Sunday, April 22, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 7

Santa Maria Sun / Music

The following article was posted on June 14th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 15 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 15

Rock 'n' roll power-up: Noe Esquivel shares his guitar covers of video game music


Watch a video of Noe Esquivel in action.

For hardcore video gamers, graphics aren’t the only draw to a great game. The music composed for a game has a way of sticking in the ear, like the original Mario Bros. theme, and can be a source of joy even when not button mashing a controller.

For local guitarist Noe Esquivel, video game music was the reason he picked up the instrument and started to learn. Esquivel shared an affinity for video game music with a friend who already played guitar and was generous enough with his time to show him a thing or two.

Local guitarist Noe Esquivel began his YouTube channel, bboynoe, in 2007. He’s covered dozens of songs from video games and movies, and now has more than 9,000 YouTube subscribers.

“I started playing guitar in the early 2000s,” Esquivel said. “What happened was a roommate taught me a few riffs on guitar and how to read tablature.”

He started by learning the melody lines to some of his favorite video game scores, and played along with recordings.

As a way of showing his friend his progress after they stopped living together, Esquivel began a YouTube channel where he shared his video game covers.

“People started commenting and requesting songs,” he said. “It kind of evolved into actually learning how to play bass a little bit, learning keyboard, and building songs from the bottom up versus when I was playing with a track I already had.”

Nowadays, Esquivel’s YouTube channel—titled bboynoe—has more than 9,000 subscribers and thousands of views on his videos.

The latest video on his channel highlights the title theme from Super Mario World, which includes two melodies playing together in tight harmony. Esquivel’s rocking sound is reminiscent of harder metal, but his screaming guitar harmony also sounds a bit like the band Queen.

“I listen to the original song, learn all the parts, and put it back together,” he said. “It’s like deconstructing it and putting it all back together, learning one melody to play and then this other melody in the background. And Koji Kondo, the guy who composed the Mario music and is very revered, that’s something he does a lot, counter melodies and things like that.”

His most recent videos have been produced with a closer eye to production quality, Esquivel said, in comparison to his older videos meant for his friend.

Hit restart
Noe Esquivel’s guitar/video game music can be found online at

Back when he first started posting to YouTube, there weren’t a whole lot of YouTubers who covered video game music, he said. But now, he’s just one of many musicians paying tribute to video game composers.

“Now there’s kind of like a community of people who do what I do, and it’s kind of expanded,” he said. “Not to say it’s oversaturated, but it’s abundant in covers from popular video game franchises, so I’ve wanted to do things from more obscure video games.”

Those lesser-known titles include games like Mega Man X, Ninja Gaiden II, and Shatter Hand. But he’s also got several covers from one game posted: Sonic and Knuckles for the Sega Genesis.

That game is special to Esquivel, he said, which has a lot to do with its music.

“That game was so big, and the music was just great,” he said. “I can’t really put my finger on it, but the music in Sonic and Knuckles really speaks to me.”

Managing Editor Joe Payne agrees with Esquivel regarding Sonic and Knuckles for the Sega Genesis. Contact him at

SHRED: Noe Esquivel's latest YouTube video, a cover of the Super Mario World Title Theme.

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