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(1983 – present)

Koji Kondo (近藤 浩治 Kondō Kōji, born August 13, 1960) is a Japanese composer and musician best known for his scores for various video games produced by Nintendo.

Kondo was born in Nagoya, Japan. He took to music at an early age, writing simple tunes for fun even as a small child. At seventeen, he decided to pursue music professionally. He undertook classical training, and he learned to play several instruments.

In the 1980s, Kondo learned that a company called Nintendo was seeking musicians to compose music for its new video game system, the Famicom (Nintendo Entertainment System outside Japan). Kondo had never considered writing video game music before, but he decided to give the company a chance. He was hired in 1983.

Kondo found himself in a totally different environment at Nintendo. Suddenly, he was limited to only four “instruments” (two monophonic pulse channels, a monophonic triangle wave channel which could be used as a bass, and a noise channel used for percussion) due to limitations of the system’s sound chip. Though he and Nintendo’s technicians eventually discovered a way to add a fifth channel (normally reserved for SFX), his music was still severely limited on the system.

Kondo has stayed with Nintendo through various consoles, including the Super Famicom (Super Nintendo outside Japan), the Nintendo 64, the Nintendo GameCube and most recently the Nintendo Wii. These latter systems have vastly improved Nintendo’s audio capabilities, and Kondo today composes music with CD quality sound.


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