 14, 2023
The developer continues: “[Cochlear implant] sound is distorted and robotic, lacking accurate tone, texture, timbre etc. Which makes sense! The cochlea has a bazillion receptors, whereas a CI can only simulate a very small %. Meaning, audio that is more complex is harder for me to perceive, distinguish, and comprehend.”
Baker explains that the SNES version of the soundtrack is “crystal clear” to them compared to the new version, perhaps due to the music itself being much more simplistic as the game was originally released in 1996. “I’m genuinely happy this is an option because I adore this song and would be sad to miss it in the upcoming remake,” Baker adds in the thread, calling it an “accessibility win,” at least for them.
Although this option has proven to be beneficial to Baker, and potentially others too, it’s important to remember that this isn’t actually designed as an accessibility option and is more a style preference for Super Mario RPG players. Just like the developer says in the thread: “Volume controls and output adjustments are great for accessibility, that’s undeniable! But simplified/clear sound design and music can be even better.”
Super Mario RPG is set to release on November 17, 2023, exclusively for Nintendo Switch.
Find out what else we’ve got to look forward to with our upcoming Switch games list.