By this point, most students have already built their studying playlists from the ground up with songs that either pump them up or help them accept their futile desperation. Video game music, however, is often gravely overlooked in the dragging-and-dropping process. Sure, it’s doubtful that the Call of Duty franchise’s bro-out mix of electric guitar and orchestra will likely inspire anyone to crank out a 10-page paper, and one can only listen to the Tetris song looping for so long before considering self-lobotomizing. Luckily, Mario has had us covered since 1983 with surprisingly applicable songs to get through finals week, highlighting the good, the bad and the ugly. For those looking for a little more variety than throwing on Mumford and Sons on repeat and calling it a day, here are 11 classic Mario tracks fit to characterize any past or present gamer’s finals week.
11.) The day before Reading Day (Super Mario 64 – “Bomb-omb Battlefield”)
At this point, everyone is on top of the world. Strutting down Green after the last class of the semester, splurging on food and getting ready for whatever the night holds in store are all ideal ways to passively ignore the insurmountable amount of stress that will come shortly thereafter. From the synthesized bass to the ska-ish trumpets, “Bomb-omb Battlefield” is the song that introduced an entire generation to Mario on the N64. Let’s face it, those were happy times.
10.) Occupying yourself with every social media/phone distraction possible (Super Mario Kart – “Koopa Troopa’s Ranks”)
You may have ambitiously planned out your entire final’s week itinerary, but despite waking up at the crack of dawn to get started on preparing yourself, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are always a few clicks away. Koopa Troopa is always sort of aloof, clumsy even, so his racing anthem will likely match the mindlessness of sifting through tweets upon tweets of semi-interesting but irrelevant information.
9.) The moment when six cups of coffee finally kicks in (Mario Kart 64 – “Rainbow Road”)
All of a sudden, spending three hours staring at a blank Word document turns into a night filled with vigorous typing and restored attentiveness. Rainbow is consistently the longest course to race at in the Mario Kart series, so when this triumphant melody comes on, you know you’re in it for the long haul.
8.) When you FINALLY find your studying sweet spot (Super Mario World – “Athletic Theme”)
The “Athletic” tracks in Mario games are normally meant to induce stress, but the surprisingly hectic yet calming, upbeat and foot-tapping Super Mario World rendition is one of the series’ most light-hearted compositions. It takes a while, sometimes even hours, but once you find your stride and get off Facebook, pulling an all-nighter is a cinch.
7.) The post-all-nighter, coffee-fueled haze (Super Mario Bros. [All-Stars] – “Underwater Theme”)
Tunnel-vision at its finest, this one is for emerging out of the UGL and nearly being burned by the sun’s intensity like a hermit coming out of his cave for the first time. While the “Underwater Theme” is placid and elegant, the effects of six cups of caffeine and a whopping zero hours of sleep on a student are not. It’s a fairly dreamy song appropriately fitting for a likely defeated, dreamlike state.
6.) Running late to a final after over-sleeping (Super Smash Bros. – “Starman Theme”)
This one’s probably best for when the alarm clock “malfunctions” conveniently on the day of your most important final. While it’s certainly not a guarantee for invincibility, you’ll probably break through a few walls running at that speed in attempts to not completely fail a class.
5.) Relaxing after destroying/bombing your first final (Super Mario Sunshine – “Sirena Beach”)
Soothing bass, spacey synth and slightly twangy guitar can easily instill the image of resting on a beach while gazing at the shoreline sunset. If you’re heading to the coast this summer, chill out for a second and let “Sirena Beach” remind you of what’s just around the corner.
4.) The anxiety before taking your most important final (Super Mario Galaxy 2 – “Haunty Halls Galaxy”)
Depending on how much you prepared, this exam could be a breeze or an absolute catastrophe waiting to happen. Either way, the worst part isn’t taking it, but rather the sweaty, finger-spasm anticipation as your professor begins administering the exams. The “Ghost House” theme has been making gamers uneasy since Super Mario World, and this revamped edition is no exception.
3.) Taking one glance at an exam and not remembering anything (Super Mario Bros. 3 – “Ice Land Theme”)
World 6 of Super Mario Bros. 3 has always been a little rough on the ears with its harsh twinkles. Granted, this song would probably produce more unnerving stress than needed during this situation, but at least it will make searching for the inevitable “throwaway” question all the more dramatic.
2.) Powering through your last final at the five-minute mark (Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island – “Giant Baby Bowser Battle”)
Granted, processed drum machine speed metal had its time and place in the ’90s, but it wasn’t always a headache to listen to. Out of all of Bowser’s final boss themes, the most intense and robustly epic anthem belongs to a battle between a miniature version of Mario’s arch-nemesis, strangely enough. Whether you’ve finally had a pique of inspiration or just filling in random bubbles as fast as possible, this track will make sure you finish that last exam with adrenaline surging.
1.) After finishing the semester (Super Mario Bros. – “Flagpole Jingle”)
Take this one as if that last final was the hardest “level” you’ve ever beaten. Short and sweet, the series’ iconic end-of-the-level jingle instills a sense of triumph and relief no matter what the circumstance. Plus, bonus fireworks are always a welcome extra.